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, November 02, 2007

War Criminal




It is a day of rejoicing when the voice of those of us who believe in a God of justice can see our belief enacted in public. Go to War Criminal to see the video of Condolezza Rice being accused of being a war criminal by a woman willing to act out the justice most of us only profess, Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz, a woman who has quit her job to devote herself to the struggle against the ongoing murder in Iraq, had the courage to act in the moment of opportunity. One day this act will be remembered with the honor it deserves.

The facts about the U.S. occupation of Iraq sometimes spill out accidentally, "The American people don’t understand, the only way we can win this war is by committing genocide." according to a high-ranking military officer after a screening of the excellent new film, "Meeting Resistance". See Why Iraqis Resist, Socialist Worker, Nov. 2, 2007 for the full story on this new film.

Since the Secretary of State professes a deep regard for the human rights of the Burmese monks fighting for freedom, let us examine what her former company, Chevron, is carrying out on the Burmese people, "While Burma's military junta cracks down on pro-democracy protests, oil companies are quietly jostling for access to the country's largely untapped natural gas and oil fields. Meanwhile Chevron, the only US company that still has a significant presence in Burma, has issued a vague statement of support for human rights, but have so far continued to back the military junta with millions of dollars in oil and gas royalties."

In pursuit of natural gas, "'They [Chevron] are funding the dictatorship,' said Marco Simons, US legal director at EarthRights International, an environmental and human rights group with offices in Thailand and Washington. 'The oil and gas companies have been one of the major industries keeping the regime in power.'" In other words, the oil companies that pay the bill for the Republican party keep the military dictatorship of Burma in power, despite their distracting rhetoric regarding human rights.

With these facts as background, it becomes easier to understand why the war crimes against Iraq were considered to be so critical to the interests of the ruling elite in the U.S. Only through the imposition of direct military control can the investments of the ruling class now be guaranteed. Though the media is paid to ignore or disguise the facts, the U.S. is now in a state of economic and political decline relative to the other powers of the world. The display of military might is a sign of this growing weakness as its options narrow. More and more the only way to enforce its will is through direct force and surveillance and control, but the end of that road is easy to see. Those who feel the freedom of the sons of God will never submit. The rulers can no longer command the consent of the governed except through fear - and one day, we will wake and laugh at the silly specters that currently make us tremble. Thus the necessity for torture. And what is the antidote to torture-induced fear?

"In the man humiliated and defeated by torture we discover the Servant of Yahweh, Jesus who is crucified today, the prophet who denounces the personal and social sin of his time and ours, the Son of God dead and resurrected, present in every action which transforms History...

"Jesus is as present in the tortured today as He was in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, and that presence effects the transformation of mere historical time into the Kingdom...And if to some extent we share the sufferings of the tortured, He who was tortured by Roman justice and nailed on the Cross accompanies us and we for our part accompany Him, because He identifies Himself with the tortured." - Torture and Eucharist.

In every Iraqi or other Muslim now being tortured to keep the rulers of this world safe, each Christian is being tortured because our Lord feels the pain of each of them as His own pain. May we have the faith to take some of His burden and love our brothers and sisters as He loves them.

2 comments:

Rich said...

A typically compassionate, intelligent, insightful post. I too was a war protester during the Vietnam era who became disillusioned. I too have discovered that we must "become the change we want to see in the world." The philosophy of love and peace championed here is the hope of the world. Thanks

Boyd said...

Thanks much for your kind words, Rich. I think one of the roots of disillusionment among those of us who fought for revolutionary change in the 60's and 70's was a sense of powerlessness that caused us to look outward for sources of strength in movements and intense forms of religiosity. In such organizations, a few powerfully committed individuals supply the strength for large numbers of those who haven't developed their own potential. These "drones" eventually dissipate the strength of the group and the group becomes debilitated, then abandoned. This kicks off a cycle in which ever new sources of external strength are sought, such as the mega-churches of today, but the fundamental sense of powerlessness remains the same. It's so easy to say, but so hard to do: "Be the revolution you seek".