... our resident activist speaks out
Christmas, the word is magical, sparkling with tinsel, magical gifts, the old traditional songs that sing of the joys of the holiday.
Christmas, a time to gather with family, friends, remember those who have left us but whose spirits are still near on this holiday that hearkens back to youth and childhood more than any other. How sweet to remember the innocence and peace of the days of our childhood
And of course Christ is a symbol of peace, and of love. Yet as Christmas comes closer, so does the vision of war, an action that is far removed from the meaning of Christ. Across our nation and across the world, people have been protesting such action in Iraq, a country that has suffered both under its despotic ruler, Saddam Hussein, and under sanctions that our country and Britain have insisted on retaining for eleven years.
Because of impure water and lack of medicines and nutrition, more than a half million children and babies and elderly have died. Many countries want to drop these sanctions, which ban import of materials to clean up the water, The cause of the water's impurity is that during the Gulf War our planes destroyed their entire purification system.
Of course the mothers and fathers are anguished about the loss of their children. And all of the citizens in Iraq are terrorized at thoughts of bombing and shooting at them, in their homes, on their streets. Now we know something of the horror of bombing since 9/11; unlike much of the world, we have not had the experience of war on our soil. Recalling our shock and anguish after the destruction of our World Trade Towers, how can we accept our President's threats to wage war on Iraq? Unpleasant as Saddam is, he has committed no offense against us, and has not used any of his weapons against another nation in 11 years.
Most of the world is against our plans for war; most of the Muslim world has urged us not to attack Iraq. Now we know that there are some Muslim people who hold a dangerous hostility toward us, because of our forceful presence in their part of the world; because of our policy toward Israel (neglecting the tragic state of the Palestinian Muslims), because of our policy toward Iraq (those harmful sanctions), and toward Saudi Arabia, where our troops have been stationed for years in the land of the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, and shoring up that corrupt regime.
Many Americans are fearful that if we attack Iraq it will provoke much more hostility toward us and incite further attacks against Americans here at home and abroad. Is this the way to protect American citizens?
But we are a peaceable people, we're busy with our own sensible lives and even focusing on having a happy holiday time with family and friends. Though many are protesting at peace rallies, many of us just want to enjoy the Christmas season.
However, if we truly believe in the Prince of Peace, Christ who expressed the noblest of ideals, the antithesis of war and revenge, how can we remain silent? Fellow human beings could be attacked soon with our powerful weapons of mass destruction, blown apart, suffering, children, men and women alike.
In this season of joy isn't it appropriate that we let our leaders know that we want the whole world to rejoice in a peaceful Silent Night, Holy Night?
December 6, 2002