Thoughts on the Lebanon Crisis

Thoughts on the Lebanon Crisis

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Published:
August 7, 2006

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.

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