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.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Animals We Have Made

Standing outside Guantanamo, a mother reflects on her son's life inside:

"Journeying from Dubai to Guantanamo a little more than a year later, Omar’s brother Taher and his mother Zohra were now standing in the same spot. Zohra writes of the 'excruciating' pain of being so close to her son but unable to enter the base. Omar 'is in this cursed jail for so many years in conditions which are not even fit for animals,' Zohra writes. 'I pray to Allah during every prayer that he is released and that he finds people who treat him kindly and compassionately. My heart is ruptured with sadness.'"

The fact that he is an innocent man seems meaningless to our government and the Christians who support it: "By all reports, Omar is an innocent man. A devout Muslim who aspired to be a human rights lawyer, he traveled to Malaysia and Afghanistan in early 2001, got married, and had a child. When the United States invaded Afghanistan, the young family fled to Pakistan and made plans to return to England. Instead, Pakistani security forces arrested them in April 2002 and turned them over the U.S. forces in exchange for a $5,000 bounty."

This, of course, is the story of most the Guantanamo detainees, only ten of whom have received actual charges. The rest were turned in to get the bounty the U.S. was offering, so that bodies could be produced to prove the "war on terror" was working.

For Omar, his intelligence and knowledge led to special treatment by the guardians of democracy: "At Guantanamo, Omar says he was singled out for harsher treatment because of his familiarity with the law and his tendency to stand up for other prisoners. Permanently blinded in one eye when a U.S. guard jabbed him with his finger, Omar has also been subjected to sexual humiliation, has endured high power water jets forced up his nose, and was held in solitary confinement for over eight months. U.S. officials at Guantanamo also allowed Libyan intelligence agents to question and threaten Omar."

The corporate media has done a superb job. It has shined our honor, made us feel proud of our deeds in defending freedom and democracy from the "evil" that threatens it in these poor men sitting in cages at Guantanamo. Its masters must indeed marvel at the consumate job they have performed in turning our attention away from our darkened hearts.

Today's Gospel points the way out of Guantanamo: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

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