Message of Peace from a Christian Community
By Bruce Friedrich
At the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
community, here in Washington, DC, we have been working with the
poor and outcast, and asking why so many are poor and outcast, for more
than 20 years. Over the past few days, we have mourned with the nation,
mourned both the victims of the September 11th tragedy and the reaction
of our countrys chosen leaders.
Truth is the first casualty of war, but as people of compassion, as
people of faith, as a Judeo-Christian nation, we must resolve to face
the truth. There are some hard realities that we must keep in mind,
and more importantly keep in our hearts.
First and foremost, although a desire for revenge is perfectly human
and understandable, retaliatory action will only add to the level of
misery, suffering, and sadness. The people of Afghanistan are people
with children, mothers, brothers, and friends, beloved by God, just
like we are. Any bombing, anywhere, is a tragedy. Any bloodshed, anywhere,
is a tragedy. No war is holy. All war is evil. If we kill as a response
to this great tragedy, we are no better than the terrorists who launched
this awful offensive. Killing is killing, and killing is wrong.
Second, we are now experiencing what people in many parts of the world
know so well. In places like Iraq, Palestine, the Sudan, Panama, Yugoslavia,
and so many other countries, the people know what its like to
live in terror of bombs falling from the sky; of loved ones lost to
violence. We pray that this great tragedy will help us to feel a deeper
empathy for the masses of people who live in war-torn or famine-stricken
nations, all over the world. They are every bit as beloved by God as
we are. Their sorrow at losing loved ones is every bit as sincere and
awful as ours.
Third, and perhaps most difficult for us to face, the U.S., through
hardcore interventionist policy and oppression, has brought this on
itself. The catalog of U.S. atrocities against other nations and peoples
is long, and the representation in human suffering simply cannot be
put into words. Most recently, in addition to our nations continuing
to allow tens of millions of people to starve to death every single
year, for want of what the UN says would be a $20 billion annual commitment,
we have also overtly killed millions of people across the globe, from
Iraq, to Panama, to East Timor, to the Sudan, to Serbia, and so many
Even Osama bin Laden can be traced to U.S. war-mongering. He is what
the CIA calls a blowbacka former CIA operative who
turns against us. In the 1980s, just as we created and supported
Saddam Hussein, we did the same with Osama bin Laden: supporting, training,
and funding him in his holy war against the Soviet Union. It is worth
recalling that if these attacks were his work, he is now using our
methods against us.
This is a critical point in human history. How we as a nation respond
to this attack may determine the fate of humanity. We are at a turning
point. We can choose, as we have in the past, to answer violence with
violence; or we can chart a new and life-affirming course.
Please God, let us choose life, that others may live.
Bruce Friedrich worked at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker,
in Washington, DC, from 1990 to 1996. He remains a member of their extended
community while working for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The views expressed are his own.