More dead, more wounded, more internally displaced, more refugees – and they talk. More rockets and bombs falling from the sky like rain – killing and wounded and they talk. More violence and more bloodshed – and they talk. More meetings and more discussions. More deals and more no deals. More dead, more wounded, more internally displaced and more refugees. And guess what ? They continue to talk. What about the children ? What about the women ? What about the innocent victims ?
With all of the meetings, discussions and talks by the “leaders of the world”, I am reminded of the profound statement by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that is very appropriate regarding all the talking. Dr. King, while confined to a Birmingham, Alabama jail in April 1963, wrote the now- famous ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’.
In an attempt to reach people of so-called “good will”, he wrote the following words:
“Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
Many of the “world leaders” are giving a blanket endorsement to the violence, death and destruction in the Middle East. At the same time, in their narrow- minded ‘luke- warm’ ways, they are meeting and talking and meeting and talking – and looking for a “quick-fix solution” as they try and come up with another United Nations (UN) Resolution to try and hide behind – again.
There was a sprinkle of hope and encouragement this past week when Pope Benedict XVI spoke out and said – war doesn’t bring any good for anybody, not even for the apparent victors”. He called on Christians and others to mobilize against warfare in the Middle East. Former United States President Jimmy Carter was much more direct in focusing on the ongoing violence by stating that President George W. Bush has pursued an “erroneous policy” – a policy which has fostered violence in the Middle East.
Out there in the ‘wilderness of world leaders’, all among themselves, many are obsessed with ‘the politics of war’. They believe in the idea and policies that genuine peace can and will emerge from violence, conflict, bombs, tanks, rockets and bloodshed. They believe strongly in a plan which is guided by the use of force: rockets, tanks and bombs. As “world leaders”, more rationale thinking is expected. As “leaders”, more rationale thinking is required. Leaders must be reminded daily that “Wisdom is better than weapons of war” (Ecclesiastes 9:18).
I submit that the current plan and course of action will not bring about peace. The current plan and course of action will help push the Middle East towards more violence, war and insecurity. Common sense should reveal this fact to ‘thinking and nonthinking leaders of the world’. I further submit that those who think ‘the politics of war’ will help foster peace and security have a very narrow- minded view – and historical understanding – of the Middle East, little or no respect for most people in the Middle East, and a blind eye view of justice. The current plan and course of action will continue to bring about more violence, more deaths and more destruction – and no doubt – more talk. The ‘politics of war’ disrespects nature and lacks moral principle.
While this article is an appeal for peacemakers, it is also designed to encourage and instill hope. I want to share a statement by Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. In his book, God Has A Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Times (2004), Tutu writes:
This is a moral universe, which means that, despite all of the evidence that seems to be to the contrary, there is no way that evil and injustice and oppression and lies can have the last word. God is a God who cares about right and wrong. God cares about justice and injustice. God is in charge.
Besides the courageous United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a few other voices, are “world leaders” compelled to loudly denounce the violence and at the same time work seriously to end the outrageous and senseless killing in the Middle East ? In nonpolitical terms – there should be only one response. The response is “YES I AM”. No, I will not (or inaction) speaks for itself. A political response is simply ‘rhetoric’ – double talk which says YES and NO at about the same time. Such a response is hypocritical, empty talk and basically useless.
We can do much better. We must do better. We must collectively – not selectively – find a way to end the violence and killing. Courageous men and women need to mobilize, step forward and lead. The mind-set of this leadership must be guided by wisdom, love and justice; the peace will come.
The question of leadership is a severe issue today. In fact, the world is on the verge of suffering from a crisis in leadership. Desmond Tutu’s response to those who criticized his vocal and active opposition to South Africa’s unjust apartheid system was – “I am compelled to say what I say.” Just as the “prophets of the 8th century BC”, And as did the Apostle Paul, the message of love and justice must be preached all over the world – including the Middle East – including at the meetings where they just talk. The “world leaders” must be reminded time and time again – there is no ‘quick-fix solution’.
I am compelled to continue asking a very basic question.
Where are the peacemakers ?
Jerry Henderson, a native of Alabama (USA), is an author, educator and freelance writer. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org