It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a week since the latest assault by the IDF on Gaza. There has been so much death and destruction in the last few days! I’m afraid that it’s going to be difficult for me to talk about much else in my missive this week.
The Assault on Gaza
I appreciate that I will have already alienated a lot of my readers by speaking of the ‘assault on Gaza’ when the official narrative says that it is not an assault but a war. I’m sorry. I can’t use that language.
I appreciate that there are casualties on both sides of this conflict, and indeed I grieve for the Israeli dead as I do for the Palestinian dead, but a war suggests that there are two armies involved in this conflict. There are not two armies. There is one army. It is a highly-trained and well-equipped army. Fighting this army are disparate groups of home-grown militia-men.
If you think I’m being outrageous, let me quote from the great Noam Chomsky:
Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army … and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder.
When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. (see Chomsky’s full statement here).
Chomsky’s last point is important too. Defending yourself is not always an act of self-defense! If a thug attacks an old woman in the street and she fends him off with her umbrella, the thug might indeed have to defend himself against the blows of the umbrella, but this would not make his assault an act of self-defense.
Don’t misunderstand me: I do not approve of the fact that the people of Gaza are firing rockets into Israel. I pray to God that they will show restraint and recognise the futility of retaliating in this way. Further, I am not anti-Israel and do not want to see the country wiped off the map or anything of the sort. But that is not what this latest outbreak of violence is about. What it’s about, I believe, is politics. Specifically, I believe it’s about the Israeli Prime Minister ensuring his victory at the polls in the forthcoming Israeli elections.
Am I being overly cynical? Read Uri Avnery’s analysis (former member of the Israeli parliament).
While you’re at it, you might appreciate a few other choice articles and videos that depart from the official narrative:
- Chomsky and others challenge the objectivity of current media reports (article)
- Who started Israel’s latest assault on Gaza? (article)
- Hamas commander assassinated hours after receiving truce deal from Israel (article)
- Russian TV interviews Max Blumenthal about the Gaza assaults (10 minute video)
- An Auschwitz survivor protests Israel’s treatment of Palestinians (3 minute video)
I include this last link as a reminder that this violence is not about race or religion. The problem is not the Jews or the Muslims or the Christians or the Arabs or the Palestinians or any particular racial or religious group. The problem is (as always) politics, greed, and the lust for power!
Pray for Peace!
And don’t simply Pray for Peace. Pray for Peace with Justice – the only kind of peace that can last.
And don’t simply Pray. Protest!
There is a wonderfully long list of protest rallies that are taking place around the world listed on the Facebook page of the Palestine Action Group of Sydney.
There’s a Sydney rally listed there for this coming Saturday. Perhaps I’ll see you there?
Heading to the USA
Thanks be to God, I am now booked to fly to the USA next week to support by dear brother and Holy Trinity parishioner, Solomon Egberime, in his fight against Paul Spadafora on December 1st.
The fight has evidently been generating a lot of interest. I did a quick Google search on ‘Egberime v Spadafora’ and got more than 22,000 results, including this press release from Roy Jones Jr.!
I have had the privilege of being in Sol’s corner for each of his fights since 2008, but this is certainly the most significant one to date. I know I carry the hopes and prayers of our parish and suburb and country with me as I go to support our Nigerian-Australian brother.
Of course, I am also hoping to catch up with as many of my American friends and supporters as possible while I am in the US. My itinerary has not been finalised but my current plans are to:
- Leave Sydney on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 27th
- Arrive in Los Angeles about six hours before I left (go figure) !
- Fly to Washington D.C. the same evening (November 27)
- Drive from Washington to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 28
- Drive from Gettysburg to the fight venue in Chester, West Virginia on November 30
- Drive to the monastery in Princeville, Illinois on December 3rd
- Fly out from Chicago airport on December 5th (landing in Sydney December 7th)
As I say, none of this has been finalised as yet, though the flights (and the fight) are fixed. Certainly I’ll be looking for someone to share lunch with in LA on November 27, though I suppose I can make a day-trip to Hollywood if I don’t get a better offer!
My itinerary from Washington D.C. to Chicago is flexible, apart from the fight. I do hope to take some time to re-visit some of my favourite US Civil War battlefields, but I won’t let that take priority over meeting up with new members of the Order of the Fighting Fathers should there be opportunity.
Congratulations and Thanks
Let me say a big thank you to everyone who turned out to support the team from Holy Trinity Gym last Friday night at our charity boxing night.
- Fighting Father Caine put in a strong performance to win his bout quite decisively.
- Kath Biggs also put in a brilliant performance but lost a narrow points decision.
- I likewise lost my bout in a points decision to Fighting Father Rod.
Mine was a bit of a surprise. I thought I’d done enough to win but the judges thought otherwise. This was sort of fitting though as in my last fight against Rod I thought he’d won but the judges scored it my way!
As I always say, you can’t control the judges decision. All you can control is how much effort you put in, and I can assure you that both Rod and Caine and Kath and I all put in 100%. Congratulations to everyone who had the courage to step in the ring on that night!
And while I’m congratulating people, let me extend my congratulations to my dear brothers and sisters of the Passionist Order who celebrated 125 years of ministry in our area on the weekend.
Ange and I had the privilege of attending a fantastic celebratory Mass at St Brigid’s church in Marrickville. I know that our Catholic brothers and sisters in this country are facing some serious challenges at the moment, but this just made the celebration all the more wonderful to me. In the midst of adversity we celebrated the goodness of God and all the good things that the Passionist Fathers have brought to our region and our country.
God’s blessing to all our Passionist sisters and brothers, and a special congratulations to Father John (pictured on my left) for staging Saturday’s celebration.
And before I let you go I must apologise to you if you’ve been trying to catch the live video-cast of our service here at Holy Trinity.
We have been trying to stream our worship services to you each week but unfortunately the church.tv server has crashed and it’s taking them some time to put their network back together!
This Sunday coming Dr Keith Mascord is giving the first of a two-part sermon series on homosexuality, and I’m sure that many of you would have been keen to join us for the video-cast. Be assured that if church.tv can’t manage the live broadcast we will be recording the sermon anyway and will post it to YouTube as soon as possible.
Unfortunately my Sunday sermon from yesterday was recorded by neither video nor audio device, though you can read the written version here if you’re keen.
My text from the Gospel of Mark is about war and destruction in Israel, so you won’t be surprised to find more than one reference to Gaza in the sermon. In truth, it’s been difficult for me to think about much else of late. My heart bleeds for all who are caught up in the bloodshed.
That’s enough for this week.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S. As I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!