Nov. 15, 2004Articles and commentary regarding world events

     It is a great tragedy and a great loss for us as a country, to be fed news that is filtered by prejudice and political ideology so that we cannot see nor feel with accuracy and depth what is truly happening in the world. This applies most immediately to the news coming from Iraq, but it also applies to the broader picture of how American political and business interests operate globally. What happens to the people who are harmed or at least not helped by the effects of U.S. policy abroad is often hidden from our view. This is not everyone, of course, for many are helped by U.S. aid. But the negative side of the picture is what we rarely hear about through mainstream media; it is what we rarely see.

     In the moment, we have a moral obligation to discern, as best we can, what is going on in Iraq. I thank God and the individual writers whose weblogs and personal commentaries have crossed my path, for providing personal, eyewitness accounts of what is happening there. These accounts are so different from what is presented through American media, that it is heartbreaking to think of the way in which those who do not have access to such reports or the energy to pursue more accurate information are being led into illusion.

     There are two ways to know something. One is to know it through the facts and descriptions of others. The other is to know it through inner guidance and our own deeper intuition. The first provides us with an on-the-ground picture of what is going on - a map of the situation with as much detail as an individual witness can glean from it. The second provides us with a moral and emotional appraisal of what is happening. It includes the heart and spirit in the knowing and interprets the available facts for us. Thus, if we hear the story of how one family in Fallujah buried their nine-year-old son in the front garden of their home, unable to safely leave the house to seek medical help, we have the facts as reported by one witness. But it is the heart that tells us what this means. It is the heart that pictures the many other garden burials that have taken place in Fallujah, unreported, unseen, except for the immediate family members.

     As citizens of the planet, we have a moral obligation to not separate ourselves from those who are suffering in the world, and especially to not separate ourselves from those who are suffering at the hands of U.S. policy. There are various ways of supporting this spiritual identification, of expressing our concern and caring. One is through knowledge - through taking the time to read, to listen, to feel about what is going on. Another is through prayer - through praying for those who are helpless and in need. A third is through the way in which we hold light in our minds, hearts, and bodies so that we can transmit hope to others and an understanding of God's positive purpose for the earth. Ultimately, it is the combination of a capacity to hold the pain of the earth and its inhabitants, alongside the hope and assurance of a positive future, that is the most potent kind of support we can give to the people of the earth. This doesn't rule out whatever activity on a social or political level we may feel called to undertake. But it places an emphasis on the power of consciousness to change the consciousness of others because we are connected with them.

     The tragedy of misinformation is that it is presented as fact to the American public. As fact, it allows us to treat situations that are happening to real people and to real families as abstractions. It allows us to think that what is needed is being done. It seduces us into believing what embedded journalists and government briefings would have us believe, while omitting the great suffering that is being caused as our military in Iraq pursues the path of 'liberation'. The tragedy of misinformation not only limits our perception of reality. It also tarnishes the light-filled words that are so often used by the government and reiterated by the media - words such as 'liberation', 'freedom', 'democracy'. Liberty and freedom are what America stands for. It is not what is happening in Iraq.

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     The weblogs and other sources that I have found to be extremely helpful in providing information about Iraq are:
Rahul Mahajan
Dahr Jamail: See Dahr's weblog.

Riverbend weblog.
BBC: Fadhil Badrani

And here are some of the specific articles that bring an emotional immediacy and detail to our perception of what is happening in Iraq:

"Baghdad burning." (Nov. 10, 2004 - Riverbend weblog).

See Nov. 10th entry.

"Prayers for vengeance, more death..." (Nov. 11, 2004 - Dahr Jamail).

"Watching tragedy engulf my city." (Nov. 9, 2004 - Fadhil Badrani, BBC, Fallujah)

"Eyewitness: Defiance amid carnage." (Nov. 10, 2004 - Fadhil Badrani, BBC, Fallujah)

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     We must never underestimate the power of our concern for others, nor be lulled into thinking that our own, personal response to a situation does not matter. Everything that we feel matters. Everything is hooked up to, or omitted from, the great network of consciousness of which we are a part. If we ignore the rest of life, we thereby remove from our influence whatever good our being present to life can do. If we pay attention, if we allow our hearts to respond and our souls to carry into the present situation our caring and our hope, we contribute our own life-force to the stream which supports the wellbeing of mankind.

Beyond excerpts

This is bin Laden's speech, recorded on videotape and sent to al-Jazeera on Oct. 29, 2004 and then circulated widely. It is worth reading in full and in the present MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) translation since this translation reveals a different language flow and a somewhat different feeling than the portions initially excerpted by American media. What is important to see is how you feel about what he says and what he does not say.

Who are the 'others'? The Division within America

     The following articles look from different perspectives at the division within the American populace, reflected in the recent U.S. election. In the first article, John Dean discusses the 'separate realities' of Bush and Kerry supporters and describes what he feels to be the source of these differences. In the second, David Potorti laments the polarization between 'red' and 'blue' color-coded states on the electoral map, and suggests that greater unity may be possible beneath what appears to be a 'great divide'. In the third article, Karen Cobb adamantly rejects the 'religious right' and what they stand for, and holds fast to a Christianity that remains closer to the original teachings of Jesus.

     These are but three responses to the problem of 'otherness' - the bewildered perception of those who seem so different from us that we cannot understand them. Each of us must come to terms with this aspect of our consciousness if we are to truly have a spiritual life. Each of us must find a way of understanding those with whom we share the earth so that we end up with compassion, not judgment. Compassion reinforces the awareness of the essential quality of our common humanity. It allows us to put into practice the essence of what it means to be a spiritual being. Without it, we are just talking.

Understanding the 2004 presidential election. (Nov. 5, 2004).

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State. (Nov. 6, 2004)

No longer a Christian. (Nov. 5, 2004).

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The purpose of Light Omega is to bring us all into greater planetary consciousness with awareness of the suffering of others and with a willingness to remain awake to the challenges, dangers, and possibilities we face today.

     Julie Redstone