Peace and Hope

    Today (Christmas eve, or really yesterday as it is shortly after midnight now when I’m typing this) was joyful. Good times with my family here in Newcastle. My niece is of course the world’s most beautiful baby, and my youngest little brothers (twins, aged 3) were at times a lot of fun and other times holy terrors. All in all it was a good day.

    On that note, I wanted to share some links I found tonight on the subject of peace in this world. My hope and prayer is the same as that of Pope John Paul’s address today, that everyone in everyplace of the world would be able to experience peace and freedom.

  • MSNBC: China releases leading dissident — Pro-democracy activist Xu Wenli arrives in U.S. — This is truly thrilling news! I am proud for once that the US has taken a leading role in getting him released. I do hope though that the US will take a more active role in seeking freedom for the oppressed people of China and Tibet.
  • MSNBC: Pope’s message one of peace, hope — Jesus ‘born for a humanity searching for freedom and peace’
      . . . In a packed Peter’s Basilica decorated with red poinsettias, John Paul presided over the midnight gathering, ushering in the joyous Christian holiday amid mounting tensions between Washington and Baghdad.

      The pope spoke of peace during his homily, recalling the image of the baby Jesus in the manger, saying he was “born for a humanity searching for freedom and peace.”

      “It is a sign of hope for the whole human family; a sign of peace for those suffering from conflicts of every kind; a sign of freedom for the poor and oppressed; a sign of mercy for those caught up in the vicious circle of sin; a sign of love and consolation for those who feel lonely and abandoned,” the pope said. . .

  • MSNBC: Subdued celebration in Bethlehem
  • This last item was received via email in the latest bulletin from SOA Watch (an organization committed to the closing of the US training school of Latin American terrorists such as those behind the recent attempted but failed coup of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela)
      Subject: Reflections on Trip to Iraq by SOA Watch Founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois

      As my country prepares for war with Iraq, I felt compelled to go to Iraq and meet the people we are preparing to kill. The challenge now, as I experienced in returning from Latin America, is to convey to others what our delegation saw, heard and learned.

      What stands out is the warmth and goodness of the Iraqi people we met with in homes, in hospitals, on the streets, at the university — and wherever we went. And it saddened and angered me to see the poverty, suffering and death caused to such good people by the many years of sanctions.

      Wherever we went, we were asked a basic question. Why does President Bush want to go to war with Iraq? Most people in Iraq believe a big reason, among others, is the vast oil reserves in Iraq that are needed in the U.S. to keep our way of life going.

      While the culture, religion and history of Iraq and the Middle East are very different from Latin America, I found something they share in common — the overwhelming presence and power of the United States.

      As in Latin America, the U.S. is deeply entrenched militarily in the Middle East. And, as in Latin America, those needed resources by the U.S. in the Middle East, CANNOT be acquired without the firepower and men with guns.

      My coming to Iraq has only confirmed and clarified how important it is for us to close the SOA/WHISC and change U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.

      Now, as our country prepares to go to war with Iraq, we must do all we can to prevent it. Among the tens of thousands killed in Iraq will be many of the children, women and men we met and learned from on our delegation.

      This morning I read Psalm 33. It reminded me that our enemy in the U.S. is not in Iraq, but ignorance. Psalm 33 says,

      “Rulers are not saved by their armies. Nor can they find hope in their weapons. Despite their power, they cannot bring peace.”

      May our weapon be knowledge, love, justice and nonviolence.

      Roy Bourgeois