Thursday, January 20, 2005

in God's country...

2005 is up and running... i just spent 2 weeks back in London, with a fine 3 days up in God's country, Dublin, Ireland, to be exact... had my first glass of Guinness in an Irish pub, surrounded by the friendliest people I've met for a long time... was hoping to bump into Bono and philosophize over a pint or two, but no such luck... i did get to see the Clarence hotel owned by the U2 bhoys. (let's hope they put the profits to good use, eh?!! :)

the day before i flew into Dublin, i was surfing the net randomly... came across this link: I decided to contact Damien Moran, one of the Irish Catholic Worker, an organization founded by Dorothy Day in New York City, famed for her houses of hospitality for the homeless and destitute. We decided to hook up...and lo and behold, I met him at 4.30pm in front of the Irish Aviation Authority(IAA), holding a peace vigil with his 2 colleagues. They are protesting against the fact that the IAA allows the U.S. Army to refuel and transport military personnel through Shannon Airport. According to their site 'The I.A.A. have permitted 360,000 U.S. troops to pass through Shannon Airport in the past 3 years. An average of 10,000 U.S. soldiers along with various munitions of war passing through Shannon each month, en route to the invasion, occupation & plunder of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. '

The last 15 minutes of the vigil was a time where we read out the names of those whose lives had been destroyed by the war in Iraq. We took turns reading 20 names plus each, remembering them and their families before the Lord in prayer... I read the names of Iraqi people who perished in the war, people with names, age, and homes.... mothers, infants as young as a year and a half, fathers, brothers... A sense of how the war has dehumanized and depersonalized human existence and livelihood. Today the Iraq War is just an abstract notion, propagandized by our media... we hardly blink our eyes or put a human face to our suffering brothers and sisters in Iraq... and this includes our American brothers as well... The war on terrorism and ideological battles for freedom and democracy aside, why can't we see that no human life is expendable or 'sacrificeable': war is our modern-day practice of human sacrifice at the altars of Domination, Power, Mammon and Race.

These Irish friends that I made, Damien and Ciaran (a fantastic Aussie of Irish descent, banned from the USA for sabotaging/disarming a B-52 bomber during the first Gulf War) are a part of the ploughshares movement, inspired by the following text in Isaiah 2:4,5 :
4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore. 5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the Lord.
Together with 3 other people, they are facing trial on March 7th for damaging a US warplane in Shannon Airport. As a middle-class, 'well-brought up' Christian Malaysian, my initial thoughts while conversing with them was ' Man...How can one be so irresponsible and disobey the laws of our country, face the possibility of having a criminal record, not to mention the time spent behind bars?!...' Then again, I am reminded of our O.T. prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos etc. who really did some far-out things, often imprisoned for their protestations against the injustice and militarism (ie trust in military power) of their times. What more if one is to speak of the crucified Nazarene in first century Palestine. My Irish friends are far more 'prophetic' than the whole lot of us, so-called 'responsible Christians'.

In prayer and solidarity with them as they face the Powers on March 7th 2005...


At 11:32 PM, Blogger Dave said...

3 things a responsible Christian can do with a govt:

1) When govt is righteous, Romans 15 - obey
2) When govt is not-s0-righteous, civil disobedience ie
get imprisoned
2) When govt is crazy, work for its overthrow

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wat do u think of the lives 'expended' in the war against Sauron?

At 11:44 PM, Blogger aPoReTiC said...

One might say that LOTR is founded on an age-old foundational metanarrative: THE MYTH OF REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE ie to bring about a good state of affairs necessitates the use of whatever means necessary, including violent ones... My only concern is how this squares with the non-violent means of revolution adopted by that carpenter in 1st century palestine....
Difficult question...but it could be we are always stuck with the stereotypical options ie VIOLENCE or BE A PASSIVE DOORMAT... Could there be third, fourth, fifth ways?


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