The Silence of Our Friends…

I’ve had a few internet tabs open that I’ve been thinking about discussing on the blog for a few days, but an article today has helped me think of what draws them together…

First there is this one about the increasing certainty of the human role in climate change…

which ties in rather well with this article discussing why world leaders aren’t working together on tackling this effectively.

The point I felt to be mo

st salient is probably best expressed by a verbatim quote

“[There is a]willingness to sacrifice large numbers of people in the way we respond to climate change – we are already showing a brutality in the face of climate change that I find really chilling. I don’t think we have the language to even describe [geoengineering], because we are with full knowledge deciding to allow cultures to die, to allow peoples to disappear. We have the ability to stop and we’re choosing not to. So I think the profound immorality and violence of that decision is not reflected in the language that we have. You see that we have these climate conventions where the African delegates are using words like “genocide,” and the European and North American delegates get very upset and defensive about this. The truth is that the UN definition of genocide is that it is the deliberate act to disappear and displace people. What the delegates representing the North are saying is that we are not doing this because we want you to disappear; we are doing this because we don’t care essentially. We don’t care if you disappear if we continue business-as-usual. That’s a side effect of collateral damage. Well, to the people that are actually facing the disappearance it doesn’t make a difference whether there is malice to it because it still could be prevented. And we’re choosing not to prevent it. I feel one of the crises that we’re facing is a crisis of language. We are not speaking about this with the language of urgency or mortality that the issue deserves.”

One a little closer to home is changes I have seen in my own country in the way we talk about people in poverty, those who are sick, and those who are disabled. A girl called jack blogs very eloquently about the food poverty that has become rife, and this blog on gingerbread gives a taste if what it’s like day to day trying to manage a family on a limited budget (on benefits and in work). Heartbreakingly there is also this blog in memory of a young man driven to suicide by the ATOS assessment process. The theme I notice under these areas is that “beurocracy” “paperwork” “trying to reform the system” have become excuses to hide staggering inhumanity… and very little is said. Not in the the kind of language that gets across the urgency of the situation. There are people who are starving and dying because of these little bits of paper being pushed around, but where is the urgency to describe it all.

The more recent piece of news is the shocking suicide bombing of a Christian congregation in Pakistan, with the news today showing some more detail of the devastation across that community at the burials.

It seemed to draw mass media attention to a situation this article describes, from which this post gets its name. Although its focus is on the middle east, rather than asia, it seems the content is similarly applicable. I think it also shows that political decisions and scapegoating responses are, as ever, most likely to impact upon vulnerable people groups with no control and political power. Where has the worldwide response to all the other events been? Why have things been able to excalate to this degree of killing?

Anyway, all these thoughts brought to mind a confessional prayer often used:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Still thinking about how I can ensure that the power of words (so well referred to in James’ letter as like a fire) can be turned around, so that the same mouth I use to praise God is also used to speak up on behalf of those whose voice is not being heard.

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