Monday, September 22, 2014


Molech-Cronos-Saturn-Baal---god of  fire, war, and child sacrifice.     Mars--Roman god of war.             

War, violence and abuse are humanity’s most promiscuous false idol—that by means of these we can obtain the ends of peace and prosperity.   If we believe in Jesus, the Good News, the Sermon on the Mount, nothing can be further from the truth.  If we are simply a student of history, the same is still true.   Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are certainly doomed to repeat their mistakes.  One of the many constant tragedies of allegiance to war is the propagation of wave upon wave of refugees.

Two examples from our current affairs:  Libya-Gaza and Central America—distant places united in suffering.

The recent disastrous wars in Libya & Gaza, where we, the Europeans, Arab powers, and Israeli's contributed airstrikes, weapons, and “intelligence” to the conflicts, have led to a tremendous surge in refugees trying to flee across the sea to North Africa for uncertain safety on Sicilian islands.   Those bombed from their homes in Gaza have had to trek westward through Egypt [also in a state of militarized chaos].  People from Syria and Iraq also choose the ocean route of escape.
 Workers removing bodies of migrants that washed ashore on Libya’s coast-- Aimen Elsahli-Reuters

No one could accuse Pozzallo [a mass was said there for those who’d died at sea] of indifference. This small Sicilian town, like Italy itself, has staggered its way through a skyrocketing migration crisis in the Mediterranean that has seen roughly 120,000 migrants rescued by Italian ships this year, almost triple last year’s figure, while nearly 2,800 have died in shipwrecks or in transit, a fourfold increase. And more bodies may be coming. Rescuers are searching in the waters near Malta after reports this week that more than 750 people may have died in two shipwrecks in recent days.
Over the past three years, Italian authorities have swung from a hard-line policy to “push back” migrant vessels to Libya, to a search-and-rescue program to deliver them safely to Italian ports like this one. Migrants still keep coming.  {read the full account}
There are many in flight from Libya which now, after the war to depose Qaddafi is a failed state, fought over by militias, government in exile.   And many are those displaced from the most recent conflagration in Gaza, as well as the steady stream from Mali, Sudan, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast …

On our side of the Atlantic we begin to appreciate the scope of those families displaced by our Central American war’s bad economy, and its militarized drugs wars that have become epidemic, esp. in Honduras, site of the U.S.’s biggest military base in the region—called the Southern Command.  Their children now pile up on our southern border.  [see previous July 21, 2014 entry]
To personalize one of these families, just through a brief encounter, read of a Guatemalan mom and her three kids’ stopover at Casa Juan Diego, in Houston.   In their journey refugees lose all security, often even the ability to ask for help.

 Immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are stopped in Granjeno, Texas, on June 25

Pope Francis at the beginning of this year, called for a new attitude of solidarity with the displaced, then made it specific to these Central American refugees.
A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization — all typical of a ‘throwaway culture’ — towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world”.

Earlier, on Lampedusa another Sicilian island near Pozzallo, Pope Francis had this to say about that corner of the world’s war refugees crisis. But he lashed those who ignored the plight of refugees. "The culture of well-being, that makes us think of ourselves, that makes us insensitive to the cries of others, that makes us live in soap bubbles, that are beautiful but are nothing, are illusions of futility, of the transient, that brings indifference to others, that brings even the globalization of indifference."

Spanish police, in the foreground, and Moroccan police, in the background, blocked dozens of African migrants as they attempted to jump a fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Melilla---Santi Palacios for The New York Times
One can’t leave this subject without remembering also the recent millions of those displaced, internally & externally, by our wars, direct and by proxy, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Yemen …  The incomplete list goes on back towards WWII, and deeper on down history’s trail of tears.
Migrants sat astride a fence separating Morocco from Spain during a failed crossing attempt into Melilla in April, 2014. Credit Santi Palacios for The New York Times

War always brings death, destruction, displacement and disease.  Those who fail to learn these lessons of history are certainly doomed to repeat them.  The only way to banish these curses, is to not go to war in the first place.  We are our brothers and sisters keepers.  We must each do our part in renouncing war as ever being a solution to society’s problems.

Mural, Fray Matias de Cordova Human Rights Center, Tapachula, Mexico {major crossing point into Mexico from Central America}


A recent story of the Central American refugee children at our borders –

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