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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.

We who Are Wide Awake are compelled by the "fierce urgency of Now" [Rev MLK, Jr.] to raise awareness and promote the human dialogue about many of the crucial issues of our day: the state of our Union and in protection of democracy, what life is like under military occupation in Palestine, the Christian EXODUS from the Holy Land, and spirituality-from a Theologically Liberated Christian Anarchist POV.

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"We're on a mission from God."
The Blues Brothers

"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all...and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave...a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils."
George Washington's Farewell Address - 1796

"My aim is to agitate & disturb people. I'm not selling bread, I'm selling yeast."
Unamuno


"Imagine All the People Sharing All the World."
John Lennon

"If enough Christians followed the gospel, they could bring any state to its knees." 
Father Philip Francis Berrigan 

"You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down."
Tom Petty

"If I can't dance, it's not my revolution."
Emma Goldman

"We have yet to begin to IMAGINE the power and potential of the Internet."
Charlie Rose, 2005

Only in Solidarity do "We have it in our power to begin the world again"
Tom Paine

"Never doubt that a few, thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." 
Margaret Mead

"You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."
John 8:32

DO SOMETHING!

 
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Declaration of Independence

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 September 2008 arrow September 30, 2008

September 30, 2008
WAWA Blog September 30, 2008: Days of Repentance and Opposition as True Friendship


 

 

"Always be ready to speak your mind and a base man will avoid you. Opposition is True Friendship.-William Blake, Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1796

 

 


Last week on a campus of higher learning, after a passionate exchange of words with a young man about what seems to most everyone to be an intractable conflict in the Holy Land, he hits me with a left to the liver when he says his brother was murdered by a "terrorist" in Israel.


In my heart/mind I imagined a hopeless Palestinian who targeted innocent people as his way out of a deep sense of hopelessness. I understand the young man in front of me does not see it that way and I lamely mutter how sorry I am and add that I denounce all violence no matter who wears the uniform or how noble they believe their cause and the cycle of violence must end and the strong must be led to acquiesce to the weak.

 

Of course I was not nearly as eloquent in that moment. And I had stood my ground for what seemed like twenty minutes going in circles with the young man and his friend who had both been hurling red herrings and straw men, quoting the Hamas Charter and Alan Dershowitz at me. It was nearly 90 in the shade and I was in jeans and dehydrated. He disappeared into the crowd before I repented for allowing my impatience and frustration to erupt.

As a Christian who honors the wisdom of all faith paths I also now offer Repentance for all those who ever claimed to be Christian but missed the mark for a Christian is to at least try to be a peacemaker. A Christian must forgive, love and do good to ALL others and so they must talk to their 'enemies' as well as friends. The problem is not with Jesus or Christianity, the problem is that too few who call him "Lord, Lord" follow him in word and deed and I repent for that too.

 

As Muslims end the fasting days of Ramadan and celebrate Eid, the ten days of Repentance for Jews which begins on the eve of Rosh Hashanah Sept. 29thh and goes to the end of Yom Kippur at nightfall October 9th, which is also the day of John Lennon's birth. May these words that follow help us IMAGINE that while Israel celebrates  60 years, the other side mourns  60 years of Al Nakba/The Catastrophe, an injustice that affects US all.

 

People of conscience as well as cynics all sigh and wonder what will it take to break the cycle of violence in the Holy Land. The violent spin can only be broken when the strong is willing to compromise and that requires compassion which is inspired by education-learning what one has not yet heard.

Nothing prepared me for my first trek upon the ancient streets with no names in occupied territory. I did not know how little I knew until I saw the view from occupied territory. I am the first to admit I am biased, I am on the side of the poor, oppressed, voiceless and innocent ones who are caught in the cross fire of violence. War is the ultimate expression of terror and it is against/anti- what Christ taught!

 

In June 2005 I left my sanctuary on ten acres in paradise to fly to Israel Palestine for the first time with the Interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace . I also went to meet a little boy of west Bethlehem, George of Beit Jala.

His centuries old neighborhood is less than a mile from the Jewish only settlement of Gilo, which is illegal under international law for it exists in the West Bank and not on Israeli land.


A photo of three year old George adorns the banner of my website and he has become my icon for all the innocent ones caught in the crossfire of violence any where.

Three year old George stood in the rubble of what had been his bedroom the night before the Israeli army blew it wide open. The shrapnel read 'Made in USA' and was delivered by American made Apache helicopters.

Israeli forces had retaliated against a few hopeless militants who had infiltrated George's neighborhood to snipe into the illegal settlement of Gilo and had fired from a spot around a curve and up a hill from George's home.

The moment I saw that photo of George-two years before I first met him in June 2005- my heart or what some people may call their conscience said "DO SOMETHING!"

What could I possibly do I wondered, but I did make a copy of the photo, put it in a frame and placed it upon the altar [a bar high table] in the upper room of my home. Dozens of times a day, I still stop and gaze into the eyes of that little boy of Bethlehem and wonder what it will take to end the insane cycle for everyone is hurting and most especially the children. George, his mother and younger sister suffer with PTSS as does most of the population. The father cannot find employment at his trade for the economy has dried up in the little town of Bethlehem.

I vowed to myself and then out loud to George that I would dedicate the rest of my life to doing all I could think of to help bring about the end of the occupation of Palestine and that is the only way Israel will be safe and secure.

Of course I had no clue as to how much of an 'impossible mission' I had accepted. But, every day I persist to look into George of Beit Jala's eyes and I also sigh deeply. And a sigh can be a prayer deeper and more meaningful than words.

"We do not know what we ought to pray but the Spirit intercedes for US, with sighs and groans deeper and more meaningful than any words."-Romans 8:26

 

A few days after meeting George I went to Hebron, the most painful place I have ever been. My guide was Jerry Levin, then a full time volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Teams. In the 1980's he was CNN's Middle East bureau chief in Lebanon. He was captured and held hostage by the Hezbollah for nearly a year, and after he experienced a mystical Christmas Eve, he escaped unharmed for the door of his holding place had been left unlocked.

Jerry told me, "Every time I get ready to return to Palestine, everyone asks me, 'Aren't you afraid?' I reply, of what, the Palestinians? No way! But when it comes to the Israelis soldiers, you bet I am!"


Hebron in 2005 held a few hundred Israeli settlers, three thousand eighteen- to twenty-one-years-old Israeli soldiers and the oppression is visceral. The narrow, winding stone streets of Hebron are centuries old, but in the 21st century; one side is Palestinian and the other Israeli. Their only connection to the other was a thick, deeply sagging netting that is strung above ones head which catches huge rocks, shovels, electronic equipment, furniture, and all manner of debris that have been flung onto it by the settlers.

 

Jerry told me, "The settlers just throw whatever they want onto the netting; they do what ever they want and get away with it. The CPT's run interference by nonviolent resistance; we get the children and woman to where they need to be going and back again. Sometimes, the settlers curse and stone us all; it keeps it interesting."

Upon formerly Palestinian homes, settlers painted graffiti, such as "GAS THE ARABS" and Stars of David.


A few hours after that scene I crossed paths with Vanunu for the first time. A few hours of listening to Vanunu talk about his childhood as an Orthodox Jew and journey into Christianity would inspire any thinking Christian to do something about the Christian Exodus from the Holy Land; which has reduced their numbers from 20% of the total in 1947 to 1.3% and is still shrinking fast due to the effects and injustices of military occupation and The Wall.


Within a month after my first return home from occupied territory I established my website and became a civilian journalist. A Civilian Journalist is more than a blogger, for we leave our comfort zone to go and report for the benefit of we the people. We follow our heart and not assignments from editors. We spend our own dime and nobody pays us. We do it because we love to write and "Writing...is hard because you are giving yourself away, but if you love; you want to give yourself. You write as you are impelled to write, about man and his problems, his relation to God and his fellows…The sustained effort of writing, of putting [words down while] there are human beings [with] sickness, hunger, sorrow…I feel that I have done nothing well, but I did something."-Dorothy Day

 

That need to do something for love-and true Christians understand that God is love and "Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing......Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers." -Dorothy Day

That kind of love is why I wrote two books and have spilled unknown thousands of cyber words all in pursuit of peace which requires justice.

I am fueled by my personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, who for me is a social, justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up against the corrupt Temple authorities and challenged their job security by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God.

 

For God LOVED them just as they were: sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under the Roman Empire and Military Occupation. What got Jesus and any other rebel, dissident, agitator crucified was for disturbing the status quo of the Roman Empire and Occupying Forces.

 

The military occupation of Palestine is the status quo and innocent ones on both sides continue to be terrorized and die in the crossfire of violence.

Now is not the time for giving into fear or casting more blame. What is needed now is for reflection and repentance for what we have done and what we have not done for the poor and oppressed.

 

Now is the time for people of conscience to ask themselves on what do they base their biases on and open up to hearing biases from the other side. That takes common sense and courage.


"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right." -Martin Luther King, Jr.


America's most radical founding father, Tom Paine, united a disparate group of immigrants together and ignited the formation of a nation with a forty-page pamphlet called Common Sense.

"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

 

Common sense understands that only justice; which requires equal human rights for all people is the way to security and peace for all.

 

A true friend will always tell the truth even though it can be brutal.

 

What is needed in times like these is more not less dialogue about the pain of the other, for education is the way to compassion and compassion the way to change.

"We have it in our power to begin the world again" -Tom Paine

All we need is the will and that is always free.


   
 
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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

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

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UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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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.
Think big anyway.

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

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“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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