June 11, 2009

Looking Around the World

I have a new t-shirt. It has an image on it of one wing--just one. Half of a dove.

Across the world, there is a youth wearing a t-shirt with the other half of the image. If we were together and stood side-by-side, you'd see the whole dove.

Often, I feel isolated in the sense that what I do has very little affect on people I never see, and vice versa. Then I am reminded that this is not the case.

Last week at church, Nancy Fowler, who was an interim before I arrived, shared a presentation on Palestine. I'd heard the story before, when I was a student at Chapman University and took a class on "Peace and Conflict in the Middle East;" and also, when I heard Elias Chacour, a Palestinian priest, speak at the Earl Lectures in Berkeley some eight or nine years ago.

But that was, well, eight or nine years ago. It's easy to forget.

Whether I forget or remember, money from my taxes is flowing into the middle east in general, and to Israel in particular. Israel has tons of support, money, and power. And Israel is using it.

Map of Palestine; Click for larger view.Nancy Fowler showed a map of Israel and Palestine at several points in history. The map was startling, as it showed how much territory Israel has taken over in the past 60 years. The Palestinians are forced to live in crowded villages, some of which are surrounded by walls and fences and feel very much like prisons. (One of the books Nancy had showed a similar map of the United States, with the decreasing amount of Native American land.)

What is often heard in the news about Palestine is so often only one side of the story.

I'm not sure how to talk about this in a way that is eloquent, and I don't know what the answers are. I know that many will disagree with the implications of what I've written, and all I can say is, look at the map. The map does not lie. Unless things change, the Palestinians will soon be eradicated.

The person who wears the t-shirt with the other half of my t-shirt's image is not in Palestine. That person is in the Congo, and was once a child soldier. When I bought it, I was told:

There is a saying in eastern Congo: 'qui veut la paix prepare la guerre' (whowants peace prepares for war). This mantra represents the thinking that has fueled the violence that has enslaved children to fight in a war they should never be fighting in. Our Congolese friend Francois proclaims instead: 'qui veutla mort prepare la guerre mais qui veut la paix offre le pardon' (who wants death prepares for war, but who wants peace offers forgiveness).
There are child soldiers in the Congo. There are oppressed children in Palestine. I don't know much about either. I need to know more.

Learn more about my t-shirt and child soldiers.

Learn more about Palestine

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Danny - what a great idea. I did a little more research and then ordered my own tee. Thanks, Nancy