“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” — Matthew 26:52 (KJV)
”Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love… ” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism.” — Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
I was originally going to write today about something to do with Liberation Theology. I am currently doing a research paper on the subject, and I figured that it would be worth writing about here. In fact, Thomas Muntzer is seen as both a founder of Anabaptism and a forerunner of Liberation Theology. So, it seemed like a good idea for something here for the Young Anabaptist Radicals. God, however, did not want me to write about that subject today.
When I woke up this morning, I did what I always do — I went onto my social networking sites to see if there was anything new. Well, there was, and it was not something that I am happy about. Israel reignited its military campaign against Gaza in its so-called “Operation Pillar of Defense”. Israel, backed by the United States government, has continued its senseless bombings of Palestinians.
As with any international issue, social networking and news sites blew up with this news of the latest military strikes in the region. There were many who say that the Israelis are justified in their actions. They say that they are more civilized than those terrorists in Gaza. On the other hand, there are those who say that Palestine is oppressed, that we should support groups like Hamas. I, however, find myself strangely in the middle.
I cannot deny the evils of the Israeli government. I cannot deny that they have instituted an apartheid state that has attacked and slaughtered so many innocent lives. However, I also cannot justify the so-called liberating violence of groups like Hamas. The one has a horrible imperialist terrorism, while the other has a horrible guerrilla terrorism. Both seek to have their people dominate over the other. Both would gladly oppress the other. The thing that keeps Hamas from doing so is Israel’s massive military.
We are stuck in a massive cycle of violence.
From Gaza to the streets of American inner cities, we are in a cycle of violence. The Israelis bomb the Palestinians, and the Palestinians bomb the Israelis. We bomb the Middle East, so they bomb us. It just goes in circles — over and over again. The previous attack is use to justify the one after it, and that one used to justify the next.
People were telling me all day that I have to pick a side. I have to either pick the violence of the Israelis or Hamas. This is not the first time. During the elections I was told to support the Democrats or Republicans. During the Libyan civil war I was told to support the US government or Gaddafi.
I cannot choose either side in any of these conflicts. All of them are on the side of violence, which I am not.
Thankfully, we do not live in a world of dualism. We live in a world of complexity. There are not just two sides choose from — there are many. Violence begets violence and hatred begets hatred. So I do not choose either of these two options. While all the different armies, governments, and rebel groups say vengeance is the answer. I think that we should seek something far more powerful, and far more effective — justice.
I cannot tell you what to feel about all the problems we face today, and I do not want to. I am tired of silly, fruitless online debates. But as for me, I can no longer choose war, and I do not think as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, or any other faith group, that we can choose war anymore.
“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” — Isaiah 2:4 (KJV)