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thomas aka Headphonaught

The thing that offends me most is how some evangelicals in the US are celebrating the war as a sign that the Lord is coming.

Sure the Lord is coming soon... but for goodness sake people are dying! People whom God loves enough to send His Son.

The war is wrong on so many levels!

Makeesha

It's all very sad. Although, I've been to Israel and have friends who live there and instead of laying blame, I think the best thing to say is that it's a touch situation all around. My friends have lived with the threat of death at any moment every time they get on a bus - that does something to a person's soul.

Makeesha

sorry, typo, tough situation

Adam

I'm with you Jonny. But you know that. There are people who pray for peace and justice for all!

mike

It's trite but all I think of when I consider the current crisis are school bullies. They are bigger and stronger than their victims and usually have even bigger 'backers' should anything go wrong. Like most bullies, they've been bullied themselves and have many sad stories to tell. But it doesn't alter the fact that the weak and poor are usually those that suffer disproportionately (on both sides).
Has 9/11 given the West the right to bully and annihilate anything that it can label 'terrorist'?
It's a sad sad situation and it needs prayer.

Chris

Hey, listened to "Justice" like 50 times today. It i reminds me that the prophets of Israel speak to us just as powerfully today, through words written on pages, as they did a few millenia ago. We just need to be humble enough to "face the music" unlike the ancients that could have had the prophets walk right up to them and speak God's message. Which begs the question, if there are those humble enough to be challenged by God's Words on injustice, should it not be those very same people that need to speak up and be the prophets of today?

Phil Rankin

While I understand your sadness and feel pain to my stomach on every occasion that I think, hear or see something relating to the current situation, I do not really understand your reflection on the definition of ‘terrorist’ or the use of the word ‘innocent’? Nor indeed of your use of the phrase ‘apartheid wall’?

jonny

by innocent i mean the children who were killed in qana.

by terrorist i am sick of the hypocrisy of those who name others terrorists while then inflicting terror - how can the killings at qana be anything other than the infliction of terror - albeit by a government (i feel the same way about some of our own governments actiosn in iraq btw)

by apartheid wall, i am simply using the term that is widely recognised for it (try typing apartheid wall palestine into google). see this for one example - http://www.tomjoad.org/wall.htm . i see no difference between the separation of blacks into bantustans in south africa (the restriction of their movements and so on) and the carving up of the west bank into separated zones, with palestiniasn subjected to daily humiliation to cross check ponts to get to work or to hospitals or whetever.

Andrew

Jonny - at last we are talking about 'real' issues. I've blogged about this now for a number of days, and what made me sad/mad was it seemed to be passing the 'Christian' world by without comment (albeit ignoring the evangelical right wing in the USA). A comment from a friend of mine trapped in Beirut was what you see on the news does not portray what is really happening, things are ten times worse. Meanwhile our government sits idly by like a lame poodle.

jonny

thanks for the link to yours andrew - good on you... part of the problem (for me at least) is that most blog entries i make take quite a short amount of time to post - often snatched inbetween doing other things. you feel that to comment on political affairs on this scale you have to take a bit more time and they always seem so complex. i only feel i can comment on palestine/israel because i have been there and know a bit about it. a lot of other situations i'd be very hesitant about. i think that's probably why there isn't more comment?...

Phil Rankin

For me, death and injury is discomforting whatever the circumstance. The death or injury of any person saddens me greatly and innocence or otherwise seems irrelevant. There are child soldiers all over the world, many of whom have chosen to become involved in militarism. There have been children who may have chosen to use themselves as weapons by suicide and others who try to protect their ‘soldiers’ by remaining in conflict areas. In a context such as this, can anyone really be considered ‘innocent’?

By this expressed understanding of terrorist, a bully in a playground will be understood as a terrorist. Surely there is more to being labelled a terrorist than only causing terror?

There are significant differences between the situation of South Africa and the situation of Israel + Palestine. The main one is the reasoning behind the separation. I am uncomfortable with the construction of the wall but I wonder how it is that the highest separating walls ever constructed in Europe are in the U.K. + are known as ‘peace walls’, yet a wall constructed by Israel for similar reasons is labelled an ‘apartheid wall'?

Colin

Anne and I visited Rachel's tomb ?two Christmas's ago before the corridor was completed. It was quite unnerving. As we appraoched several Palestinians advised us not to. Others said just be careful. There was a quietness about the appraoches. No traffic, no one on the streets. Like a ghost town. The soldiers on duty were very, very alert and made sure not to show themselves much. We had been advised to approach with hands raised and open.

Inside the soldiers were friendly. On the way out we were warned by the soldiers to be on alert for flying stones as the kids from the refugee camp next door liked to aim at visitors who they may presume to be Israeli. There were very very few tourists in areas we visited.

Colin

From an Israeli point of view I guess one might want to visit this sacred place and the only was is to fortify it. From a Palestinian point of view such a fortification is a symbol of oppression. From an external point of view it is another symptom of the set of fundamental (sic) lack of any jointly agreed foundation on which the people of the land can share it.

Quote a young man I met when visiting a family in a refugee camp. "There will never be peace." He did not say it in a war-mongering or hostile way but as in a mixture of resignation and perhaps determination. I think this was for him a mixture of recognising reality and that too many injustices had been committed. One way to hold onto the honour that is som important in this culture is to resist submission to the power one sees as the oppressor. In this world view peace ceases to be seeen as a good and noble goal but as the final subjection of the spirit, self and family identity.

It is a terrible thing to think that any peace in this context can only be temporary or localised among the few who are willing to be reconciled and they are few.

Colin Darling

From an Israeli point of view I guess one might want to visit this sacred place and the only was is to fortify it. From a Palestinian point of view such a fortification is a symbol of oppression. From an external point of view it is another symptom of the set of fundamental (sic) lack of any jointly agreed foundation on which the people of the land can share it.

Quote a young man I met when visiting a family in a refugee camp. "There will never be peace." He did not say it in a war-mongering or hostile way but as in a mixture of resignation and perhaps determination. I think this was for him a mixture of recognising reality and that too many injustices had been committed. One way to hold onto the honour that is som important in this culture is to resist submission to the power one sees as the oppressor. In this world view peace ceases to be seeen as a good and noble goal but as the final subjection of the spirit, self and family identity.

It is a terrible thing to think that any peace in this context can only be temporary or localised among the few who are willing to be reconciled and they are few.

Colin darling

Whoops sorry about the double post

Chris Fosten

It makes me sad that people quibble over the definitions (which are used in so many broad contexts) for individuals. To take the point Phil made above, yes you could define a bully as a terrorist. It's a different scale, but its the same category.
The exact definitions don't matter all that much - its just words. No matter whether you think Israel is committing a terrorist act (and just to clarify, I do) it's irrellevant to the people who are dying, losing loved ones, homes, freedom, peace. To argue over the definitions, in my opinon reduces the issue down to the level Blair and Bush have placed all of this - the conceptual war against "terror" (watch out plaground bullies - that lunch money may land you in Guantanamo Bay...)
Whatever you call it, Israel are heavy-handed and wrong to be up to what they are. Even worse is the reluctance of our country (and many others) to call for a ceasefire. It's shameful, but then, with so much money invested in the contracts with the Israeli army, it's no wonder we don't do anything.

Jonny, I agree about the Apartheid wall. It's not that different from S.A. - especially when you remember that we're talking about land Israel took by force and refused to return...

Phil Rankin

Whether Israel, Hezbollah or anyone else is ‘committing a terrorist act’ is most certainly not irrelevant to the people who are dying, losing loved ones etc. To quote the oft used phrase, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” For those involved in conflict definitions are vitally important. Defining the actions of nation states, organisations, or individuals in each situation most often dictates the reaction of those involved.
In no sense does understanding the use of language have to result in a diminution of the sadness of the situation. The pain that people inflict one upon the other will rarely create happiness. The death or injury of any person saddens me greatly and the proposed innocence or otherwise is irrelevant to this reaction.
It is entirely because people desire to say that this or that is right or wrong that understanding the use of language is important. To use Chris’ phrase, without any clarification of meaning if I were to suggest that Israel is not ‘committing a terrorist act’, what are we actually talking about? Are we talking about a playground bully or something more destructive? Without clarification and definition conflict situations are often not understood which can result in very simplistic criticisms and solutions being offered.

Phil Rankin

While I understand why people label the Israeli West Bank Barrier as apartheid it can be understood somewhat differently. I am saddened by its existence and the separation that it causes but I am also acutely aware of the primary reasoning behind its creation.
The Bantustans were created because of apartheid and the inherent racism therefore. This racism or even some form of xenophobia is not the primary principle driving the development of the Israeli West Bank Barrier. There are of course many issues with the wall – annexing of land; pre-emption of negotiations of an accepted border; community separation; economic oppression – but the fact remains that the primary role of the wall is one of protection through separation. Despite all the negative attributes of the wall, it is an uncomfortable fact that incidents of attack in Israel have been declining as the barrier has been constructed. The impact and necessity of ‘peace walls’ can be observed in many conflicts. Kosovo + Northern Ireland are two particular examples.
If the Israeli West Bank Barrier was about apartheid then every non-white citizen would have been separated and forced into a type of Bantustans. This is simply not the case.

Aaron Cavanaugh

Hi,

Yes I agree. Most Christian Americans and Americans in general don't even know the story. THey don't know about Israel getting there land back from the British in 1948 and moving back there kicking out all the Palestinians who were living there and then trying to cut Palestinians off from there lively hood (those in the Gaza strip). People are so miseducated and they think Israel is GOd's nation so they can do whatever they want. Americans took this CHristian idea and now they think they can do what ever they want. Well Republican American government under people like BUsh and Woodrow Wilson that is.

Thanks. GOd Bless.

Aaron.

Chris Fosten

Phil, just to make it clear, I meant that whether you want to call what is happening a "terrorist act" is irrellevant - not the actual act. I tried to make that clear in what I said, so sorry for any confusion.

I'm not trying to say that we should ignore what each side considers to be the definition of something like a terrorist - but when we're living in a country where the laws in place to prevent terrorist attacks is mis-used to stop legitimate protest and is abused in order to throw dissenters out of a Labour party convention, definitions just seem to add more words to a crowded page.

It makes me uncomfortable that I've heard Israeli government officials describing all of this as their contribution to the war on terrorism, and its every bit as bad that our country amongst others, while not backing this, are not opposing it. I don't think that there's much of a difference between this crisis and the invasion of Iraq, except that Israel have a stronger claim to provocation. But its every bit as pointless - chasing shadows and killing (sometimes allegedly deliberately) innocent civillians along the way.

We live in a country who's government legitimises unprovoked aggression - whether you believe the war in Iraq was right, that's another discussion. And while we sit here and do nothing officially, we become an accomplice in destroying innocent lives. No matter what the definitions of any of this is, we are still allowing the killing to continue. And its with weapons supplied largely by the UK and US.

Phil Rankin

What I’m saying is that describing something as a ‘terrorist act’ or ‘not a terrorist act’ is important. This is true for those involved in the act + those being saddened by it from a distance. In most situations the naming of the act does not impact upon my sadness or my wish that things were different but it is important in understanding a situation + its implications. The current struggle to create some ceasefire/cessation agreement via the U.N. is yet another example of the absolutely critical place of defining terminology.

Chris, you actually draw attention to the need to properly define + understand terminology in your reflection on the U.K. situation. Relatively unfounded fear of an unknown + undefined ‘terrorist’ has indeed resulted in laws being created + used in a draconian way. Proper understanding + definition can + should play a part in overcoming this situation before a world not like Orwell’s ‘1984’ come to pass.

Whether one thinks the conflict in Iraq is right or not is indeed another discussion but I do not understand the notion of ‘unprovoked aggression’. As nations, the U.K. or the U.S.A. were not directly attacked by Iraq but are we not at all responsible for the Kurds for example? Or perhaps N.A.T.O. should not have intervened in the situations of the former Yugoslavia when people were being killed because the U.K., U.S.A., France etc. were not directly attacked by Serbia? Rwanda is another example of no direct attack/provocation but should more not have been done to prevent the slaughter of people there?

The idea that the U.K. is sitting and doing nothing would not appear to be the reality. The proposal being put to the U.N. Security Council in the coming week didn’t appear from nowhere. Although there are many different interpretations of the interaction, the clip of Tony Blair + George Bush talking when they thought the microphone was off shows at the very least that there was some discussion about the situation. Jumping up + down and shouting, ‘Ceasefire, ceasefire, stop, stop’ would be about as useful as pissing in the wind. A lot has + will be done officially + while it might not be to someone’s liking or appear dreadfully slow, it is going on.

As Chris writes, we are ‘an accomplice’ but so also are those in each particular situation + are therefore far from ‘innocent’. It is my view that no one is innocent in these situations because no matter what is done to overcome the difficulties, rarely is it enough. I most certainly do not like the action/reaction of Hezbollah or the action/reaction of Israel to the current situation but I totally understand it. I am also deeply saddened by it. I am also saddened by each individual’s inability to act personally + through their state to prevent the continued pain that people cause one to the other.

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