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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

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We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. -July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence

 

Home arrow Blog arrow May 2009 arrow May 1, 2009

May 1, 2009
May 1, 2009: What MLK might say regarding the 61st Anniversaries of Israel and Nakba

 

In his regards to Israel on it 61st year of existence, President Obama reiterated, "The United States was the first country to recognize Israel in 1948, minutes after its declaration of independence [and] looks forward to working with Israel to advance our common interests, including the realization of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East."

The 1948 Declaration of the Establishment of Israel affirms that, "The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations."

"Words must mean something. Human destiny will be what we make of it."-President Obama, April 5, 2009.

On April 26, 2009, the Israeli police raided the homes of several New Profile activists in different parts of Israel and confiscated their computers. Five were hauled in for interrogation then released on bail under the undemocratic condition to not contact other members of the nonviolent movement for thirty days. 

New Profile is an Israeli feminist organization that has been working to demilitarize the society and state for over a decade by creating safe spaces for Israeli youth with conscience to explore their feelings regarding military service and providing them information regarding their legal rights as candidates for mandatory conscription and their right to a conscience that refuses to enable the 41 years of military occupation of the indigenous people of the so called holy land.

What the world needs are more of such voices and others to be heard regarding the 61 years of the ongoing Nakba [Read more... ] and the draconian restrictions against Mordechai Vanunu, that continue to forbid him the right to speak to non-Israelis ever since his release from 18 years in Israeli jail [on April 21, 2004] for telling the world that Israel had manufactured upwards of 200 nuclear warheads by 1985. [Read more...]

I wonder about many things and because last weekend I was on a spiritual retreat focused on nonviolent activists for justice such as Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. I was inspired to read "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" a scalding critique of American Christianity that King addressed to his "Dear Fellow Clergymen".

I have taken a few liberties with King's masterpiece by adding a few words in bold-and I address everyone in the world and in particular my sisters and brothers in Christ.

I am on the internet because injustice can be expressed here. I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in comfort and not be concerned about what happens in Israel Palestine.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives in the world can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; examining one's motives and acting on conscience with direct action.

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.

Too long has The Peace Process been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. We must come to see that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

There are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

Segregation [Translates to Apartheid in Afrikaner] distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things.

Hence segregation; apartheid, conscription and military occupation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound; it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?

An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and it was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever and if repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. [End of Letter from Birmingham Jail]

Our times call for extreme expressions of creative NONVIOLENCE and thus, on June 1, 2009 another courageous act of solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza sets sail once more to break another crack into Israel’s blockade of the 1.5 million civilians; 80% unemployed and 60% under the age of 16 years old.

In August 2008, the FREE GAZA Movement docked their first –and the very first boat in the Gaza port in 41 years. The persistence of internationals, Israelis and Palestinians has launched a humble flotilla of wooden boats and small yachts that sail in international waters into Gaza loaded with humanitarian aid, building supplies, generators, electronic equipment for hospitals and most of all people of hope that prove the world will never forget or remain silent to the misery and distress in Gaza.

Many call the volunteers extremists, and rightly so, for all have risked their lives and some even twice, such as Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia Congresswoman who was on the Free Gaza boat the Dignity when it was rammed three times by the Israeli navy on December 30, 2008 and is returning for more.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, King reminded his fellow clergymen that Jesus was an extremist for love who taught his follower's to "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

King recalled to his fellow clerics that the Hebrew prophet Amos was an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream."

King behooves us all to recall the extreme vision of Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine:

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal"

"Soon after I had published the pamphlet "Common Sense" [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion... The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."-Tom Paine

The world is pulled to change by extremism and our only dilemma is what will we be extremists for? Hate or love? God or State? The preservation of injustice or the extension of justice; equal human rights?

The clinging to the status quo is a form of extremism when all around are the deep groans that rise up from the oppressed, as King addressed from his jail cell:

Few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. Too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."'

Small in number, they were big in commitment and by their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twenty-first century.

King wondered if organized religion was too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world. He knew that "Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death."

We who claim to be Christian are called to love our enemies and that the daughters and sons of God are the peacemakers. The last words Jesus spoke to his follower's before his martyrdom was to "put down the sword" and his first words after his resurrection [Read more... ] was "peace be with you." 

During one of my six trips to occupied Palestine since 2005, Mohammad Alatar, film producer of “The Ironwall” addressed my group on an Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions tour through Jerusalem and to the village of Anata and the Shufat refugee camp, in the very area where the prophet Jeremiah in the 6th century B.C. critiqued the violent conflicts in the Mid East, which were already old news: “I hear violence and destruction in the city, sickness and wounds are all I see.” [Jeremiah 6:7] 

 

 

After we broke bread and ate a typical Palestinian feast prepared by the Arabiya family in the Arabyia Peace Center, Mohammad Alatar said, “I am a Muslim Palestinian American and when my son asked me who my hero was I took three days to think about it. I told him my hero is Jesus, because he took a stand and he died for it. What really needs to be done is for the churches to be like Jesus; to challenge the Israeli occupation and address the apartheid practices as moral issues. Even if every church divested and boycotted Israel it would not harm Israel. After the USA and Russia, Israel is the third largest arms exporter in the world. It is a moral issue that the churches must address.”

 

While he lived the FBI placed wiretaps on Reverend King's home and office phones and bugged his hotel rooms throughout the country.  By 1967, King had become the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of U.S. foreign policy which he deemed militaristic. In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 [a year to the day before he was murdered] King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

In 1986 the federal government 'honored' King with a national holiday.

   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

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BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
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People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

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“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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