Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In Gaza

Something broke long ago
tender neck, brittle bones,
olive branch in the desert.

And how do we make
repairs to the dead?
Straighten the spine,

push rebar through marrow,
sew ring-ed time and bark?
Do we let the wounds lie, hoping

they will close with the hours?
Only the living form scars
and even those burst

-Kohleun Seo (Dec. 30, 2008)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gaza is in pain

It's the Sunday after Christmas. Carols are still reverberating through our churches and our homes. The Christmas story is fresh in our minds, and we've all been told that the angels sang news of great joy: peace on earth and good will towards men. But in Gaza, as they suffer air-raid after air-raid, I'm sure the message rings a little hollow.

Jewish Peace News writes, "Reports indicate that Israeli air strikes today alone [Dec. 27] have killed 205 People in Gaza and have left over 400 more hurt. These strikes come after several weeks of a tight blockade which left many of Gaza's 1.5-million inhabitants without sufficient food, water, fuel or medicine." They urge Americans to take action and write to their congressmen, their senators, and President-Elect Obama.

Kohleun Seo reflects on watching the news from her home in Arizona:
In the words of Naomi Shihab Nye, "This is not a game. This was never a game."

What can I say as an outsider, watching from afar, caught in a different time zone, peering through news reports? Does anyone hear the bombs, the screams? According to BBC News, today was the most violence-filled day in the history of the Gaza Strip. You would think that would be hard to accomplish. I really don't know what to say right now as I take it all in, sitting on my sofa late at night. Inside I want to scream with each Palestinian woman, man, and child.

Will this day, this year be remembered as another 1948, another 1967? Will next year be different?
And Tabula Gaza has no words.

Brothers and sisters, it's Christmas. A new year is about to start. It isn't enough to want change, or vote for change, we need to be change. Please join me in praying for the fathers and mothers and daughters and sons and husbands and wives and grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, cousins, teachers, mentors, great-grandparents . . . in short, the flesh and blood human beings who are losing their lives and their loved ones right now, today. Don't close your eyes. Don't go back to your carol singing as though no babies are crying behind a wall in Bethlehem or under fire in Gaza. Pray on your knees for justice. For peace. And yes, do write that letter to your congressman.