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.

Monday, January 22, 2007

An Army of Principles

"An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot."
- Thomas Paine, 1737-1809

"Two Marines in their platoon had been killed, and they just went crazy. They were notorious. Everyone knew they killed a lot of innocent people because they would brag about it. They were in a souk, an Iraqi marketplace, they got engaged while they were doing some patrols, and they just opened up on the whole marketplace. It was midday, people were trying to do their shopping.

We reacted to that incident--we were their support. We left the houses and hauled ass to meet them at the souk, and I remember holding position in the souk for a little bit, and seeing shattered glass everywhere on the street, and bloodstains everywhere, and I remember a guy who was lying on the sidewalk.

A lot of innocent people died that day."

Day by day, the rebellion spreads. This can be most accurately measured by studying the media coverage of the war. If the corporate media is not fearful of a certain trend, such as Democrats standing on their hind legs and barking a little louder, or an event that can be milked for its entertainment value, such as the Libby trial, then they will give it the full treatment. But a genuinely disturbing trend, such as rebelling soldiers in Iraq or the trial of Lt. Ehren Watada or the current anti-war demonstrations, will receive little or no coverage. The same applies to the very wide current perception of an imminent war with Iran. While most of the world is preparing for a disaster of spectacular dimensions, the American public is being carefully isolated, most likely in anticipation of a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident that will spark the Middle East conflagration. I can find no better commentary on the mentality of U.S. ruling class and the spiritual resistance that all of us must begin to practice than these words from Gandhi:

"Kings will always use their kingly weapons. To use force is bred in them. They want to command, but those who have to obey commands do not want guns: and these are in a majority throughout the world. They have to learn either body-force or soul-force. Where they learn the former, both the rulers and the ruled become like so many mad men; but where they learn soul-force, the commands of the rulers do not go beyond the point of their swords, for true men disregard unjust commands."

The last word goes to Chanan Suarez Diaz, a Navy corpsman who was deployed to Iraq in September 2005: "So they keep a lot of news about combat refusals or resistance internal, so people don’t hear about it. Because they know if word got out, this kind of behavior will spread like wildfire within the ranks."

Give all the support you can to these troops by ending the violence that lives in our hearts and hands, that a rebellion of love may infect the Christian world.

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