Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Justice in Gaza

Jerry and his girl hadn't found any time together for three weeks; his parents were up from Florida, staying with him, so he and his squeeze were missing, badly, the squeezing. They went to a movie where they couldn't help themselves and fell into a two-hour long fit of heavy breathing. Sadly, who was behind them in the theater but Newman, who gloried in the indelicacy of their thoughtless passions.

And used it to full advantage, letting slip to Jerry's parents--and the girl's parents--that the two of them were making love-starved adolescents out of themselves during the movie.

Newman wreaked havoc in Jerry's life, not simply because Jerry and his girl were making public whoopee, but because the film everyone was watching was Schindler's List. "How could you?" his parents asked, stupified, when they confronted their hormone-rich son. If Seinfeld and friends were Christian, not Jewish, he and his girl would have had to made out in a Christmas creche to trigger that level of horror.

All Seinfeld shows are hilarious, but I laughed last night as the fat guy Newman got in a good shot at his nemesis Jerry. It worked. His girlfriend's old man told him he was totally unwelcome at their house and he couldn't date his daughter. End of affair. Making out at Schindler's List?--what an outrage. What an abomination. In Dutch, we'd call it spotten.

But I thought of what's happening in Gaza when I saw the shame of Jerry's parents, because somehow there is a link. In 1995, I taught a class in the literature of the holocaust. Of my books, the holocaust memoir Things We Couldn't Say has sold the most. I think Schindler's List is one of the finest movies ever made. I know Israel is a democracy, and Hamas is dangerous, evil. I can't imagine living in a neighborhood where just across the border some fanatics are lobbing missles at you, one after another, despite treaties and peace accords. I'm not anti-Israel.

All that having been said, the death toll in Gaza will go over 1000 today, more than half of the dead are women and children.

One part of the equation--or so it seems to me--is the Holocaust, a story that haunts the soul. Does Israel, vastly superior in arms supplied by the U.S. of A, have the right to kill so many innocent people in their own quest for peace? Can anything ever be solved by more violence? Are they, in any way, shape, or form, forging a relationship that will yield peace?

One part of the answer goes like this: don't forget the Holocaust. Never again with the Jewish people get slaughtered without a fight. Never again. Never again. Never again.

And thus, today, Palestinians mourn hundreds who were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Is that justice or simply more mass murder?

Sometimes history is a blindfold--or worse, a weapon. At least it is in me. When I hear those numbers--a thousand dead--I flash to Dr. Mengele, standing on the wooden platform at Auschwitz, signaling right and left, making judgments about life and death. Step to the right to the shower, please.

But how long can that horror's price be paid in blood guilt? When does that awful, awful wound begin to heal? Ever?

Lord Jesus, come quickly.


pam at beyondjustmom said...

I've really enjoyed reading your poetic entries. Yes, prayers for Gaza and the peace that surpasses all understanding for Israelis and Palestinians. I've tried so hard to explain the situation to my teen children, and it's so darn complicated. I certainly don't see how the massive Israeli response can help peace, but I can sort of relate to the human need to respond. We need something beyond human in this situation.

Aundria B. said...

This Israel/Palestinian situation is very complicated and there are no easy answers. Some of us here in the West have such a limited understanding of these cultures and are puzzled when countries like Israel & Palestine don't do things like we do here in America, where we arrogantly believe that democracy & diplomacy should reign the world over.

I always hate to see the loss of life to war & violent acts, regardless of belief or culture or country. People need to understand the history behind this conflict and these cultures before speaking such ill-informed and over-generalized statements like I've heard on the mainstream media during this most recent conflict.

Lord, have mercy on us all...

Carey said...

Yes, Lord, do come quickly...

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

In a world that waits for the day of the Lord and a creation that groans for it, the question has never been "What would Jesus Do?" as if he's dead or at the very least, not here. "What is he doing?" should be the question and then from there cease striving and know that He is God. There's nothing stoic about faith, I'm just sayin...

Billy Coffey said...

Such a bad situation. Every President since I've been born has made peace in the Middle East a priority, and to no avail. I suppose no one should be surprised.

The Israelites and Palestinians have been waging war for thousands of years based not only on political or ideological reasons, but religious ones. Both feel that small sliver of Earth is theirs, endowed to them by God. Which makes peace very, very difficult.

Anonymous said...

The difficult question I have, is what alternative did Israel have? After 6,000+ rockets fired against them since the last cease fire, what else are they to do? I think there were right to attack Hamas and eliminate the terrorists, which claim to protect Gaza, but in actuality, are the primary cause for the civilian casualties because of their human shielding. Israel informed Hamas of thier targets. Hamas responded by placing civilians in harms way to elicit sympathy. I think Israel would be best to eliminate Hamas entirely, then demonstrate untold love on Gaza by pooring in aid, development, and structure like Gaza has never seen or would believe. I think Christ would ask us to speak truth and practice grace, act decisively, and show unconditional love.

mrupe said...

I agree that we all agonize over the killings. I believe however that it's easy to see Isreal as the aggressor and Hamas as the victim, but Hamas hides weapons in civilian areas and promotes acts of violence against Isreal in the innocents of children. These acts are deliberate and Hamas does have other choices, but chooses not to. In many respects like what is happening in our war with Iraq..hiding terrorists and arms in civilian locations and then crying foul when women, children, and others are killed, could they choose a different location away from civilians, of course they could but what kind of press or sympathy would that gain.

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