Community Renewal Society (CRS) and its subsidiary, Chicago Reporter, is steadfast in its commitment to honoring the sanctity of life. We grieve the loss of all lives impacted by the culture of violence across the global diaspora, perpetuated through war, racism, poverty, disinheritance, xenophobia and all crimes against humanity, including white supremacist patriarchal systems of oppression.
We lament and denounce such acts that threaten peace, justice, equity, inclusion and freedom. We welcome a future where “love is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos,” as articulated by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We welcome courageous truth-telling that will speak prophetically and boldly to the historical narratives of injustice, dispossession and the bemoaning loss of innocent lives.
Truth-telling is the required path to reconciliation, which can lead to healing, restoration and ultimately, reparations. This is a lesson taught by our siblings from South Africa as they continue to dismantle the ugly residue of a state-sanctioned and government-funded system of apartheid.
While we now hail the late President Nelson Mandela as a hero, he once was scorned as a terrorist and disrupter. In fact, his beloved nickname Madiba loosely means “troublemaker.” Yet still, President Mandela and other courageous freedom fighters remained steadfast in their resolve to bear witness to their narratives of suffering and disinheritance.
“The only way to bring about peace is the fulfillment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to human rights, dignity and statehood,”South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the Summit for Peace held in Cairo, Egypt on Saturday, October 21.
War does not evade us on our domestic soil, as evidenced by the murder of 6-year-old Palestinian-American Wadea Al-Fayoume of Plainfield, IL. Wadea, a Muslim, was only in the first grade and still learning how to read and write, when he and his mother were attacked mercilessly by their landlord. While Wadea’s mother was seriously injured by stab wounds, her innocent child was stabbed 26 times, succumbing to those injuries. Police have indicated the family was targeted because of their race and religion. Synagogues, mosques and schools have rapidly increased armed security because of threats to fatally harm faith communities due to hate and discrimination. We have seen the blood-stained agony of such hatred in our faith communities before – Christian congregations in Birmingham, AL and Charleston, SC; an Islamic mosque in Minneapolis, MN; a Jewish temple in Pittsburgh, PA and a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI. Friends, we are not too far from the culture of violence to have a meaningful role in cultivating peace.
We must learn from the past and share transparent historical narratives of all communities impacted. We can begin by calling on our world leaders to intervene by demanding a ceasefire versus further subsidizing weapons, walls, invasions and occupations. We can call on our legislators to increase urgent humanitarian aid and admonish those who seek to prevent its distribution. We can call upon President Biden to reverse past presidents’ decisions to relocate the US Embassy for Israel to Jerusalem, where sacred sites reside for all Abrahamic faiths. Further, we can call upon Congress and President Biden to denounce and impose sanctions for all violations of the Geneva Convention’s protocol for the protection of civilians and beyond. We can identify our platforms, privileges and power and exercise moral courage to break the silence so that another generation is not subject to such horrors and trauma.
Peter Seeger poetically asked the question “Where have all the flowers gone?” in his song of the same name:
Where have all the flowers gone?
…Young girls—they’ve taken husbands every one.
…Young men—they’re all in uniform.
…Soldiers—They’ve gone to graveyards every one.
…Graveyards—They’re covered with flowers every one.
…Flowers—Young girls have picked them every one.
Seeger’s questions resonate with all of creation – each of us, right now in this Kairos moment, when we have the choice between war and bigotry or freedom and liberation for all. It speaks to us as people of faith who recognize that love and liberation do not collide but complement each other.
This is our generation’s mountaintop movement to envision freedom ringing resoundingly throughout the land for every human life and for all of creation (because war and culture of violence impacts our environment in multitudes of ways).
We cannot afford to be silent or comfortable, or else generations will be born and must also ask of those who came before them: “Where have all the flowers gone? Where have all the prophets gone? When will they ever learn?”
When will WE ever learn?
In Support of Love, Justice & Humanity,
Rev. Dr. Waltrina N. Middleton
Powering Journalism & People!