Friday, January 09, 2009

We must wake up with respect to the Middle East

I don't know that placing blame is particularly helpful in thinking and praying about the current outrages against Gaza by the Israeli armed forces. I'm sure there is plenty of blame to go around -- and I would lay a substantial portion of that blame at the feet of the government of this country. But one thing I think the Church should be especially concerned about is telling the truth. The adage is true (is that the meaning of "adage"?): Truth is the first casualty of war. And that seems eminently demonstrable in the current assault.

This article is worth reading both for the research it reports and for the questions it implies about the reliability of the mainstream media, the veracity of politicians (gasp! what a revelation.), accountability for any of the atrocities that have taken or are taking place, and the complicity of Christians (and by extension, the Church catholic) in the entire mess. The Church's failure to give voice to the revelation of God has contributed to the horror.

Unfortunately, the article fails to nuance the difference between a Katusha rocket and Israeli arms. The Katusha are fairly unsophisticated, ineffective, often home-brewed "missiles". (See the number of casualties they have wrought, and compare that to the Palestinian deaths.) To highlight them as somehow the equivalent of or justification for Israeli responses is to fail in any effort toward proportionality. Even by the loosest just-war standards, the war against the Palestinians fails.

It is written that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Lamentably, it is also the case that those who live under the control of those who live by sword also die by the sword. The numbers of genuinely innocent civilian deaths is sickening; the apparently intentional targeting of schools, hospitals, and UN humanitarian workers only brings additional bile.

The Church must speak out -- and by speak out I mean "speak" in the sacramental sense: We must speak, write, scream, demonstrate, go to Palestine to sit in witness to peace. Until Christians put their lives on the line (in many cases, in support of our Palestinian fellow Christians), we can only hang our heads in shame.

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