Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Absolutely Amusing

The headline story in my newspaper this morning is about a superstar basketball player  moving from one town to another to attract sports fans.  You have to look back four pages to see anything about Israeli rockets killing more than 150 people in Gaza, most of them refugees with no safe place to run in order to protect their families. They have had little to do with the small ineffective rockets fired into Israel by radical militants. Most of them are simply refugees who had everything stolen from them by Israel in 1948 or again in 1967. They live day by day just trying to hold on to life while living under the control and abuse of a mighty army determined to make their lives miserable. And now, yet again, they are being bombed, one explosion every four and a half minutes.

 A doctor, serving with The Palestinian Medical Relief Society in Ramallah, wrote just today,
July 13, 2014:

As you all know by now, almost a week ago, under the false pretense of self-defense, Israel launched yet a new deadly massive attack on Gaza. At the time of my writing this message to you, 151 people have been killed, among which at least 26 children, and another 1,000 at least injured. OCHA estimates that over 75% of victims so far have been civilians. More than 500 homes have been either completely destroyed or severely damaged, putting over 3,200 people – families with young children and elderly – in the streets. 300,000 more are threatened with displacement if Israel moves forward with the announced ground operation. Just yesterday morning, Israeli forces bombed a care facility for people with special needs without any warning while 5 patients and one nurse were inside. The building was destroyed and two of the residents, two handicapped women, were literally blown to pieces.

But, that is not news.  Our news media is far more concerned with who is playing basketball.  No wonder that Americans have been accused of being “sports crazy.” We yearn to be entertained and spend billions of dollars every year on amusements.

I think it is significant that the word “muse” means to think. Thus, “amuse”  means to not think.  How often someone has said to me,  “I know things are bad over there, but I don’t want to think about that right now.”  In the meantime, the middle east is exploding and much of the pain is supported by our government.  Will we as Americans ever shoulder our responsibility for what is happening in Gaza? One answer is “no”, not as long as we can find ways to keep from thinking about it.

What is not amusing is the poor refugee family standing by helplessly as bulldozers demolish their home and a wall separating them from their work and medical care or Jewish only roads preventing them from traveling from one little community to the next. Even while sick or wounded, they negotiate 600 road blocks and check points where 18 year olds with machine guns humiliate them. It is not amusing when forty year old olive trees are cut down in less than a minute, or when their water is piped away for Jewish use only in settlements built all around them by armed extremist who harass them because “God gave their land to the Jews and the Jewish God wants only Jews to live on it.

How can the mainline churches of America be so silent?  Do we also go to church to be entertained? Nothing in Christian or Jewish theology can justify the theft of a neighbor’s land and the killing of another people. NOTHING.

However, go to church, read the paper, listen to the news or just the conversation in most homes and restaurants, and what gets our attention is a basketball player moving from one city to another.

It’s absolutely “amusing.”

                                                                                                            Thomas Are
                                                                                                            July 14, 2014 

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