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, February 20, 2009
Remove Our Names from Your Blood-Stained Wall
“Mr. President of the State of Israel, I am writing to you to intervene with the appropriate authorities to withdraw from the Yad Vashem memorial dedicated to the memory of Jewish victims of Nazism, the name of my grandfather, Moshe Brajtberg, gassed at Treblinka in 1943, and those of other members of my who family died during deportation to various Nazi camps during World War II. I ask you to honor my request, Mr. Chairman, because what took place in Gaza, and more generally, the injustices to the Arab people of Palestine for sixty years, disqualifies Israel to be the center of the memory of the harm done to Jews, and thus to all humanity.” - Jean-Moïse Braitberg
The attacks had been planned months in advance. On Saturday, December 27, 2008, school had just let out. Thousands of Gazan school children poured into the streets, oblivious of the darkness that invaded their parent’s eyes. As the children milled about devastated streets, Israel struck. Four hours later, 150 men, women, and children lay dead. The word “terror” for them was simply a slur laid upon their tribe just as “savage” had been laid on African-Americans a hundred years before. But they were dead, and their mothers and fathers wailed while the world looked on in silence.
In June 2007, the noose was tightened around Gazan necks. Then began a siege in which every aspect of the lives of the people came under surveillance and control. They were totally dependent on Israel for fuel, electricity, cooking gas, medical supplies, food supplies (even flour), and building material. The means of life were cut off like air to a man strapped to a table with tape across his mouth while interrogators pinch his nostrils shut. Israel made sure that the Palestinians remained barely alive.
“You see, since my childhood, I lived in amongst survivors of the death camps. I saw the numbers tattooed on their arms, I heard the story of torture; I knew the impossible grief and I shared their nightmares. I was taught that these crimes must never happen again, that never again must man, because of ethnicity or religion despise other man, mock his Human Rights of living a safe, dignified life, without barriers, and hope, so remote be it, of a future of peace and prosperity.” - Jean-Moïse Braitberg
“I lived in amongst survivors.” The Palestinians have survived Israel’s honor. The war’s strategic concept was to terrorize the civilian population by unremitting attacks from the air, sowing indiscriminate death and destruction. This has the side benefit of saving the pilots from seeing the anguish they inflict since the Palestinians have no anti-aircraft weapons. The simple calculation of childish cruelty: if the entire life-supporting infrastructure in the Strip is utterly destroyed and total anarchy ensues, the population will rise up and overthrow the Hamas regime. Such fantasies factors out Palestinian honor which now gushes forth to bring life to a battered people.
“You’ll tell me Mr. President, that Israel has the right to defend itself against people launching rockets into Israel, or suicide bombers that destroy innocent Israeli lives. My response to that is that my humanism doesn’t vary according to the nationality of the victims.” - Jean-Moïse Braitberg
To be an Israeli is to have no crimes to pay for. Their crimes have all been absolved by the Holocaust, which cleanses from every sin. Their eternal innocence preens itself and basks in unquenchable moral ascendancy. When they kill children, it is not murder, but the elimination of “terrorists”, untermensch whose existence is another holocaust burning at the feet of the chosen ones, sacrifices to the Moloch which they have named “God.”
“By displaying the names of my family members at the Yad Vashem Memorial, in the heart of the state of Israel, your state imprisons my family memories behind the barbed wires of zionism, and makes it hostage of a so-called moral authority which commits every day the abomination of denying justice.
So, please, remove the name of my grandfather from the shrine dedicated to cruelty against Jews so that it no longer justifies the injustice being done to the Palestinians.” - Jean-Moïse Braitberg
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”