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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, September 30, 2002
    The Lord's work
     
      There's no other way to describe the death of one, possibly one point five million people, ... of probably six hundred thousand children since 1990. What else is there but genocide?
    Twenty centuries after the birth of Christ George Bush addressed air crews running bombing missions over Iraq. "I am delighted," he told them, "that I have been invited out here today to salute you who, in my view, are doing the Lord's work."
      THUS WITH VIOLENCE SHALL THAT GREAT CITY BABYLON BE THROWN DOWN:
    The Sanction Committee does not even respect the right of the dead to be buried according to the Islamic rules...
      THEREFORE SHALL HER PLAGUES COME IN ONE DAY:
    ... because the UN Sanction Committee prohibited Iraq from importing shroud cloths ...
      DEATH, AND WAR, AND FAMINE:
    We say in our culture that the only belonging that you take with you when you die, is a four yard of a shroud...
      AND THE LIGHT OF A CANDLE SHALL SHINE NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE:
    ... and that, the UN is depriving our people. They want them to go up naked.


    The Fire This Time arrived today, a timely and salutory reminder of the brutal US-led action against the people of Iraq, which has continued unabated since the military campaign of 1990, through sanctions and illegal aerial bombings, and which is escalating again into another devastating onslaught.

    Uneasy listening, this aural documentary, with background provided by some of the best current sonic architects (Aphex Twin, Pan Sonic, Soma and others), but essential for perspective.

    Salutory to hear how the religious traditions are so easily appropriated by men of violence - one of the most chilling voices sampled, for me, is the military man whose message to Brits at home, on Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, was "get out and ring your church bells".

    The Lord's work is a contested arena. Another perspective came today from The Witness, magazine of the US Episcopal Church. Their current editorial asks, "What can we do or say to prepare Christians for life and witness in a country at war?", and whose features focus on 'resource wars' - a reminder of what this present crisis is really about. Oil.

    Similarly, Sojourners today emailed an action alert to encourage concerned citizens to pray, mobilise, stay informed, network, and educate self and others about Iraq, U.S. foriegn policy, and the church's response to war.

    God help these small contrary voices to keep on speaking into the unholy CBS/CNN/BBC babble. And exposing the reality which other voices occasionally let slip, such as George Kennan, Former Head of the US State Department Policy Planning Staff, who set the agenda in February 1948, the same year as the United Nations was born:

    ÔWe have about 60% of the worldÕs wealth but only 6.3% of itsÕ population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. We should cease to talk about such vague and unreal objectives as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratisation. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.Ó