Given the urgency of the situation this Reflection has only a brief note from me: Easter week in Jerusalem focused on redemptive suffering.
Dear Family and Friends:
Given the urgency of the situation this Reflection has only a brief note from me:
Easter week in Jerusalem focused on redemptive suffering. Our trips into the most heavily bombed of the West Bank and Gaza caused us to ponder how the present pain impacts the hearts of believing people in all the religious communities in Israel and Palestine.
Our Muslim friends are telling us, “God uses this suffering for us to recalculate our situation before Him…will will become thankful for life and compassionate persons toward the abused, or will we become deniers thinking only of ourselves? Will we become more politically fanatical or will we move closer to God by caring for those who are grieving, homeless, injured or unemployed?” It reminds me of the quote in No Ordinary Time from Eleanor Roosevelt describing polio stricken President Roosevelt: “Anyone who has gone through great suffering is bound to have a greater sympathy and understanding of the problems of mankind”. In’shallah. But it isn’t always the case.
We stood speechless amidst the rubble of the Abu Sultan familys’ homes in Gaza, whose only crime was that they lived too close to a traffic-patrol police station targeted by Israeli Apache helicopters. We watched their 17 children rummaging through the detritus to find their books and toys wondering how children grow up with this trauma in their psyches. We returned to the sickening thud of American made tank shells destroying more homes and shops, and damaging Christian institutions, in Bethlehem. We wondered how to translate these images and those of Palestinian suicide bombers and mortar attacks into something useful for all of you scattered around the world watching the tragically inadequate media reports…. into something redemptive for all the long-suffering people of Palestine and Israel.
I determined that there was only one message to convey today in the hope that the unspeakable grief here would lead to deeper understanding and a neutral and countervailing force to protect the innocents…
and that is:
when you see a misleading headline like the one in the New York Times on April 19 that explains Israeli vicious use of overwhelming and superior and civilian devastating force as a response to “Palestinians again shell Israeli posts”, you would understand that the mortars being used are nearly harmless. Certainly not worthy of the expensive expenditure of moral and financial capital used by Israel in its response of collective punishment. When these crude missiles land they create a small twelve inch by eighteen inch hole in the ground. They would have to hit you on top of the head to cause any harm! They are primarily a feeble, mosquito-against-an- elephant, attempt to say “we will not give up” even in face of superior firepower. It is a small and broken people’s tiny effort to stand courageously before one of the most powerful armies in the world backed by the most powerful nation on the face of the globe. The cry for liberation is mobilizing a weak people to be strong in spirit and learn the lessons of suffering…even in laying down their lives. If the occupation would end these sad meager but life threatening initiatives would cease. In the meantime if wagers were appropriate I would bet once again David will ultimately overcome Goliath and a just freedom will come…ironically for both communities.
This will be primarily because the world will no longer be able to stomach the lies and misrepresentation going on here.
One of the most courageous and slandered journalists in this unholy land is Robert Fisk of the London Independent. The attached article provides a clear perspective about the situation. I trust it will enlighten you and it will help us all “recalculate our situation before Him”.
May we all tell the truth…and do it graciously and persistently.
Easter peace and hope,