Thursday, December 10, 2009

President Obama's Nobel Speech, Just Wars and just Stop It!

President Obama's Nobel Speech, Just Wars and just Stop It! 

eileen fleming
On December 10, 2009, in Oslo, President Obama espoused the first heresy of Christianity in his Nobel speech when he cited the concept of a "just war" furthering the fallacy "that war is justified."

The first and greatest heresy in the Christian faith occurred in the third century when Augustine penned the "Just War Theory" which gave the church's OK to violence perpetuated by the empire and "our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system."-Dorothy Day

Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence was a contradiction of what Christ was about, but as Gandhi commented, "Everyone but Christians understands that Jesus was nonviolent."

Christians were not a part of the military until the third century, when Emperor Constantine instituted Christianity as the State's religion and required all soldiers to be baptized, but "How can you kill people, when it is written in God’s commandment: ‘Thou shall not murder’?"– Leo Tolstoy

Obama's Oslo speech was rife with vague generalities about Human Rights and International Law and he made no mention of Israel's ongoing military occupation of Palestine aided by USA policy and tax payers funds which defies them both. Not a word was heard about Gaza, the ever-expanding illegal Jewish only settlements, not a mention of Israel's illegal apartheid wall nor its nuclear weapons.

Obama made me tremble when he coolly claimed, "The world may no longer shudder at the prospect of war between two nuclear superpowers... Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale."

The prospect of war between a nuclear power and any other is even more horrific; and the thought of a war between two nuclear superpowers would lead to the end of the world as we now know it.

The fact that a bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and two hundred thousand lives were vaporized within twenty minutes did not lead US to repent and abolish them, but to up the ante and fill Space with them.

If that day we call 9/11 taught US anything, it is that our nuclear arsenal cannot keep us safe from a few angry violent men so without a conscience, that they could target and murder innocent ones.

In Oslo, President Obama was mindful of Martin Luther King's Nobel speech, but he made no mention of what his peer stated regarding Vietnam, "The true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, is when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition."

In Oslo, Obama opined, "As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life's work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak, nothing passive, nothing naive in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King. But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is... that war is sometimes necessary, and war is at some level an expression of human feelings."

War is never necessary, but is an expression of the violence within an individual's heart that inhabits a body with a mind that has failed to evolve and is thus blind to The Divine that indwells all beings and is within all of creation.

In his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" King noted:

Too long has The Peace Process been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. We must come to see that justice too long delayed is justice denied.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever and if repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives in the world can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

Obama recalled President Kennedy's call to "focus on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions."

Institutions are often governed by those with hearts without compassion. Power renders many deaf, dumb and blind to the cries of the innocent caught in the crossfire of violence and to the many  denied equal human rights and freedom due to war.

Two days after Christmas many people will commemorate the first day of the first anniversary of Israel's 23 days of assault on Gaza.

Two weeks before Christmas, President Obama attempted to justify war by rationalizing state sponsored terrorism. However, he concluded:

The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. Peace requires responsibility. Peace entails sacrifice…we can build a just and lasting peace.

First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to change behavior — for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure — and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one.

One urgent example is the effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to seek a world without them…Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war.

 For peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based upon the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting.

It was this insight that drove drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after the Second World War. In the wake of devastation, they recognized that if human rights are not protected, peace is a hollow promise.

And yet all too often, these words are ignored…I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please, choose their own leaders or assemble without fear.

...neither America's interests — nor the world's — are served by the denial of human aspirations…it is also true that security does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine they need to survive. It does not exist where children cannot aspire to a decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society from within.

Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments in development. All of these are vital ingredients in bringing about the evolution that President Kennedy spoke about. And yet, I do not believe that we will have the will, or the staying power, to complete this work without something more — and that is the continued expansion of our moral imagination, an insistence that there is something irreducible that we all share. similar we are… we all basically want the same things… we all hope for the chance to live out our lives with some measure of happiness and fulfillment for ourselves and our families.

…the purpose of faith — for the one rule that lies at the heart of every major religion is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Adhering to this law of love has always been the core struggle of human nature… we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The nonviolence practiced by men like Gandhi and King… the love that they preached — their faith in human progress — must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.

For if we lose that faith — if we dismiss it as silly or naive, if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace — then we lose what is best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and called upon all Member countries to disseminate, display, and expound them. Israel's statehood was contingent upon upholding them.

We are in the last three weeks of the United Nations Decade of Creating a Culture of Nonviolence for All the Children of the World. America is on the record in the UN as abstaining because to support such an initiative would make it "too hard for us to go to war."

Hundreds of children have been killed by unmanned drones since Obama became president. America is connected to 35 wars being fought today and we have a nuclear arsenal of over 10,000 weapons with nearly 2,000 on hair-trigger alert. America has 150 – 240 tactical nuclear weapons based in 5 NATO countries and is the only country with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil. America is the only nation to have targeted, terrorized and murdered innocent people by deploying WMD.

As FOX News bemoans a war on Christmas, let us recall that what we know for certain about Jesus was that he was born, lived and died under a brutal military occupation but practiced active, public, creative non-violence.

Jesus taught that following him requires one must love all people, to be compassionate, nonjudgmental, to seek justice and to forgive in order to be forgiven.

Jesus' last words to his followers as the Roman occupying forces dragged him away were, 'Put down the sword'.

And that is when his followers and friends abandoned him and ran away; they realized he was deadly serious about non-violence.

The only way to stop violence is to stop inflicting it. Violence cannot  reap peace, but only lead to more of its own kind. No one, no state, no nation is justified in killing. Those who live by the sword, the gun, bomb, the nuclear weapon, will die by the sword, gun, bomb and nuclear weapon. War will never end terrorism because war is terrorism.

And so, this is almost Christmas, and isn’t it time we all evolve or
an eye for an eye will blind us all.

Eileen Fleming,
Founder of
A Feature Correspondent for
Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"  
Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"

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