Subject for ezine:
Partners in the Good Fight
Father Dave's Partner's Ezine
Partners in the Fight
When one man dreams, it is just a dream, but when we all dream together, it is the beginning of a new reality.
Dom Helder Camara
The shooting may have stopped in Gaza, but the pain is far from over. At least now the media are being allowed in through the checkpoints, and the full extent of the devastation can finally be appreciated by the rest of the world.
I received an email from my friend Bishop Riah this week (former Episcopal Bishop of Jerusalem) where he summed up the situation succinctly:
"The cessation of hostilities does not equal peace, healing or reconciliation. All peace loving individuals and parties must join hands to do away with the root-cause of the conflict in the land of the Holy One, i.e. the illegal Israeli occupation. Otherwise, the next round, I fear will be far more bloody on both sides."
As the people of Gaza bury their dead and rebuild their homes, now is the time for the rest of us to do what we can to see that these men, women and children are never terrorised and butchered like this again.
For our American subscribers, this would be a great time to write to your new President, and ask him to give priority to the Israel/Palestine situation. UnitedforPeace.org is urging all its members to do exactly this, and have provided the following White House Comment Line, where they suggest you leave your exhortations for the new President: (202) 456-1111.
For the rest of us, an email to email@example.com can't do any harm. I sent a few to Dubya, including a speech I wrote for him to deliver after the 9/11 tragedy. Sadly, he didn't use it, and I appreciate that sometimes it seems that our best efforts don't accomplish much. Even so, never has there been a more appropriate time to remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
Let's not remain silent in the face of what has happened in Gaza.
Click the thumbnails for full-size versions of these pics, or for a more comprehensive gallery of the Gaza tragedy, click here.
Christians, Muslims & Jews in Support of Gaza
The assault on Gaza has not only devastated the lives of the Palestinian residents who were stuck in the city. Its poison reverberated around the globe, spreading lies, confusion, rage and prejudice.
My friend Sheikh Mansour was particularly keen to nip in the bud any anti-Semitism that might arise in the wake of the Gaza tragedy. That led us to the idea of having a meeting at his Islamic Centre where a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew would each speak in support of the people of Gaza. By the grace of God this idea is now a reality, and Antony Loewenstein has agreed to be our key speaker.
Antony is a popular Australian journalist and is co-founder of "Independant Jewish Voices". He is also author of two books: "My Israel Question" (published 2006), which was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and "The Blogging Revolution" (2008), which focuses on the use of the internet in repressive regimes.
Antony is a passionate advocate of Palestinian human rights and an outspoken opponent of the Israeli occupation. He spoke alongside John Pilger at the last Sydney rally for Gaza, and is in great demand as a speaker. It is our great privilege that he has consented to join us.
Friday January 30th, beginning at 9 pm Imam Husain Islamic Centre, 6 Lang Rd. Earlwood
If you'd like to invite your church or a group of friends to this event, you can download a copy of my A5-sized flyer here. It's in pdf format and only 71kb in size. Right-click and choose 'save target as'. Alternatively, you can download Sheikh Mansour's A4-sized poster in jpeg format (863 kb) here. Again, right-click and choose 'save target as'.
Please note: visitors are asked to respect Islamic dress code while inside the centre ie. women please wear a head-scarf, and no shoes to be worn in the conference room
Complete ebook & audio package for only $10. Click here for the discount page
Dave's Guide to Gaza (part 2)
The damage done in Gaza has gone well beyond human carnage and the destruction of buildings. It has effectively destroyed peace process.
Where do we go from here? Hopefully the wisdom contained in these articles will not only help us find greater clarity regarding Israel/Palestine, but will also help us see a way forward.
Gaza's War of Lies by Father Dave. My attempt to cut through the rhetoric given in support of the assault on Gaza. They said it was not a war against civilians, that Israel had no choice but to attack, and that their only aim was to stop the firing of rockets on their cities. All lies!
Another War, Another Defeat by John J. Mearsheimer. If the goal of the Gaza assault was not to stop rocket attacks, what was Israel's goal? Professor Mearsheimer offers a compelling analysis of what really lay behind the Israeli assault.
A dark fog has enveloped us by Paul Kaye. When a rocket killed his mother-in-law in Israel, actor Paul Kaye was appalled by the celebrations in Gaza. Six months on, he feels a different kind of despair.
Israel's actions foster extremism by Malcom Fraser. A former Prime Minister of Australia, Fraser states the obvious truth that few politicians have the courage to admit - that war with Hamas can only lead to more violence, and that peace will require Israel to dialogue.
Not all Jews support Israeli Violence by Antony Loewenstein. This was the speech delivered by Antony at a rally held in Sydney, supporting the people of Gaza and calling for an end to the Israeli assault. There were around 5000 people at the rally.
I'm going to leave it there today. I've added links to numerous other recommended articles and videos in the 'Guide to Gaza' section of the forum. There have also been some excellent member-contributions to our Members Site, such as the press release on Gaza by Fighting Father Thumper on behalf of the Australian Democrats.
Let me close this section by thanking everybody who recommended my 'War of Lies' article to their friends. It was forwarded round to more than 500 readers in its first week of release, and is quickly becoming the most popular article I've ever written! Might I encourage you too to do the same with all the helpful articles and videos you find. Spread the word as far as you can, for if we are going to stop the war on the ground we will have to expose the war of lies first.
Complete ebook & audio package for only $10. Click here for the discount page
A Tale of Two Sons
Jesus said "What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?"
If Jesus had told this story today, perhaps we'd be tempted to assume that the two sons were Israel and Palestine. Certainly this story has something to say about what God expects of those who claim a special relationship with Him.
In truth though, neither of the sons in this story is particularly impressive, and all of God's children have their failings. Maybe that's a basis for hope for all of us!
This has to be one of the saddest pieces of video footage I've ever seen.
The man on the other end of the phone is Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish, a Palestinian gynaecologist living in Gaza, whose 3 daughters were killed when the Israeli army shelled his house.
The doctor's screams of anguish were aired live on Israeli TV. Eventually the TV presenter abandoned the broadcast to try to see if he could help his friend.
For many Israelis this was their first real awareness of the human face of Gaza.
To see a video that follows up on this tragic scene, including an interview with Doctor Aish, click here.
Friends, this has been a rather sombre ezine, so let me finish with some happier news:
I received my second nomination for "Australian of the Year" this year, and, even better, while I didn't make it through to the final round of nominations, my friend, Salvation Army Captain Paul Moulds of the Oasis Centre in Surry Hills, did.
I've been awarded the Marrickville "Citizen of the Year" award again too this year, and if you are in the area you'd be very welcome to join me at the official award ceremony at Enmore Park this Australia Day (Monday January 26th at 3pm).
And it's now more-or-less confirmed that I'll be heading off to the USA on February 17th (which also happens to be my birthday) for a three-day conference, followed by a 10-day drive across the country.
This will not be my first time in the US but it may well prove to be the most exciting. I aim to drive from the West coast to the East over 10 days and visit as many members of our online community as possible. I'm afraid I won't be able to visit everybody, and I've already had to turn down offers of hospitality from more than one member of our Order. Even so, if you are on my route and you'd like me to pay you a visit, please let me know.
I do hope to hear from a few more US subscribers over the next few days, as I'd like to interview as many of our American Fighting Fathers as possible and podcast those interviews as I travel. I'll also be happy to accept speaking engagements if they fit my schedule. All I ask for in return is some floor-space to sleep on if it gets dark and directions on how to get to my next stop.
And if we can't meet in the US or at Enmore Park or at the 'Christians, Muslims and Jews for Gaza' meeting ... you can always follow me on Twitter.
More on that another time.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.