Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Disease Is Us

(Israeli soldier by the Wailing Wall)

Israel and Hamas are carriers of the disease. They are sick people. Violent people. "Never again," cry the Israelis as they slaughter women and children. "Destroy the infidels" cry the Palestinians as they launch missles into villages and terrorize and kill women and children.

Is the story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish the saddest story of the latest war? Read here and watch the video to have your heart broken... again.

The sickness is in us. The problem is... us. It's the "seeds of destruction" Thomas Merton wrote about, the "violence within" Paul Tournier wrote about. It's Elie Wiesel's "Night" and Haing Ngor's "killing fields." It's Macbeth meets Herod the Great meets Saddam Hussein meets Jim Jones meets Constantine meets Pol Pot, all of whom meet at the Hotel Rwanda where they go after money, sex, and power. It's in you and in me. Anyway you look at it. On Christianity it's the kingdom of darkness, on atheism it's genetic, on Buddhism it's human desire.

It's the sin-disease Jesus addressed.

We'd all be dead if we didn't defend ourselves and kill our enemies. So we send our sons and daughters to fight and kill and be killed so we're not all killed and can peacefully read about life in the Gaza strip on our laptops.

We're "free."

I used my freedom this past year to read This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. It was a tough read. I kept projecting my sons into the bloodshed, empathizing from my side of the temporal gap between then and now. What's scary is that this book is normative, universal.

"Blessed are the peacemakers," said Jesus. Many are the peace-lovers who make war to wage peace.