An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Whole Society is Being Destroyed

"A whole society is being destroyed. There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world. Israel has stopped all trade. It has even forbidden fishermen to go far from the shore so they wade into the surf to try vainly to catch fish with hand-thrown nets...

Sometimes the Israeli army gives a warning before a house is destroyed. The sound that Palestinians most dread is an unknown voice on their cell phone saying they have half an hour to leave their home before it is hit by bombs or missiles. There is no appeal." -- Patrick Coburn, "Gaza is Dying", CounterPunch, Sept. 7, 2006.

In the most densely populated region of the world, its people are starving to death as a result of the policies of our Christian president, widely supported by both parties. Ironically, while our Israeli allies have shown the most brutal contempt for Christian values, many of those they are murdering daily are our brothers and sisters in Christ, yet it is a rare word indeed that is spoken in their defense from our pulpits.

"Many people are being killed by Israeli incursions that occur every day by land and air. A total of 262 people have been killed and 1,200 wounded, of whom 60 had arms or legs amputated, since 25 June, says Dr Juma al-Saqa, the director of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City which is fast running out of medicine. Of these, 64 were children and 26 women...the Israeli army has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately. Gaza has essentially been reoccupied since Israeli troops and tanks come and go at will...

Sometimes the Israeli army gives a warning before a house is destroyed. The sound that Palestinians most dread is an unknown voice on their cell phone saying they have half an hour to leave their home before it is hit by bombs or missiles. There is no appeal." -- Patrick Coburn, "Gaza is Dying", CounterPunch, Sept. 7, 2006.

Where is the place of a Christian if not at the side of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, with whom we can cry out, in the words of Milton:

Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed
As of a person separate to God,
Designed for great exploits, if I must die
Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze,
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this heaven-gifted strength? O glorious strength,
Put to the labor of a beast, debased
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.

What do we gain by identifying ourselves with the least and most oppressed peoples on the face of this sad earth? Our eyes, blinded by ever more refined and seductive lies of the corporate media, are opened, and we see our bondage to the Philistines who strut over the waste they have created in Lebanon and Iraq. We see Christ's bleeding face in the father bent over his dead son, killed by a "precision air strike" to punish a whole people for aspiring to live. We learn the meaning of mysticism:

"The place of mystical experience is in very truth the cell - the prison cell. 'The witness to truth' is despised, scoffed at, persecuted, dishonored and rejected. In his own fate he experiences the fate of Christ. His destiny conforms to Christ's destiny. This is what the mystics called conformitas crucis, the conformity of the cross. That is why he also experiences the presence of the risen Christ in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, and the deeper the fellowship in suffering, the more assured of his fellowship the witness will be." Jurgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life.

When did we visit you in the prison cell, O Lord?

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