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Archive for September 19th, 2007

Massacre at Sabra-Shatila – 25th Anniversary

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 19, 2007


Sabra and Shatila 1982-2007

The Sabra and Shatila massacre (or Sabra and Chatila massacre; Arabic: مذبحة صبرا وشاتيلا) was carried out in September 1982 by a Lebanese Forces militia group against Palestinian refugee camps.

In an area under Israeli army control, Christian militiamen were permitted to enter two undefended Palestinian refugee camps leading to a massacre of hundreds to thousands of civilians (see below). Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Defense Minister at the time and major protagonist of the invasion, was held responsible and forced to resign. The Lebanese Forces group stood under the direct command of Elie Hobeika, who later became a long-serving Lebanese Member of Parliament and, in the 1990s, a cabinet minister. The number of victims of the massacre varies according to source: the lowest confirmed estimate is 700; the highest is placed at 3,500.”

700-3500 dead as a result of one man’s murder, and all in a couple of days. No-one is disputing this, what happened at a Sabra and Shatila should not have happened. Period. Permission to enter the camps should never have been given by those in control of the area, the IDF and Israeli Defense Minster Ariel Sharon.

We should not remember what happened by displaying pictures of dead, mutilated bodies, claiming untruths about what happened or embellishing what happened. Renaming their killers or renaming the reason they died doesn’t show respect for those who died. Nor does using their deaths as propaganda tools. The people who died in Sabra and Shatila were worth more than to be used as dead meat to fuel a campaign of hatred in a conflict they really didn’t have anything to do with.

If the deaths of 700-3500 (PLO illegal combatants not counted) are to have any meaning at all, we need to give them back their dignity, by restoring the truth about what happened and bring those directly and indirectly responsible to justice.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

G-d, Forgiveness and The Days of Awe

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 19, 2007


burning-candles_0preview.jpg

Forgiveness
By Jay Litvin
————-

“These were the days before Yom Kippur. I was lonely and couldn’t figure out why. The loneliness had been there for months.

Things were good with my wife and kids. I’d been on the phone with my sisters and in close contact with my friends.

So, what was the source of this loneliness?

I was missing G-d.

I was and had been feeling distant from Him. A strange feeling for me. Even in my late teens I had been able to connect with Him when I needed to. He always answers my calls. Sometimes I don’t even need to call. I just feel his companionship as I journey through life.

But these last months had been lonely. I had been separate from Him, unable even to call out. And I didn’t know why.

Just before Yom Kippur, I received an e-mail from a friend. He’s not a religious Jew, though we discourse often about G-d and Torah. He’s a writer and has a way with words. We also share the same disease, and talk much about our symptoms, history, fears, treatments and aches. There’s a special something that happens with people who share the same disease. We never have to worry about boring each other. All our concerns and obsessions about the daily changes in our health or symptoms, our latest internet discoveries about new cures and clinical trials may bore others, but are continuously fascinating to us.

At the end of this email my friend wrote: “Jay, this Yom Kippur, I don’t think you should go to shul and ask G-d for forgiveness. This Yom Kippur you should stay home and G-d should come crawling on His knees and beg you to forgive Him for what He’s done to you.”

When I read these lines I laughed. My friend is a sacrilegious provocateur. He believed what he said, but he mainly wrote those words to shock me. I filed his words, but paid them little attention.

As Yom Kippur drew close, I continued to wonder what was taking place between G-d and me. I worried that this day of prayer and fasting would be void of the usual connection that Yom

And then in a flash I realized that I was angry at G-d. And had been for some time. I was angry about my disease and I was angry that I was not yet healed. I was angry about my pain. And I was angry at the disruption to my life, the fear, the worry and anxiety that my disease was causing my family and those who loved and cared about me. I was angry about the whole thing, and He, being the boss of everything that happens in the world, was responsible and to blame.

And so, I entered Yom Kippur angry at G-d.

I put on my kittel and my tallit and I went to shul.”(excerpt from very long article)

I can’t help but feel that this is very apt for me, and I am sure for many in Recovery – one reason we have trouble working the Steps that includes G-d. We are angry with G-d, we feel that G-d has deserted us, cheated us, let us face all kinds of horrible things alone, and you know what?

He has. We have every right to be angry at Him.

But that is not the end of the story. Eventually we realize that what we have been through, as horrible as it was (and still is for many) it has also made us the persons we are today. We have picked some very useful skills, that perhaps originally were meant to protect us as children. Most of what we learned as children is not useful to us as adults.

Hyper vigilance f.i is not useful – but if we look at hyper vigilance we see that trimmed down to functional levels through the Program, it is nothing but a very keen sense of observation, an eye for detail and context – that is useful.

My wife said that being bullied in school has taught her compassion.

My need for control has resulted in a very neat skill – I can read virtually any document up-side down. Being dyscalculic has given me a very good memory for numbers. The fact that my caregivers never bothered to teach me things means that I have a knack for learning by watching others do, this helps me when I need to learn complicated sequences, something I have trouble with because of my dyscalculia.

So while G-d let us go through all the crap, and it wasn’t fair, and we have every right to be angry with Him, at one point or other we have to let G-d off the hook for His shortcomings, because it has made us who we are – and who we are is good, perfectly imperfect and as it should be. As much as we need G-d to reason with us, as much do we need to reason with G-d, so that scarlet and crimson can become snow white and as wool (Yeshayahu 1:18)

The Days of Awe and Yom Kippur is as good a time as any to start.
Amen

copyright Henric C. Jensen

Posted in angry at G-d, Forgiveness, G-d, missing G-d, The Days of Awe, Yom Kippur | 1 Comment »

 
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