USS Intrepid NCC-1730

Star Trek World Exists Today
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Author:  gem [ Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Star Trek World Exists Today

Below is a letter from a peace activist from St Leo's in Detroit. It shows us that the Trek world exists today - hope lives. We can be a united people in peace seeking to benefit all mankind.

Dear Friend,

Just a note to let you know that I will be fasting for the next thirty days in response to the horrors that are occurring in the Middle East and in sorrow for my personal complicity as a U.S. taxpayer in the deaths of so many Palestinians, Lebanese, and Israeli civilians. In deciding to fast, I join the thousands of others who have been fasting with Code Pink since July 4. While I will join others in fasting for peace in Iraq and, of course, Lebanon, my fast will focus especially on the situation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Unless those of us deeply committed to nonviolence get more involved in working alongside those who are working for an end to the Israeli occupation, ground zero of the violence in that corner of the world, we can expect the current violence to escalate. Our silence in the face of injustice makes violence inevitable.

While so many are quick to point fingers at others, we seldom reflect on the ways in which our own passivity and lack of courage and creativity are directly responsible for what we see unfolding today. For as long as we stand silent in the face of home demolitions, targeted assassinations, land theft, settlement and wall construction, checkpoints, detentions, torture and the myriad other crimes and humiliations that are inherent to occupation, we will continue to see the violence that we are witnessing today. Can Americans who care about peace really in good conscience tell others to put down their weapons when we lack the courage and integrity to pick up a pen, a phone, a picket sign in the name of justice?

As anyone who reads the news closely knows, Israel’s "pullout" from the Gaza Strip last summer was little more than a smoke screen for its settlement expansion in the West Bank. Denied land and air space and penned in at its borders, Gaza remains the world’s largest open-air prison. So little has been reported about the ongoing bombing in Gaza. The civilian deaths. The humanitarian crisis. Where is the media coverage on this? Where is the outrage as last week the U.S. once again vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s use of collective punishment in the Gaza Strip.

I am fasting especially in solidarity with the West Bank village of Bil’in where nonviolent resistance to the construction of the wall for over a year and a half has received scant attention in our country.

In this hilly village outside Ramallah where over half the village’s land has been stolen so that a large settlement can be built, a Palestinian movement has grown that is showing us the way out of this mess. Israeli army incursions are met with volleyball games and singing. A Dutch Holocaust survivor had a piano shipped to Bil’in and held a piano recital at the wall’s construction site. An outpost settlement has been built where people from the village and their friends have set up camp, and just last Friday a wedding was celebrated at the weekly protest. Every Friday, internationals and young Israelis join the Palestinian-led demonstrations at noon where protesters are routinely greeted with sound grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets. Mohammed K. of the village’s popular committee is routinely beaten and arrested, and yet he and the people of this small village carry on.

Since returning last year, a white-hot rage has been simmering in a corner of my heart at the indignities that I witnessed in the West Bank. I am shamed by my inability, given what our friends who live there endure, to translate this anger into constructive action here at home. Often I cannot find the words to express what I want to say both about both the horror and the sliver of hope that co-exist there. This hope is quiet and tenuous, yet it is real. The powers that be are doing everything in their power to crush this hope - this resistance - yet it persists.

During my time in Bil’in last year, I was graced with a foretaste of how things could be in this world. After the day’s demonstration against the Caterpillar corporation, the entire village spared nothing in putting on the mother of all feasts in honor of Jonathan P., a young Israeli activist who was released that day from the hospital where he had been treated after an Israeli soldier shot him in the head with a tear gas canister weeks before. It was a breezy, warm night and as I looked around the outdoor tables heaped with every kind of food imaginable, I saw Palestinians, internationals, and Israelis gathered together, offering a vision of what a world without national, religious, and ideological boundaries would look like.

This is a story that needs to be told, and there are many others like it. Those who want to perpetuate the bloody course we are on, however, are intent in keeping stories like this from view.

Finally, I am fasting in solidarity with those who are laboring to end fundamentalist ideologies of all sorts. Whether Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or nationalistic fundamentalism, world views that are exclusionary, messianic, and triumphal need to be challenged. In fact, in many ways the real war that is being waged in our world today is between those who grasp deeply the universality that lies at the heart of all belief systems and those who cling tenaciously to narrow ideological interpretations that need enemies in order to justify their existence. Hence, I find it so much easier to work with Muslims, Jews, and non-religious humanists struggling against oppression and occupation than many of my fellow Catholics who wrap the cross in the U.S. flag and use the catechism as a club against others.

As a Christian, I experienced the Kindom of God, or, as King called it, the Beloved Community, most vividly in a small Palestinian village where those gathered around the table included tattooed anarchists, old women in veils, a young villager left paralyzed by Israeli bullets, unwashed activists, and a Palestinian professor. We gathered that night under the banner of justice and solidarity and friendship. This is what peace looks like. It’s not about carrying doves and singing a few phrases of "Peace, Salaam, Shalom" with like-minded friends. It’s about crossing boundaries, giving up long-held assumptions, about taking the side of justice even if others don’t understand and revile you for your work. Ultimately, it’s about being willing to bet your entire life on something that these days seems impossible.

A few weeks without food is nothing in light of a world that is hungering for peace, justice, and community. This is my humble way of contributing to that Beloved Community which King envisioned as well as a reminder in these bloody days that, as King said, "the long arc of history DOES bend toward justice."

Please join thousands who are fasting around the globe.

In Solidarity,

Kim Redigan
8460 Riverdale
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127

"Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing, it is the laying down of one's life for one's friends. Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers." Dorothy Day

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