Thoughts on the Lebanon Crisis


(system) #1

By James Standish

My daughter Shea put her leg up in the air on Sunday and said "I'm selling my leg." I looked at her, and asked "how much?" She giggled and said "two cents." "Only two cents? Shea, do you know what your leg is worth?" She looked at me as seriously as a two year old can as I said "Sweetie, I wouldn't take all the money in the world for your precious leg!" As we banter back and forth, an image from a news story comes to mind.

The story described the scene in a Lebanese emergency room where a mother held her baby's hand up for treatment. The baby's hand had four little bloody stumps where her precious little fingers had been shorn off by a piece of Israeli shrapnel. Does that Mother feel the same way about her daughter as I feel about mine, I ask. And if so, why am I sitting in silence?

Those shooting rockets indiscriminately into Israel are involved in unmitigated evil. But they are stateless terrorists supported by pariah nations. They make no claim to respect human rights. They do not claim to be democracies. And they do not receive large amounts of arms and funding directly from the United States. Israel is a democracy, Israel claims to respect human rights, and Israel's ability to survive and wage this war is dependent on the funding, the armaments and the unquestioning diplomatic support of the United States. With that unquestioning support, Israel is inflicting horrendous destruction on Lebanon and the Lebanese people – 40% of whom are Christians.

Some may argue that the Lebanese deserve to have apartment blocks turned to rubble with men, women and children trapped inside and no chance of rescue because Israeli jets supplied by the United States bomb anything moving along the roads; that they deserve to have humanitarian supplies blocked; that they deserve to have their hospitals bombed, their villages destroyed, their infrastructure obliterated, their airport destroyed and their ports blockaded. The population deserves this, some argue, because the Lebanese government could not control Hezbollah. This claim completely ignores the weakness of the Lebanese government and the fragility of the society. Have we already forgotten that the nation was in a state of civil war, and then was dominated by Syria until recently? That Lebanon has a democratically elected government free from Syrian control was considered a miracle – until this assault. Do the Lebanese boys and girls, men and women, deserve to have their homes, their villages and their nation destroyed? What moral decadence would presume to even ask the question?

We are Christians who reject the evils of war. And yet, as our tax money is used to inflict this intolerable suffering on the Lebanese we are largely silent. This will be counted against us. It is our nation that is funding this war – to the tune of $500 for each Israeli per year. It is our nation that is supplying the weaponry – as I write U.S. jets are delivering munitions to Israel to re-supply their bombers. It is our nation that is the one and only country rejecting calls for a humanitarian cease-fire. How can we remain silent and call ourselves moral? If Ellen White spoke against the Civil War – a war to "make man free" – how can we remain silent in this war that is nothing more than a tit for tat escalation for six decades of brutality?

Mahatma Gandhi said it well when he stated that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." The problem in the Middle-East is not that the two sides are so different – rather it is that the results of their actions are so much the same. The extremist Muslims believe that if you harm a Muslim, they must inflict punitive revenge in any way they can – on children, on the elderly, on civilians – it matters not. The Israelis, with our support, are proving just as capable of punitive destructions wrought on innocent civilians in their villages, in their apartment buildings, in their cars as they attempt to flee the fighting. Indeed Israel has destroyed a budding democracy which had the strongest economic ties to her in the region, and it has done this in a matter of weeks. And so they go, round after round after round of brutal reprisals - evil repaid with unspeakable evil – one precious eye for another.

And it is this evil that leaves a precious little baby girl in an emergency room without electricity, with her hand held aloft by her mother with four little bloody holes where four precious little fingers had been only moments before. And here I am, with my little girl, knowing that my tax dollars went to pay for the bombs that blew the fingers off that little girl and my silence is facilitating the next round of barbarism.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4517