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Posts Tagged ‘prison camps’

Kermit_the_FrogHaiku for you all to enjoy from one of our Zen students studying “behind the fence.”

Happy is the frog
that has been quenched by the rain.
it’s been a long drought.

Hard rain fell last night
A hot sun rose this morning
bringing rain lillies.
–Wes

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War is breaking out in the Middle East again and in Central America the conditions are so treacherous for the regular citizens they are sending their children on pilgrimages to America by walking a thousand miles to our borders and turning themselves in to the Border Patrol. Being in an American detention center is safer for them than being in their own beds in their own homes in their own countries. How sad a state of affairs is that?

So we are hearing “war cries” once again from some in our country to fight in the Middle East and to “fight” back the influx of women and children trying to escape a life of fear and hell in their home countries. Today in Guatemala 1 out of every 14 people have a chance to be murdered. If you are a parent what lengths would you go to in order to save your children?

In the book, Peace Pilgrim her Life and Work in Her Own Words, in Chapter 9 “Extensions of Pacifism,” she quotes Herman Goering, at the Nuremberg Trials:

Why of course people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country (page 114-15).[1] [Emphasis mine.]

Sound Familiar?

Pastor Martin Niemoller

Pastor Martin Niemoller

Yet in all countries and in all times there were those who spoke out, who stood up to the powers that be for peace even if it meant their own death or imprisonment. Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) is perhaps best remembered for his oral admission of personal guilt and condemnation of the bystander during WWII. Many years after his release by the Allied Forces from a prison camp in which he was interned he was elected president of the World Council of Churches.

The exact words that he is credited with are in dispute; their sentiment is not:

First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Finally, they came for me and there was no one left to speak out.[2]

 

What will you do for the children, for peace, for the planet? Turn a blind eye and go shopping at Saks or Bloomies, or K-Mart? Write your elected officials, carry a sign, vote them out? Pass the buck, see with a blind eye, and turn off the news? Save the children, save the planet? Get elected to office yourself?

The Gateless Gate

The great path has no gates,

Thousands of roads enter it.

When one passes through this gateless gate

He walks freely between heaven and earth (page 79)[3].

 

If it is to be—it is up to me! Hope lives eternal…Which gate will you take?

 

[1] Peace Pilgrim Her life and Work In her Own Words, Friends of Peace Pilgrim and Ocean Tree Books, 2004.

[2] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/414633/Martin-Niemoller

[3] The Little Book of Zen Haiku, Koans, Sayings, (2001) edited by Manuela Dunn Mascetti. The Book Laboratory, Inc. Fall River Press: NY, NY

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