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, July 01, 2007
Deny Fear its Victory
"We are one people. We cannot separate ourselves now. There are many good things to be done for our people and for the world. It is important to let things be good. And it is important to teach the younger generation so that things are not lost." - Corbin Harney
"Anything whose nature as such consists in being part of another is intent first and above all on that to which it belongs, rather than on itself." Thomas Aquinas, ST I, q. 60, a. 5
"...And 40-year-old Iraqi men look at us with fear and we can--do you know what I mean?--we have this power that you can't have. That's really liberating. Life is just knocked down to this primal level.'
In Iraq, Specialist Middleton said, 'a lot of guys really supported that whole concept that, you know, if they don't speak English and they have darker skin, they're not as human as us, so we can do what we want.'" - The Nation
Such is the liberation promised by Satan. "You can do what you want." You can dominate, rape, terrorize, kill - you are absolutely free. No need to recognize the humanity of others - you are the only human, the only American. The dark ones are animals subject to your every command, whatever your debased whims might be.
'"They were the law," Specialist Harmon said of the soldiers in his unit in Al-Rashidiya, near Baghdad, which participated in raids and convoys. "They were very mean, very mean-spirited to them. A lot of cursing at them. And I'm like, Dude, these people don't understand what you're saying.... They used to say a lot, 'Oh, they'll understand when the gun is in their face.'"
Those few veterans who said they did try to reach out to Iraqis encountered fierce hostility from those in their units.' - The Nation.
"According to descriptions culled from interviews with thirty-eight veterans who rode in convoys--guarding such runs as Kuwait to Nasiriya, Nasiriya to Baghdad and Balad to Kirkuk--when these columns of vehicles left their heavily fortified compounds they usually roared down the main supply routes, which often cut through densely populated areas, reaching speeds over sixty miles an hour. Governed by the rule that stagnation increases the likelihood of attack, convoys leapt meridians in traffic jams, ignored traffic signals, swerved without warning onto sidewalks, scattering pedestrians, and slammed into civilian vehicles, shoving them off the road. Iraqi civilians, including children, were frequently run over and killed. Veterans said they sometimes shot drivers of civilian cars that moved into convoy formations or attempted to pass convoys as a warning to other drivers to get out of the way." - The Nation
On the trail we leave behind, on the path where we have ridden, we can see the image of our own soul. Have you ever turned to look at that path? As a country, we must turn and look over the path where we have passed. Do children's dead bodies litter (or hajjify) it? What does that make us? We roar through life, chasing the thrill of our own momentum, insulated within the belief that we alone are real, we alone breath and bleed.
"And, you know, you've got these scared kids on these guns, and they just start opening fire. And there could be innocent people everywhere. And I've seen this, I mean, on numerous occasions where innocent people died because we're cruising down and a bomb goes off...
Sergeant Flatt was among twenty-four veterans who said they had witnessed or heard stories from those in their unit of unarmed civilians being shot or run over by convoys. These incidents, they said, were so numerous that many were never reported." - The Nation.
The analogy of humanity is life, giving life, receiving life, celebrating life, making it ever richer. The enemy of humanity inspires us to take that life away, to drain the humanity from the faces which are different.
'"We saw him there and, you know, we were upset because the convoy didn't even stop," she said. "They really, judging by the skid marks, they hardly even slowed down. But, I mean, that's basically--basically, your order is that you never stop."' - The Nation.
As long as you never stop, you'll never have to feel the soft finger's blood, never recognize that your humanity was left in a twisted heap by the side of the road. You're surviving, right? You're making it home? Maybe "home" lies in the faces of those flattened donkeys and you'll never find it again because of your well-rewarded obedience.
In the words of Thomas Aquinas, "God is compassionate...To be compassionate is to have a heart that suffers from the misfortune of others because we think of it as our own." In fact, this is also at the heart of what reverence means. "He who robs his friend of compassion in the time of misery leaves the fear of the Lord behind."
Come! See the wonders
God does across the earth:
Everywhere stopping wars,
smashing, crushing, burning
all the weapons of war.
An end of your fighting!
Acknowledge me as God,
high over nations, high over earth.
- Psalm 46