Monday, July 31, 2006

Where are the peacemakers?

As we continue to watch the destruction of Lebanon by an over-zealous Israeli government, I find myself both shocked and horrified that after three weeks and scores of civilian deaths, we seem to be nowhere closer to peace. Although the pope has called for an immediate ceasefire, one has to wonder what prevents Christian leaders and other religious leaders together from jumping in with both feet and putting a stop to this madness, which most recently resulted in the deaths of scores of civilians, mostly too poor to flee the fighting in Qana. One might wish that Christians and Jews and Muslims around the world would rise up and demand an end not only to this conflict, but to all of them.

If the endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the decades of bloodshed in the "Holy" Land (it can hardly be called that anymore), the devastation of Africa, teach us only one thing, let it be that war just doesn't work. It never has, and it never will. All it does is kill poor people by the millions.

Many will point to the U.S. Civil War and World War II as exceptions because both managed to end an institutionalized atrocity--though they were secondary rather than primary effects of both wars. Remember that the U.S. turned immigrating Jews away during WWII and had "internment" camps of its own for Japanese Americans, and African Americans have yet to achieve the full equality promised them in the 14th Amendment after more than 100 years.

And, to quote my mother and generations of mothers before her, two wrongs don't make a right. The "war on terror" will never be won by using terrorism's tactics--torture, hostage-taking, violence against the innocent, assassinations--which the governments of the U.S. and Israel use with impunity.

"Blessed are the peacemakers," Jesus said. How I wish some of the Christians in the Bush administration would take that one to heart. For my part, I will certainly try harder.