“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. (more…)
November 14, 2012
activism, Anabaptism, apartheid, Conscientious Objection, Current Events, Foreign Policy, Gaza, Guns, Hamas, Hate, Israel, liberation theology, Love, Military, Nonviolence, Palestine, Tactics, Terrorism, US Military, war
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Since almost two months now I am working on a Palestinian farm surrounded by settlements – more on the project maybe in another article. Today I want to share with you an observation I have made about my relationship with the animals I am taking care of. All our animals have a very strong will for freedom and since it’s not only my job to feed and clean them, but also to lock them in their cages and repairing the fences, this will for freedom conflicts with my role.
But while the goats ram me with their head and the horses sometimes try to run away, or even kick me, our dogs have employed a different strategy:
They always break out of their cage either during lunch or dinner to protest the lack of food I am giving them and run around barking. So, I need to interrupt my meal and catch them. Now the strange thing happens. While sometimes they’ll run away, when I catch them, they always just lie numb on the ground and stretch their feet out towards me. They don’t try to bite me, they’re just lying there. I try to convince them by telling them it is my duty to lock them up and I’m sorry I can’t give them more food, but I can only give them as much food as possible.
Next, I pet them and promise them I’ll try to get extra food though I know there isn’t any.
No reaction. (more…)
October 23, 2011
Animals, Bias, Dumb Stuff., Israel, Military, Nonviolence, Palestine, Power, Stewardship, Tactics
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October 6 marks the 10-year anniversary of the United States’ war in Afghanistan. In response to this event and the stories of woman in war zones around the world, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) in the United States plans to rally “women and thoughtful men” around the U.S. to proclaim that this war has gone on 10 years too long and demand “not one more death allowed” and “not one more dollar spent” on this war. They join the thousands who continue the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and direct-democracy actions in New York and many other cities and towns across the U.S.
The anniversary of this war marks the years of my journey doing feminist anti-war organizing (with WAND, Mennonites, and others). It is a formation that began in the early days of this war in 2001 when, as a senior at a Mennonite high school, I became pen pals with a young woman who lived in Nazareth. She spoke Arabic and English. I spoke English and Spanish. We didn’t know anything else about each others’ realities. Through English-language letters over the next year, we began to paint a picture of daily life across the world for one another.
I never imagined that 10 years later there would still be a U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
I never imagined that 10 years later I would live in Jerusalem, not far from Nazareth. (more…)
October 14, 2011
activism, Books, Change, Current Events, International Relations, liberation theology, MCC, Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking
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Ever feel like you’re somewhere where you shouldn’t be?
Yesterday I was running on the Coal & Coke Trail outside Mount Pleasant when I found myself in the midst of hunting season in Western PA. Orange-clad hunters with rifles patrolled the woods on either side of the trail.
This isn’t abnormal this time of year…after all, the PA hunting season is short and the interest, strong (i.e. supply and demand sends hunters and the hunting-inclined out in droves), and I’ve certainly seen hunters out and about during my daily runs.
But I felt particularly vulnerable this time around.
Yeah, I was wearing bright red and running in a b-line down a wide jogging trail, and I realize that hunters for the most part are very careful with their rifles. Most of the hunters I saw even acknowledged me with a hand wave or a tip of the cap.
December 13, 2010
Bigotry, Gaza, Illegal, Immigration, Iraq, Israel, LGBTQ, Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking, Urban Ministry
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Crossposted from Ekklesia, UK by ST with permission of Tim Siedel
Experiencing the Lenten season in Palestine is unique. It carries with it incredible feelings of closeness and concreteness as one visits sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem — the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected. Yet, those feelings of closeness are easily swallowed up by a sense of separation and forsakenness as one considers the current situation.
In the recently released Kairos Palestine Document, Palestinian Christians take this situation as their starting point in challenging theological interpretations of those “who use the Bible to threaten our existence as Christian and Muslim Palestinians,” trying to “attach a biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights.”
Though Easter and its celebration of resurrection and new life defines Christianity, in a place like Palestine the season of Lent always seems more appropriate. (more…)
March 8, 2010
activism, Anabaptism, apartheid, Current Events, Discipleship, Foreign Policy, Global Church, Israel, liberation theology, Palestine, Power, Spiritual Life, Theology, Tradition, war
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This piece is cross-posted from Electronic Intifada
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42
Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem is the name of a church and a site of pilgrimage for many Christian travelers to the “Holy Land.” Literally, Dominus Flevit means “the Lord wept” in Latin and is remembered as the site where Jesus stopped to look out over Jerusalem to weep and ask this striking question to all who would follow him.
An unavoidable question: Do we recognize the things that make for peace? Are they right in front of us, hidden from our eyes?
The language of peace often surrounds us. In a place like Palestine, the language of peace gets thrown around on a regular basis. One can see it when surveying the expanding colonization of the occupied West Bank in recent decades, in particular during those times of “peace” process. Or when one passes through an Israeli military checkpoint and is greeted with “shalom” — the Hebrew word for peace. And one also encounters it on the International Day of Prayer for Peace, where Palestinian Christians and Muslims alike gather to resist the daily violence they experience through prayer and protest.
When I read a text such as this one from Luke’s gospel, I cannot help but feel like Jesus is speaking directly to me, to us. Indeed, these words are a challenge to all of us who would make use of the language of peace.
This is a subversive text. And it reminds me of a story about what the language of peace in Palestine-Israel looks like, a story from Hedy Sawadsky, a relief worker with the Mennonite Central Committee in the Middle East in the 1960s who was challenged by a Palestinian woman: “what you’re doing here is fine, but it is only band-aid work … go home and work for peace and get at the root causes of evil and war.” (more…)
October 18, 2009
Israel, Nonviolence, Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking, The Bible
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So I am really in love for the first time in a while. He’s a radical activist. He’s Mennonite. He’s brilliant. He would probably read and write on this blog if he was from the USA. But there is a big problem, he smokes tobacco (a lot). Or is that not a problem? I need your help, my radical friends…to help me think through the issues of smoking and tobacco usage. I can only really take love advice seriously from people who are in the movement for positive social change…people who understand a deep commitment to values that call us to put our “personal” love lives in perspective with the greater struggle of promotion of love and justice all over the world. I listen to others who I feel are be people of integrity on all levels of life.
What follows is what I think about smoking/what I’m struggling with/the questions I have. Please, if you have any wisdom to share…SHARE IT. As a feminist I am willing to put this out in the public because I do believe the personal is political. And I know that the relationships that individuals have also effect the collective.
I realized again that I’m a “God-geek” when I wanted to know something marriage a few weeks ago and so I looked at C. Arnold Snyder’s chapter titled “Anabaptist Marriage” in Anabaptist History and Theology textbook. My point was to see how these young activists handled marriage in the context of an intense social movement. (more…)
May 15, 2009
activism, Anabaptism, Change, Civilization, communication, Community, Conscientious Objection, Consumerism, Contemplation, culture, Death, Discipleship, Ethics, Faith, Family, Gender, Mental health, Nonviolence, Palestine, Polemics, Power, Prayer, Theology, Tolerance, Tradition, Young Folks
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After spending an hour reading the news about Gaza, there’s a lot of different blog posts I could write. I could write about the numbness and despair I feel as I watch the video camera meandering through the corpses of Palestinians. I could tell the stories I heard from Israelis and Palestinians when I went with a CPT delegation to Palestine in 2003. I could call on Hamas and Israel to give up on the myth of effective violence.
Instead, I’m going to lower my ambitions. I don’t think the Israeli government (or the leadership of Hamas) is going to reconsider their use of violence anytime soon. So what if we measure them by standard of lex talionis or an eye for an eye? This is a controlled system for retribution found in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. In traditional societies, escalating revenge led to vendettas and feuds that could quickly dominated the social landscape.
December 29, 2008
Current Events, Gaza, Palestine, war
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Crossposted from SammerTime
I awoke to the sound of light rain on the tin roof. Quite pleased after checking my watch and realizing I slept in much longer than usual, I stepped outside to find an unusual morning. Light rain was falling and fog had enveloped the valley in which At-Tuwani lies. The Palestinian town to the north was obscured by the fog, as were Ma’on and Havat Ma’on, an Israeli settlement and illegal Israeli outpost, respectively. The South Hebron Hills, the name that denotes the greater area of which At-Tuwani is a part, is usually marked by clear skies and clear visibility for miles. This Christmas morning, the scene was different as Ma’on and Havat Ma’on were seemingly disconnected from At-Tuwani due to the fog.
The residents of Ma’on and Havat Ma’on are significant perpetrators of the system of oppression that makes life difficult for Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills. Ideologically-driven Israeli settlers inhabit these areas and often carry out acts of violence and terror against Palestinian farmers, shepherds, and schoolchildren. (more…)
December 29, 2008
Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking, Theology
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Cross-posted from As of Yet Untitled
Sunday afternoon when I got word that my friend Joel Gulledge had been attacked by Israeli settlers in At-Tuwani. Joel was escorting some Palestinian children home from summer day camp when they were threatened by a masked settler with a slingshot. Jan Benvie, a friend and CPTer from Scotland, rushed the children away while Joel filmed what was happening. The settler caught up with Joel, grabbed his video camer and began beating him around his head with it while he punched him with his other hand. Joel didn’t fight back, but yelled for help.
This sort of thing has happened before to CPTers in Hebron and At-Tuwani. These have long been the regions where CPTers are most regularly the target of physical violence. Colleagues of mine have had their arms broken and lungs punctured and been stoned by Israeli settlers from the Havot Ma’on settlement.
So the attack itself is nothing new, but this attack hit closer to home for me. Just two weeks ago I said goodbye to Joel near his home on the north side of Chicago. Joel and I hung out together this summer at PAPA festival where he did a workshop on the situation in Israel/Palestine. And now I have the image of him being beaten in the face with his own video camera in my head.
July 29, 2008
activism, Current Events, Israel, Nonviolence, Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking, Police Brutality
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Many of you remember my post from a few months ago on what is currently happening in the Gaza strip in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.
The above image comes from last Thursday, when Israeli military killed over 20 people in one day during fighting in the Gaza strip. 14 of those deaths happened in Central Gaza, and five of those killed were under 16 years old. The image depicts an unnamed Palestinian boy, in what is probably the last moment in his life. He was hit by Israeli tank fire while standing amongst a Reuters TV crew – with vehicles clearly marked as a media crew – that lost a cameraman whose name was Fadel Shana.
This is a link to a video from Fadel Shana’s camera. It is of an Israeli tank in the distance firing a shell at the TV crew – again, a clearly marked vehicle. You will see, just before the video goes black, a secondary explosion in the upper part of the screen. This is the shell cartridge as it explodes, shooting thousands of lethal antipersonnel darts (“flechettes”) into the bodies of Fadel Shana and three Palestinian bystanders, two of them boys.
Here is a link to the NY Times coverage of the fighting that day. Note the comments of Israeli Army spokeswoman Leibovich:
Asked about the many civilian casualties, Maj. Avital Leibovich, an Israeli Army spokeswoman, said the military had struck an armed group. “It could be that civilians were nearby; it would not be the first time,” she said.
April 22, 2008
apartheid, Foreign Policy, Gaza, Hamas, International Relations, Israel, Journalism, Military, Nonviolence, Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking, war
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Maybe we’ve stopped praying for Palestine. Maybe we never cared to start. Maybe it was too hard to ask God for a fix to this complex situation; and, hey, we don’t know the history well enough.
I hear lots of Christians decrying violence in Kenya – cuz, ya know, there are missionaries there. It’s a “save-able” country.
I haven’t heard much Christian response to the remarks made by Israeli deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai that if Hamas does not stop its rocket fire, then it will be in for a big shoah and Israel will defend itself at all costs.
What does shoah mean? Well, it can be translated as “big disaster”. But, for most folks who speak Hebrew, shoah generally means holocaust. It is almost exclusively used to describe the mass extermination of the Jews during World War II, and certainly it would not be used by a high ranking official in public for any other reason. (more…)
March 1, 2008
apartheid, Hamas, International Relations, Military, Palestine, war
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In the past few months, we’ve discussed how to handle churches that stray from their nonviolent roots, why we should refrain from commenting on situations we don’t know in-depth, and why those of us in comfortable lives should hold their tongues when people in uncomfortable lives outside of North America use violence. Yes, that’s a simplistic way of saying it, but it’s a decent summary.
My question is, when should we insist on peace and nonviolence? When should we, as people committed to the peacemaking roots of our church tradition (and not because it is our tradition, but because we believe it, too), stand up and say, “Nope, I’m not going to let this get watered down”? If a person with a U.S. military background comes into our churches and says, “Don’t tell people in Palestine not to throw rocks when people point guns at them,” how do you respond? Should we insist on peacemaking and nonviolence for ourselves but decline to comment on how others live? Can we live in church fellowship with those who say otherwise, and if so, does this mean asking them not to promote their beliefs in our churches? (more…)
October 2, 2007
Conscientious Objection, Foreign Policy, Global Church, International Relations, Israel, Nonviolence, Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking, Theology, Tradition
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This is another proxy-post by Rich, written for CPTnet and copied here with permission:
North American media have again found one of their favorite stories in the fighting between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza – Palestinians bent on killing, incapable of arranging their political lives without massacres. Without claiming to have the complete story, I can at least interject some additional perspectives that call for deeper interpretation. For example, I saw Fatah and Hamas legislators in Hebron walk arm-in-arm down Ain Sara Street, on a day when five of their colleagues died in a gun-battle in Gaza. OK, at least that says that Hebron is not Gaza. But what is behind the fighting in Gaza?
Last week in Gaza, Hamas fighters finally drove Fatah fighters out of the Office of Preventive Security – that’s a police headquarter building, basically. Maybe North American reporters have forgotten that there was an election in Gaza and the West Bank early in 2006 – by all accounts a free, fair, multiparty democratic election. The voters chose new government, Hamas, by an overwhelming majority. Now, another way to describe this result would be to say that the electorate “sent the Fatah incumbents packing.” At least, in most places, it would mean that. But in this case the United States government objected to the choice of the Palestinian voting public, and acted in a variety of ways to stop the incumbent party from handing over the institutions of government to the winning party. So the Fatah legislators, bureaucrats and officials did not pack up – they stayed. That’s why they were still there in control of this police station more than a year later.
July 2, 2007
Foreign Policy, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Media, Palestine, Peace & Peacemaking
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