July 20, 2004Articles and commentary regarding world events
July 12, 2004

For those who have not yet read the two articles I've left on the desk, the link to these two articles are:

This article by BBC correspondent Hilary Anderson is about the present situation in Darfur (as of June 26th). It is called "Screams of Starving Refugees" and is the most heartfelt and compassionate account of the situation in Darfur that I have read concerning the hundreds of thousands of presently displaced persons. It can be contrasted to more abstract descriptions which view things more from a distance. The virtue of reading something like this is that it puts you in touch with your own way of dealing with great suffering in others. It can also let you know where you feel God fits into the picture and whether you are holding the suffering with or without God - a critical distinction.


This article (6/21/04) by Ted Sorenson, a former aide to President John F. Kennedy, is called "A Time to Weep." It is both heartfelt and eloquent in its plea to return to the ideals that are basic to the core of America. It outlines, sometimes painfully, the need to restore moral purity and authority to our national and international policy to replace its present emphasis on military authority. Sorenson writes:

"True, we have not lost either war (Afghanistan, Iraq) we chose, or lost too much of our wealth. But we have lost something worse - our good name for truth and justice."

Hopefully, reading this will inspire you to realize and feel the difference between moral ideals that are still intact in the heart and soul of America, and political practice which departs from these ideals. Sorenson is a 'patriot' in the truest sense of the word and may stir this high moral idealism in others.

There is a third article (7/10/04) relating to the decision of the International Court of Justice that merits attention. This concerns its decision regarding the construction of the Israeli wall. It can be found at and is called "Palestinian Win Rises Higher than Israeli Wall."

My feeling is that the World Court decision and the explicit discrediting responses of both the United States and Israel toward it further polarize the world between the U.S. and Israel on one side and the rest of the world on the other. Among many, particularly within the Arab world, U.S. and Israeli interests are seen as having little to do with moral righteousnessness and now, having little to do with international justice as well.

Following the Court decision, subsequent Israeli activity in continuing to build the wall flaunt the decision of the Court as well as the likely future supporting decision of the U.N. General Assembly. This cannot help but add to the stream of misunderstanding and animosity presently flowing toward the United States. No matter how we understand the meaning and purpose of 'the wall' and no matter how compassionate we might be toward the position of Israel with its need for protection and security, it is important to recognize the increasing isolation and polarization of Israel and the U.S. from the rest of the world.
July 13, 2004

Another area in which U.S. policy significantly affects a whole continent has to do with Africa. Many U.S. citizens are under-educated concerning the present plight of African peoples in relation to the ongoing AIDS epidemic. The estimate is that more than 25 million people are presently affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa with only 300,000 receiving treatment. It is further estimated that if the spead of HIV/AIDS continues at its present rate, 18 million children willl be orphans by the year 2010. This is a horrendous statistic. Relating to the globalization of consciousness that we are each striving for, here are two articles concerning the use of generic antiviral drugs whose content and viewpoint many of you may be familiar with. Each points to the underutilization within impoverished countries of these less-expensive drugs for reasons that many believe have to do with the greed of American and European drug companies.

The link to the first: "U.S. Firms Try to Block Cheap AIDS Drugs (3/20/04) is

The link to the second: "Cheaper HIV Drugs 'Just as Good' " (7/2/04) is:

Related to this discussion of making 'profit' more important than 'people', but wider and more universal in scope, are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., excerpted in this editorial called "A Lesson on Foreign Policy."

. This article was published on Jan. 15, 2003 in commemoration of Dr. King's birthday.
July 14, 2004

"'Israeli Plans' for Arafat's Death",
reveals the hatred that fuels the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, underscoring that not even in death can it abate. The Israeli's declare that burying Arafat at the Haram-al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) ground which houses the al-Aqsa mosque would be "symbolically problematic", indicating, among other things, their unwillingness both to acknowledge the Palestinian claim to the Temple Mount and to implicitly sanction, through the permission for burial there, the life of President Arafat.

This is entirely understandable in terms of the predominant Israeli view of President Arafat as murderer and inciter of terrorists, responsible for the deaths of many Israelis. But what a gesture of reconciliation it would have been to allow this burial within what is both Jewish and Muslim holy ground and to share, in death, this dually-consecrated site, holy within the cultures and religions of two peoples.

Clearly, most of the world, like the Israelis, has not yet arrived at the possibility of replacing political and military conflict with its present justification and escalation of violence, with an attitude of spiritual respect toward all and a commitment to peace. If it had, such peace would finally become possible. However, in order for this to happen, even our 'enemies' must be accorded respect, not just our friends. Even those whom we feel have commited crimes against us.

Within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, violence and murder in the name of self-protection have occurred on both sides. Universal respect, coming from heightened awareness of humanity's oneness in God, would follow the injunction of Jesus: "Love your enemies; do good to them that hurt you." It would involve the recognition that all are souls. This would not mean condoning actions of violence and terrorism under Arafat's leadership or by Israel. Rather, it would mean allowing each soul to be recognized as a soul, possessing their own inner relationship with God. Such recognition may mean even more at the time of death, when all actions on the human level are over.

Can such tolerance and forgiveness be practiced? Would President Arafat's presence within the al-Aqsa mosque's burial ground desecrate the Temple Mount? This is a matter of individual conscience and deliberation. The shared holy site has a history that is precious to each of its peoples. (See:BBC's "Holy Jerusalem: The Key to Peace": (2/19/03)

It is true that what has not been possible before is not likely to be possible now, following three years of bloodshed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Yet, the 'internationalization' of the Temple Mount which would permit Arafat's burial on Muslim holy ground and which would allow joint ownership of this site by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian groups, will, when its time comes, be a gesture of goodwill and of hope. The time is not here now for this to happen, but we need to pray for the day when Israelis and Palestinians as well as the rest of us will be able to move past political hatred toward innate humanity and the recognition of our oneness with each other.