I wrote this on 15 April after waking up to news that the US, UK and France had bombed Syria, an action unjustified, likely illegal, of dubious purpose, of highly questionable morality and most assuredly something that they would never accept against their own communities under any circumstance.
Yes, our world suffers violence in many, many other places and ways. But there is something especially sadistic about violence undertaken in the name of altruistic peacemaking, inflicted on those who have no power to resist, where the victims are assuredly the powerless, where the powerful in the West are almost certainly playing callous political games in a proxy war almost certainly rooted in the love of money and power.
And made all the more agonisingly hollow for me as I celebrated communion, knowing that the seal of the Christian God had been added to certify the righteousness of the wanton violence.
So I lamented.
Jesus body broken for us. In what way?
In what way for the dead and the maimed in Syria right now?
Having grown up and started to look the devil in the face, I can no longer
look away. The accuser that spews forth lies, that peace can somehow
be fashioned by unleashing the dogs of war. That the blessing called out by Jesus
onto peacemakers, somehow will rest upon the purveyors of death
and destruction, those who feast at the smorgasbord of bright
and shiny technological toys designed with the singular purpose of reigning
down death from the comfort of a lounge chair thousands of miles away.
As Peter said to those in Jerusalem, “this Jesus, whom you crucified.”
We talk of “precision strikes”, but make no mistake, the weapons unleashed
by the United States, United Kingdom and France will have killed and maimed,
there will be fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, who did not come home
yesterday, whose family’s will right now be caught up in the agony of mourning
and lament, whose family’s will right now be feeling as if their very hearts
have been torn from their chests. Perhaps they have broken and maimed bodies
that they can lay to rest, staring the violence of war in the face, or perhaps
they will have to live with the agony of not knowing for sure. Sons and daughters
who never again get to feel the reassuring touch of a father, the kind words
of a mother, the solidarity of a sister. Just the searing memory
that some people from the West reigned down death
in the name of peace.
Should we not look the mirror full in the face. When it is our own children
lying dead at the hand of others, we lament publicly for many days, calling
them by their names and telling their stories of potential snuffed
out by the cruelty of others. Yet, when we are killing Syrians, we publish
pictures of fighter jets and missiles, shiny technology that represents
our excellence and grandiose capability but divorces us
from the destruction, torture and fear in our hearts
that our machines magnify onto the lives of our
Father, forgive us.