PEACE PROBE by Gene Stoltzfus

Shine the Light: Dept. of Veterans Affairs by peaceprobe
January 27, 2006, 10:29 am
Filed under: Militarism, Shine the Light: Wash. DC

War Veterans Will Tell Their Story in Two years or Less

Yesterday our Shine The Light Witness walked silently in front of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs two blocks from the White House.  Our experience in Iraq warns us that many soldiers will return broken by combat experience and battle field fatigue.  Our witness at Veteran’s affairs was designed to encourage this administration to expect the unexpected wounds among returning warriors.  It was  a prayer for this nation and its churches to prepare to be instruments of healing for all the broken souls of warriors.  

One additional matter is on our mind, depleted uranium (DU) poisoning.  DU is used in the manufacture of shells designed to penetrate particularly hard surfaces like tanks which were in plentiful supply in pre war Iraq.  Cancer among Iraqis has reportedly been tracked by Iraqi medical practitioners.  However Department of Defense people have not yet acknowledged any connection between GI symptoms (and Iraqi symptoms) and this modern weapon that includes recycled uranium.  The Department of Veteran’s Affairs will be the first line of help for GI victims. 

As we passed the bank of newspaper vending machines the victory of Hamas shouted at us in every headline.  

Bush Says Elections Still Key in Mideast, Despite Hamas Win

– Invertors Business Daily

New Era in Middle East. Uncertainty, anxiety follow landslide victory by Hamas

– Baltimore Sun

Terrorist Group: Surprising Palestinian Election Victory

– Washington Times

Shock Poll Victory for Hamas

– Financial Times

Terror’s Triumph

-New York Daily News

Hamas Routs ruling Faction Casting Pall on Peace Process

-New York Times

Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Election Complicating Peace Effort in Middle East

-Washington Post

Many in our group have worked in Palestine with the Hebron CPT Team where we had experienced friendship and cooperation in many homes that support Hamas.  We were not surprised by the victory but we wondered why this nation’s news papers who had reporters in the Middle East, reflected shock or awe at a Hamas victory.  For decades Hamas workers have provided emergency support for families in need, financial support for families whose children or household provider has been detained for extended periods in Israeli prisons.  

Internationally Hamas is considered the source of terror among Israelis.  Its appeal among Palestinians is based on militancy of response to what its followers would describe as terror visited on families by Israel with American support dating back to the founding of the state of Israel.  The Jewish search for the safety of a homeland is connected to the terror Jewish communities experienced for centuries that culminated in the holocaust.   

Martyrdom in the service of terror has been part of the history of Jews, Christians and Muslims as their respective movements have fought for freedom and survival and safe space in their religious and national battles.  In the quest for control of holy sites and political power each has woven a thread of holy war, confident that violence will redeem their nation here on earth according to the myth of nationhood or empire of  their respective tradition.   Nonviolence strives to define itself in the history of these faiths as well.  In the struggle for nonviolent culture martyrdom is never put forward in the service of terror but does appear as an instrument to uncover the nature of power when it relies upon unfair means and even terror to get things done.  

As our group of vigilers passed along the Veteran’s Affairs Department we prayed that the paradigm of confidence that peace and prosperity would be achieved through the terrorism and war could reach a point of serious critical reflection in our generation.  Could we dream of a day when there would no longer be a need for or demand for the services of this Department of Veteran’s Affairs.  The content of light includes this for all of us, victims, service providers, and persons striving to enlarge the reach of light in the service of truth.


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