”Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,…” (Robert Frost)
Having lived 3 years with the WALL around and winding in and through much of my nearby neighbor of Bethlehem in Palestine’s interior, I learned to fiercely hate this abomination. It repulsed every decent sensibility within me. I saw quickly that the WALL has desecrated the landscape of green terraced olive-grove hillsides. It tore up neighborhoods. Its 3 and 1/2 ft. thickness defied rationality. Its massive height dwarfed humans standing in its shadows. It ripped up good farmland, homes, buildings in its way, and at the same time in a mean-spirited way destroyed 1000 yr. old olive trees, the economy of the people.
It needs to be known that slab by slab of this monstrosity spelled out U.S. tax dollars at work for “security” purposes. All the people of Palestine knew that the real reason for the Wall was to steal more of the Palestinians’ land, decimate their economy, break their spirit. Now instead of easy access to markets, to worship, to land, to education, to health services, it would take more time and expense for the Palestinians to survive.
Examples of the Wall’s senselessness were all around me. I felt helpless for the Anastas family e.g. whose home was surrounded on three sides by giant slabs of concrete, like huge primordial creatures squeezing together and flattening their home to smithereens. It was impossible for this family to see the sunrise. I felt for the hundreds of workers who had to daily make their way through the Wall’s labyrinthine main checkpoint from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. One young man said he had to start at 3:30 am to make it to work at 8:00 am. He felt like he was living in “quicksand.” I felt with the men and women whose eyes were glued on the numerous illegal Israeli colonies passing us by as we traveled together from Hebron to Bethlehem. Their painful stares always gave me shivers. Once their farms had replaced this present landscape. I could hardly stomach the stories like the mother who had to carry her child to the hospital through the wall’s checkpoint because she couldn’t take a vehicle through it. Her 2 yr. old whom she carried had both legs in heavy casts.
Mr. Trump gloats over the prospect of running a Wall along the whole border of Mexico The U.S. Post estimates the cost would double the amount Mr. Trump puts out. Mr. Trump also “surprisingly” fails to mention the people who will be affected by the wall on the Mexican or American side. In light of their rights, it is truly unmitigated nationalism—only the U.S.’s interests—which appear to count in decision makig. AMERICAN jobs, “safety”, all come first. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has this to say: ”When you live here and you know how interconnected we are and you know friends, or have family on both sides of the border, it seems ridiculous at best and, at worst, it (this proposed wall) seems like something that is shameful and embarrassing.”
About 72 percent of people living on the U.S. side of the border and 86 percent of people living on the Mexican side are opposed to building a wall, reports a poll taken by Cronkite News, Univision News, and Dallas Morning News. Another 69 percent of Mexicans and 79 percent of Americans said that they depend on the other country for economic survival. I try to understand Trump’s supporters’ hard views on this topic. However, a blanket support of the WALL feels callous and criminal to me, not thought through in all its implications. Newsweek called the whole idea of the Wall: “Impractical, Impolitic, Impossible.” Clearly, there is more than someone and “something that does not love a wall.”
Congress has the power to block this sale. They have 25 more days to do so by law. Here’s a link from Codepink that will explain the issue and make it easy for you to take action:
Phone calls will draw even more attention to the issue**:
Senator Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315
Senator Rob Portman 202-224-3353
**I have these numbers stored in my cell phone so it’s easier for me to overcome my inertia and make a call!
America Is Complicit in the Carnage in Yemen
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD AUG. 17, 2016
A hospital associated with Doctors Without Borders. A school. A potato chip factory. Under international law, those facilities in Yemen are not legitimate military targets. Yet all were bombed in recent days by warplanes belonging to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, killing more than 40 civilians.
The United States is complicit in this carnage. It has enabled the coalition in many ways, including selling arms to the Saudis to mollify them after the nuclear deal with Iran. Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace.
The airstrikes are further evidence that the Saudis have escalated their bombing campaign against Houthi militias, which control the capital, Sana, since peace talks were suspended on Aug. 6, ending a cease-fire that was declared more than four months ago. They also suggest one of two unpleasant possibilities. One is that the Saudis and their coalition of mostly Sunni Arab partners have yet to learn how to identify permissible military targets. The other is that they simply do not care about killing innocent civilians. The bombing of the hospital, which alone killed 15 people, was the fourth attack on a facility supported by Doctors Without Borders in the past year even though all parties to the conflict were told exactly where the hospitals were located.
In all, the war has killed more than 6,500 people, displaced more than 2.5 million others and pushed one of the world’s poorest countries from deprivation to devastation. A recent United Nations report blamed the coalition for 60 percent of the deaths and injuries to children last year. Human rights groups and the United Nations have suggested that war crimes may have been committed.
Saudi Arabia, which began the air war in March 2015, bears the heaviest responsibility for inflaming the conflict with the Houthis, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran. The Saudis intervened in Yemen with the aim of defeating the Houthis and reinstalling President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whom the rebels ousted from power. They consider Iran their main enemy and feared Tehran was gaining too much influence in the region.
Although many experts believe the threat to be overstated, Mr. Obama agreed to support the Yemen intervention — without formal authorization from Congress — and sell the Saudis even more weapons in part to appease Riyadh’s anger over the Iran nuclear deal. All told, since taking office, Mr. Obama has sold the Saudis $110 billion in arms, including Apache helicopters and missiles.
Mr. Obama has also supplied the coalition such indispensable assistance as intelligence, in-flight refueling of aircraft and help in identifying appropriate targets. Experts say the coalition would be grounded if Washington withheld its support. Instead, the State Department last week approved the potential sale of $1.15 billion more in tanks and other equipment to Saudi Arabia to replace items destroyed in the war. Congress has the power to block this sale; Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, says he is discussing that possibility with other lawmakers. But the chances are slim, in part because of the politics.
Given the civilian casualties, further American support for this war is indefensible. As Mr. Murphy told CNN on Tuesday: “There’s an American imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen.”
Wow! I can hardly believe the crowds of children and adults who come to our peace booths this year. On this day we had 232 children and adults combined. For the 4 days we’ve had 704 visitors so far. All this visiting surely takes a lot of energy! Hail and hardy we must be! And though the tattoos are running out, the headbands and “Pops for Peace” are going strong.
One of the general lovely things I’ve noticed again this year is how encouraging most of the families are toward their children when they linger at our booths. I want to think that
I am so thankful for all the support received.
Much peace to each of you. sr. Paulette
Yvonne is a volunteer at our Pax Christi and Project Peace almost every day this fair week. She shares this story:
Upon inviting a grandmother and her 17 yr. old granddaughter to explore the Peace Booth, I found a captivating story unfold.
Grandmother, “Carolyn Faith,” had been the Host Family to 17 yr. old “Robie’s” father, some 20 years ago from the Netherlands. He was not only incorporated into the “Faith” family for that school but became a son of their heart for life. Soon after, they traveled to the Netherlands to attend his wedding. When Robie was born, Carolyn became their granddaughter. History repeats itself. Robie visited the family with her parents at age 8 and became their exchange student in high school, immersing herself into a new culture and language.
As we three spoke of the importance of pursuing peace through love and respect, honoring the differences in other cultures and religions, tears welled in the eyes of this beautiful grandmother. “I don’t know if you can share your story about you and your Mother’s visit to Africa, without crying, but will you, Robie?”
Robie shared that her Mother and she visited Africa with a group. Upon meeting some poor African children, her mother gave some small toys, paper to construct paper animals and played with the children–she had thought ahead to bring such items.Tearfully, Robie shared she just could not understand how the others in the group didn’t share from their abundance with these poor African children.
Her broken heart has led her to begin studies in Anthropology at the University in the Netherlands upon returning to her homeland in a couple weeks. She has determined in her heart to bridge the gap that divides by respecting the uniqueness of each culture, not impose our way of doing things upon them and then one day returning to Africa and other countries.
This story at the Peace Booth enriched and touched my heart. This faith family brings me hope to fight for the right and for PEACE. Yvonne E.Soldan
Yes! Yes! Lord, yes!’ To your Will and to Your Way, With my whole heart, I will say, “Yes, Lord, Yes!” Joyful Evangelist
Participating in the Poverty March on Monday, July 18th in Cleveland opened my eyes a little farther to people who I now know in a more tangible way. I really need to pry open my heart farther.
I heard an undocumented lady speak of her inner anger over this country’s hardness of heart- after her many years of living as a good citizen.
I found it difficult but necessary to let the African American’s rage and fear deeper into my heart with emotions expressed so deeply in rap and poetry. Their personal stories invite me to continue softening my heart.
My inner journey towards oneness sometimes feels like it’s only beginning!
Be sure to visit the Project Peace booth, “Steps to Peace,” in the Old Merchant’s Building during the Seneca County Fair from July 25-July 30. Help your kids make peace headbands and enjoy temporary peace tattoos. Enter a raffle for an outstanding papier mache sculpture and try your wits on a peace question with the game: “Pops for Peace.” A huge world display will also invite each person to put their footprint across the world with their name on it. This will include a commitment to be part of the nonviolent solution to violence throughout our lands.
How happy I was to copy and paste my first entry of a newsletter into the blog under “newsletters.” Please see what you think of it. Thanks for all the patience shown me over and over and over as I come to know social media better.
Much peace to all.
I am so sad to report that I was unable to recruit for our annual Palestine delegation this year. We shall work for another effort in 2017 spring or early fall. Hopefully Hebron will be in greater peace by that time.
Thank you to all who showed interest and support for this trip. If you have interest for next year’s delegation possibly, would you please call me: 419.447.0435 ext. 136. I am as committed as ever to “lift the voices of the Palestinian people in our American society.”