Sept. 5, 2008 Hilo peace Vigil leaflet (BIP)

The Prophetic Challenge:

"Few Are Guilty, but All Are Responsible"

     "One of the common refrains I heard from progressive people in Pakistan and India during my month there this summer was, "We love the American people - it's the policies of your government we don't like." That sentiment is not unusual in the developing world, and such statements can reduce the tension with some Americans when people criticize U.S. policy, which is more common than ever after the illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

     I used to smile and nod when I heard it, but this summer I stopped agreeing... It is long past time that we the people of the United States started holding ourselves responsible for the crimes our government perpetrates around the world.

     This is our prophetic challenge, in the tradition of the best of the prophets of the past, who had the courage to name the injustice in a society and demand a reckoning. In the Christian and Jewish traditions, the Old Testament offers us many models - Amos and Hosea, Jeremiah and Isaiah. The prophets condemned corrupt leaders but also called out all those privileged people in society who had turned from the demands of justice that the faith makes central to human life. In his study of The Prophets, the scholar and activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel concluded: "Above all, the prophets remind us of the moral state of a people: Few are guilty, but all are responsible..."

     This is our fate living in the empire. We must hold ourselves and each other accountable, while knowing that the powerful systems in place are not going to change overnight simply because we have good arguments and are well-intentioned. We must ask ourselves why we don't do more, while recognizing that none of us can ever do enough. We must be harsh on ourselves and each other, while retaining a loving connection to self and others, for without that love there is no hope.

     People often say this kind of individual and collective self-assessment is too hard, too depressing. Perhaps, but it is the path we must walk if we wish to hold onto our humanity... If we wish to find our prophetic voice, we must have the courage to speak about the crimes of our leaders and also look at ourselves honestly in the mirror. That requires not just courage but humility. It is in that balance of a righteous anger and rigorous self-reflection that we find not just the strength to go on fighting but also the reason to go on living."

By Robert Jensen, a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Citizens of Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity. He can be reached at: rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu http://snipurl.com/3dpoq [www_dissidentvoice_org]

STOP THE WAR!

RESIST! ... AND NEVER GIVE UP!

1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination: anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, etc. 5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Ola`a (Kurtistown),

Hawai`i 96760. Phone (808) 966-7622 Email ja@interpac.net http://www.malu-aina.org

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Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (September 5, 2008 - 364th week) - Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

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