I suspect that most of you reading this celebrated the coming of the New Year. But there are countless people around the world who didn't celebrate because they were too busy trying to survive, particularly those in Gaza.
The residents of Gaza are being pulverized by Israel's overwhelming air power, even as its immense armed forces mass at the border. Thanks to the United States (and companies like Lockheed-Martin that makes the Hellfire missile used by Israel in its attacks on Gaza), Israel employs the most advanced and powerful weaponry available with which to use against the people of Gaza - men, women and children. That is not to say that Hamas is innocent; far from it, but their rocket launchers are a far cry from the jets, missiles, smart bombs and other munitions that Israel has at its disposal.
Jesus said it; Gandhi took it even further when he said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." The Israelis, are perpetuating just such a cycle of violence with the murder of innocents in Gaza. Just the other day President Bush called for Hamas to stop its rocket attacks on Israel; as usual, he said nothing about the Israelis stopping their massive attacks on Gaza that have left so many civilians dead, injured and terrorized.
The Israelis (and the United States) have labelled Hamas "Terrorists". And while Hamas is complicit in the violence, Israel has used terrorist tactics on the people of Gaza in order to undermine Hamas. One has to wonder how the massive Israeli attacks on civilian targets, terrorizing men, women and children, can benefit anyone.
I have found the newspaper coverage to be less than stellar. I urge you to go beyond the corporate press to learn about the situation in Gaza. Common Dreams News Center has an extraordinary number of articles and opinion pieces on the crisis - the ones you won't see (for the most part) in the corporate press.
We need people to speak out (loudly) for an immediate cease fire! You can send a personalized email message to The White House and Congress (and get all your friends to do the same) urging them to bring about an immediate cease fire and end the economic blockade that is devastating all the people of Gaza. You can also send an email to President-elect Obama. The U.S. must stop supporting Israel without conditions!
So start off the New Year by acting for peace! Get your family, friends and co-workers involved. And who knows; you might even find some people in your church willing to get involved. Just remind them that it's about more than personal salvation. It's about putting on the sandals and rolling up their sleeves because they are empowered by the Prince of Peace "to bring glad tidings to the poor... to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
Photo Credit: An injured boy is treated at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City. (Photograph: Khalil Hamra/AP)