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, February 09, 2008
God's Graceful Company
"Please remember that our Maker (& Sons and Daughters of the Holy Spirit))
requires that each of us, consistent with our capacity and experience, stand up to and intellectually confront with love in our hearts and with a brave soldier's resolve, those persons who torture, imprison or kill our Brothers and Sisters everywhere on this earth; we may not,for the most part, simply hide under the image of the Great One whom we pretend to worship and thereby presume to live eternally in God's graceful company." indymedia argentina, "fbi/cia must be stopped", Feb. 11, 2008
In order to understand the cost of our silence, we must open our hearts as wide as they will go and see the human face of the disaster in Iraq. Bassim is a Sunni Iraqi that Patrick Cockburn had befriended.
"[Bassim] loved the house, which had a sitting room and two bedrooms, because he had built it himself in 2001. "I didn't complete it because I didn't have enough money," he said. 'But we were so happy to have our own home.' - Patrick Cockburn, "Is the US Really Bringing Stability to Baghdad?", Feb. 15, 2008.
"He was living there in the summer of 2006 with his wife Maha, 38, and his children Sarah, 13, Noor, eight, and Sama, three, when Shia militiamen took over Jihad. The struggle for the capital had begun on February 22 when Sunni insurgents blew up a revered Shia shrine in Samarra. Bassim fled to Syria with his family and, when he returned to Jihad three months later, he found pictures of Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia nationalist cleric who heads the Mehdi Army, pasted to the gate of his house." - Patrick Cockburn, "Is the US Really Bringing Stability to Baghdad?", Feb. 15, 2008.
"'I have nothing else to lose aside from my house,' he wrote to me in a sad letter in the autumn of 2007, 'and because of what happened I had a heart attack. I worked as a taxi driver for a few days, but I couldn't do it any longer because of the dangerous situation and I had no other way of earning a living.'" In another war he might have fled to America, but this time Americans have little appetite for seeing the faces of those whose lives they have destroyed.
"Neighbors told Bassim to get out as fast as he could before the Mehdi Army militiamen came back and killed him." - Patrick Cockburn, "Is the US Really Bringing Stability to Baghdad?", Feb. 15, 2008.
He tried to flee to Sweden, but all the doors were shut. After a 3 months of desperate attempts to find a place where his family would not be killed, he finally discovered that "...'for Iraqis, all the ways from Asia to Sweden are shut'... Demoralized, and hearing that many Iraqi refugees trying to get to Europe through Indonesia simply disappeared, Bassim used his last few dollars to fly to Damascus and took a shared taxi across the desert to Baghdad. "The journey took three months but it felt like 10 years,' he said. 'I have lost everything.'" - Patrick Cockburn, "Is the US Really Bringing Stability to Baghdad?", Feb. 15, 2008.
The same system that makes the lives of a few comfortable in the United States has made the lives of millions in Iraq miserable beyond belief. "But for millions of Iraqis like Bassim, the war has robbed them of their homes, their jobs and often their lives. It has brought them nothing but misery and ended their hopes of happiness. It has destroyed Iraq." - Patrick Cockburn, "Is the US Really Bringing Stability to Baghdad?", Feb. 15, 2008.
Naturally, we Christians will keep our eyes safely averted, lest we see the price that others must pay for our sanctity.