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.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Unmask State Sponsored Terrorism
"The eruption of gunfire was sudden and ferocious, round after round mowing down terrified men women and children, slamming into cars as they collided and overturned with drivers frantically trying to escape. Some vehicles were set alight by exploding petrol tanks. A mother and her infant child died in one of them, trapped in the flames." - The Independent
Naturally, we must be sheltered from the consequences of our greed, and the media happily obliges. As Jim Wallis indicates below, it is the global order itself that is the real disaster. Specific instances of this disaster occur such as the one last Sunday in Baghdad when the mercenaries we hired for exorbitant salaries opened fire on women and children.
An eyewitness victim lay swathed in bandages as he described the carnage: "I saw women and children jump out of their cars and start to crawl on the road to escape being shot," said Mr Salman. "But still the firing kept coming and many of them were killed. I saw a boy of about 10 leaping in fear from a minibus, he was shot in the head. His mother was crying out for him, she jumped out after him, and she was killed." - The Independent
But still the fire kept coming. The Blackwater mercenaries knew their charge. Nothing matters except that the mission be accomplished, the global order protected. Murder, the dungeons created by our dominance - all are justified when the mission is to protect the minions of the ruling class and their unstoppable need to threaten whatever might interfere with their control.
"At the end of the prolonged hail of bullets Nisoor Square was a scene of carnage with bodies strewn around smoldering wreckage. Ambulances trying to pick up the wounded found their path blocked by crowds fleeing the gunfire." - The Independent
By all means, let us preserve our Christian values. While we sit comforting ourselves in the pews, studiously ignoring whatever might interfere with our spiritual peace, could any of us spare a prayer for those laying in hospital beds, about to expire from high-velocity bullets? Do the victims of our silence deserve so little?
Our faith is more precious than gold, but avoiding the trials of this world does not strengthen faith, but degrades it. These trials are given to us to perfect our faith. When we surround ourselves with a wall of ignorance and call it "protecting Christian values", we do no honor to God or to faith. One trial we must embrace is the one the God of justice has gifted us with - to fight against war in all its forms inward and outward.
Unreasoning fear kindles violence. "There were eight foreigners in four utility vehicles, I heard an explosion in the distance and then the foreigners started shouting and signaling for us to go back. I turned the car around and must have driven about a hundred feet when they started shooting. My car was hit with 12 bullets it turned over. Four bullets hit me in the back and another in the arm. Why they opened fire? I do not know. No one, I repeat no one, had fired at them. The foreigners had asked us to go back and I was going back in my car, so there was no reason for them to shoot."
A carpet of fear has spread across the Middle East in which the ruling class places its real faith. Only when the subject peoples know that their lives can be taken in an instant, without cause, without the shadow of a justification, will they know to whom they owe their lives. They will understand who their master is, acknowledging our right to rule.
According to the prime minister which we placed in power when the result of the election did not please us, this is the seventh such incident perpetrated by Blackwater. He had the gall to say, "We will not tolerate the killing of our citizens in cold blood.", which may seal his fate.
After a brief threat of a ban, Blackwater is back two days after the incident and no prosecution either threatened or contemplated. These contractors can now go back to their games: "Take the case of the Blackwater guard who got drunk at a Green Zone party last Christmas Eve and reportedly boasted to his friends that he was going to kill someone. According to both Iraqi and U.S. officials, he stumbled out and headed provocatively over to the “Little Venice” section, a lovely area of canals where Iraqi officials live. He had an argument with an Iraqi guard, then shot him once in the chest and three times in the back. The next day Blackwater put him on a private plane out of the country-probably only because the incident involved a rare killing inside the Green Zone and the victim was a security guard for a high-ranking politician. That was it."
The media summed it up well: "Blackwater professionals heroically defended American lives in a war zone on Sunday"
Perhaps a Christian voice might have an alternative summation: "The response of World Vision to the Asian tsunami was especially impressive, along with so many other places where natural disasters and human conflicts have caused so much suffering over the last three years. But we talked about how the greatest 'disaster' in the world today is the very structure of the global order itself, and how disasters such as the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina only serve to reveal these underlying injustices. If we are to be faithful to the biblical vision, we must judge those global structures to be unjust." - Jim Wallis
The invasion and occupation of Iraq is not simply a war crime - it is a genocidal crime of the magnitude of the Rwanda massacre of the mid-nineties. Whether it was the result of a disastrous miscalculation or a conscious plan of terror hardly matters. Keeping control of the world's resources is the goal of the global order and it will not relinquish that goal no matter how many have to be sacrificed to the ancient Babylonian gods. And we Christians must be shielded from the horror in Iraqi faces that our addiction to war fantasies has wreaked.
Again, in the words of Jim Wallis: "I believe it will take faith to end this war. It will take prayer to end it. It will take a mobilization of the faith community to end it – to change the political climate, to change the wind. It will take a revolution of love to end it, because this endless war in Iraq is based ultimately on fear, and the Bible tells us that only perfect love will cast out fear. And to cast out that fear, we must act in faith, in prayer, in love, and in hope – so we might help to heal the fears that keep this war going..."