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, June 01, 2008

Participatory Fascism

"Last year, 100 eminent British doctors pleaded with the minister for international development, then Hilary Benn, for emergency medical aid to be sent to Iraqi children’s hospitals: 'Babies are dying for want of a 95 pence oxygen mask,' they wrote. The minister turned them down flat." - John Pilger, "Cowardice of Silence"

Such is the state of Christian compassion when bitten by the virus of the "war on terror". Children must die because they are not members of groups that Christians can safely show compassion for.

Palestinians are not among the compassion-worthy groups. Nor are the 26,000 prisoners currently being held in secret prisons by the U.S. "By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been 'through the system' since 2001." - "Human rights group charges: US continues 'renditions' and operates a floating gulag", wsws.org Who speaks for these prisoners?

An unknown number of "ghost" detainees are being held on U.S. navy vessels, outside the reach of international law and Christian compassion. "The Guardian provides the account of a former Guantánamo detainee who passed on another inmate’s description of being held on board an amphibious assault ship: 'One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo ... he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo.'" - "Human rights group charges: US continues 'renditions' and operates a floating gulag", wsws.org

Far from being "old news", the process known as "rendering", that is kidnapping, torturing and indefinitely imprisoning "terrorists" continues to this day. "According to the Guardian, the rights group 'claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition [handing prisoners over to regimes likely to torture them] since 2006.'" - "Human rights group charges: US continues 'renditions' and operates a floating gulag", wsws.org

The "floating gulag" operates as the ultimate enforcer of imperial control. The evidence has been brought forward by the United Nations, "...the UN’s special rapporteur on terrorism, Manfred Nowak, told the Agence France Presse wire service in June 2005 that there were 'very, very serious accusations that the United States is maintaining secret camps, notably on ships,' adding that the vessels were believed to be in the Indian Ocean region." - "Human rights group charges: US continues 'renditions' and operates a floating gulag", wsws.org

One day, Jesus will ask us what we did for those rendered and tortured in secret U.S. prisons, where He sits and longs for the daylight - a prisoner who longs to see the sky, or in the words of Oscar Wilde,

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.

That "tent of blue" lies within our hearts, if only we can find a way to overcome the compromise with evil that lives next to our compassion.

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