“Born Again” in Deir Nidham: Against the Illegal Military Occupation, from a Black-American Prophetic Christian Perspective Jadaliyya

May 18, 2017
Posted in Blog
May 18, 2017 Editor

“Born Again” in Deir Nidham: Against the Illegal Military Occupation, from a Black-American Prophetic Christian Perspective Jadaliyya

Please click on audio of post. NOTE: only main text read; no links, text markings, images, videos, footnotes, etc. read aloud.
by Taurean J. Webb  (a FOSNA Board member)

Tactics of Racial Supremacy

photo above: A checkpoint in the Israeli Barrier in the West Bank, near Abu Dis. Photo taken by Justin McIntosh, uploaded via Wikimedia Commons

an excerpt:

There is a voice emerging from the prophetic Black Christian faith tradition, called to speak directly against the evil(s) of this illegal military occupation. The prophetic Black Church—cohorts within the Afro-Christian community that understand themselves as firmly rooted in the tradition of the biblical prophets, speaking truth(s) to systems of power and injustice—stands within an important tension. This tradition understands Jesus’s work as significantly political; not “political” in an electoral sense, but “political” in terms of speaking against settler-colonialism, imperial conquest and the death-conditions of empire. Contrary to what some might assert, this prophetic claim is absolutely not advocating the destruction of a people-group.

Unfortunately, the current socio-political milieu makes it difficult to critique the State of Israel without eliciting counter-criticisms of being anti-Semitic and allegedly “advocating destruction” of the sovereign state. But it is precisely the love for all Divine creation—not the desired destruction of a segment of it—that motivates the prophetic Black faith claim against illegally and militarily occupying, displacing and devastating entire racial-ethnic groups labeled “other” merely because of the State’s core commitment to maintain an ethnically homogenous Jewish politic.

For the prophetic Black faith tradition, this claim is a moral and ethical one. It is also a claim that could potentially allow the Black Church to reclaim a critical part of its sacred history: standing firmly upon its moral imperative. Although not a majority, a critical cohort within the African American Christian tradition (during the US “Civil Rights Era”) stood upon claims grounded in an ethic of justice and a conviction that all persons were created wonderfully by the mechanisms of Divine craftsmanship. These claims ranged between indicting a US nation-state that did not live up to its alleged creed to critiquing an unjust international wartime atmosphere that wrongly assumed the United States to be the moral leader of the democratic free world.

Retuning to this justice ethic is no easy feat, significantly because the mainstream US Afro-Christian tradition has failed to evacuate the hetero-normative paternalism that has gradually progressed (within it) since the earliest days of Black Church inculcation of white supremacist thought. Stated plainly, the Black Church standing upon its history of moral justice and outrage does not mean that it has a monopoly on moral truth(s). It does not mean that the church is necessarily effective in its efforts to advance good, offer correctives or spread kindness. And it certainly does not mean that the Black Church can get “off the hook” for the ways in which it continues to imbibe logics of “racial reconciliation” and “religious tolerance” that veil many longstanding assumptions about its own assumed piety, at the expense of others. Such pitfalls are part and parcel of being saturated within a cultural context that is profoundly colonial and paternalistic. They require the Black Church, indeed the prophetic Black Church, to remain vigilant.

Part of the vigilance should involve calling things by their rightful names. For purposes of political correctness and social acceptability, Black Americans tend not to use language of “colonialism,” “imperialism,” and “white supremacy.” But the State of Israel, much like the US, is facilitating a white supremacist racial caste. There is a deliberate internal ordering and hierarchizing of society, based on who is designated the “most and least valuable”—all en route to perpetually creating and maintaining an ethnically homogenous nation-state.  This does not mean that facilitators of the racial ordering should be destroyed, but that structurally, the politic was established to ensure equality, fairness, love, justice and security only for some and not others.

Finally, the vigilance of this significant work must consist in the prophetic Black church (and the Black Church, generally) more robustly knitting together the diverse fabrics of human experience. The moral voice of the church, if nothing else, ought to remind us all that everyone has been made within the maelstrom of divine energy. This very making binds us together.  So often when this language surfaces, it is undergirded with secretly held contempt, sprinkled with tokenism. But beyond the place where “valuing diversity” is merely the cool new thing to say, perhaps we are within a moment ripe with possibility. Perhaps we can learn how to better sit with others—those with whom we agree and disagree, and those whom we have failed or refused to understand—and journey with them through their stories so that we can resurface differently.  Perhaps idealistic, but there is something hopeful about the gift of speaking one’s truths (no matter how painful, bitter or ugly) and inviting others to share their own. The beauty of it was wrapped up, for me, in our host’s final words. After she gave account of her family’s life under occupation, she concluded, “Our oppressors treat us like we’re their servants. They do. But, nothing lasts forever…”

Please click on: “Born Again”

  1. [1]Please look at several articles as well on American/Western will to world domination by clicking on "Selected Articles: Western Aggression Backed by Western Media”. The series of articles is introduced thus:
    The Western allies never run dry of resources to support their global war of terror and aggression, ostensibly an integral part of their foreign policy. They dynamically legislate laws lest the people awaken. They have the unbending support of the corporate media, which skilfully distorts reality. When will they ever back down from their destructive quest for colonies? Read our selection below.
  2. [2]It continued:
    ‘For seven months, Tiger Force soldiers moved across the Central Highlands, killing scores of unarmed civilians – in some cases torturing and mutilating them - in a spate of violence never revealed to the American public,’ the newspaper said, at other points describing the killing of hundreds of unarmed civilians. ‘Women and children were intentionally blown up in underground bunkers,’ The Blade said. ‘Elderly farmers were shot as they toiled in the fields. Prisoners were tortured and executed - their ears and scalps severed for souvenirs. One soldier kicked out the teeth of executed civilians for their gold fillings.”   The New York Times confirmed the claimed accuracy of the stories by contacting several of those interviewed.  It reported: “But they wanted to make another point: that Tiger Force had not been a ‘rogue’ unit. Its members had done only what they were told, and their superiors knew what they were doing. “Burning huts and villages, shooting civilians and throwing grenades into protective shelters were common tactics for American ground forces throughout Vietnam, they said. That contention is backed up by accounts of journalists, historians and disillusioned troops… ‘Vietnam was an atrocity from the get-go,’ [one veteran] said in a recent telephone interview. ‘It was that kind of war, a frontless war of great frustration. There were hundreds of My Lais. You got your card punched by the numbers of bodies you counted.’ Current likely Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was also quoted giving evidence before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971.  He reported that American soldiers in Vietnam had “raped, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. Nicholas Turse [later author of: Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam], a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, has been studying government archives and said they were filled with accounts of similar atrocities. ''I stumbled across the incidents The Blade reported,'' Mr. Turse said by telephone. ''I read through that case a year, year and a half ago, and it really didn't stand out. There was nothing that made it stand out from anything else. That's the scary thing. It was just one of hundreds.'' Yet there were few prosecutions.
  3. [3]Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:
    Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin's gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] ("The Cold War in Central America", pp. 216 - 221).
    What was true for Latin America was true for around the world: massive human rights abuses, assassinations, regime changes of democratically elected governments, etc., etc., etc. orchestrated by US Empire. Yet Americans invariably have wanted it both ways: to be seen as the exemplary "City on A Hill" that upholds universal human rights and democracy, while operating a brutal Empire directly contrary to all such elevated values, and a concomitant rapacious Empire market economy that takes no prisoners. This began of course even before the founding of the United States of America and continued apace, in its mass slaughter and dispossession of indigenous peoples, in its brutal system of slavery on which its obscene wealth in the textile industry in the first place was built. "The Land of the Free" conceit was a sustained con job on the part of America's leaders. It was also apotheosis of hypocrisy. American exceptionalism was/is true in one respect only: it was brutal like no other Empire in its eventual global reach.
  4. [5]
  5. [4] The highlighted article about renowned whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg points to again what is utterly chilling, horror-filled, exponentially beyond immoral, American (hence the world's) reality: "Daniel Ellsberg: U.S. Military Planned First Strike On Every City In Russia and China … and Gave Many Low-Level Field Commanders the Power to Push the Button". [5]He has since written The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Of it we read:
    Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist for the California Book Award in Nonfiction The San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2017 List In These Times “Best Books of 2017” Huffington Post's Ten Excellent December Books List LitHub's “Five Books Making News This Week” From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America's Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day. Here, for the first time, former high-level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking firsthand account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization--and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration--threatens our very survival. No other insider with high-level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.
  6. [6]A classic instance of this aligning with "just war" is the United States' "war on drugs" as subset of "war on crime", while at the same time the CIA was a major worldwide drug dealer in league with other drug cartels -- all done to enhance American Empire during the Cold War -- and continues to the present. The four-part series mentioned below connects American Empire drug dealing to the current War on Terror, in particular in Afghanistan. This of course is colossal hypocrisy as well. Worse: the series posits American federal government administrations over many decades as the Ultimate Drug Cartel, with Blacks, Latinos, and generally the poor directly being knowingly poisoned en masse. Then they have been primary targets of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and thereby become victims of America's too often savage prison system that oppresses and brutalizes them all over again... See: "The War on Drugs Is a Failure, So [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions Is All for It". A citation from the article reads:
    In June [2017], the History Channel aired a four-part documentary series called America’s War on Drugs.” The series asserts that the war on drugs was actually a war of drugs—and that the CIA was essentially a partner in spreading drugs and drug use. The series follows how the U.S. intelligence agency, in an obsession with fighting communism, allied itself with U.S. organized crime and foreign drug traffickers and includes firsthand accounts from many involved. In an interview with Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar on her radio program “Rising Up With Sonali,” the series’ executive producer, Anthony Lappé, explains why the CIA got involved:
    It’s actually a pretty mind-blowing story when you look at the extent to which the CIA was involved with drug traffickers and drug trafficking throughout the Cold War. … If you look at Cold War policy against the Soviet Union, we were locked in a global battle for supremacy, where we have lots of proxy wars going on. … We needed to team up with local allies, and often the local allies we were teaming up with were people who had access to guns, who had access to underground networks, to help us fight the perceived threat of communism. There are actually a lot of similarities between what drug traffickers do and what the CIA does.
    Lappé elaborates by saying the hypocrisy of the war on drugs has been evident from the start: Secret CIA experiments with LSD helped fuel the counterculture movement, leading to President Richard Nixon’s crackdown and declaration of the war on drugs. The series also explores the CIA’s role in the rise of crack cocaine in poor black communities and a secret island “cocaine base.” In addition the documentary makes the connection between the war on drugs, the war on terror and the transformation of Afghanistan into a narco state and contends that American intervention in Mexico helped give clout to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and the super cartels, making it easier to send drugs across American borders. Watch Kolhatkar’s full interview with Lappé by clicking here. Please also see the now classic: The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by noted American historian Alfred McCoy. Of it we read:
    The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, The Politics of Heroin includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War until today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.
    To be noted as well is Johann Hari's Chasing The Scream, which tells the tragic tale of America's long-standing offensive against drugs, and the way to end such a war worldwide -- that several nations are successfully embracing.
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Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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