by: Rabbi Arthur Waskow on July 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment »
I spent several days last week in Mississippi:
- Mourning the murders of three young men fifty years ago;
- Celebrating a Mississippi that today is very different;
- Facing the truth that Earth and human communities – especially, still, those of color and of poverty – are being deeply wounded by the Carbon Pharaohs’ exploitation and oppression;
- Talking/working toward a future of joyful community in which Mother Earth and her human children can live in peace with each other in the embrace of One Breath.
And then, a few days later, came the news of the murders of three young men just weeks ago – three Israeli youngsters, their bodies, like those of Mickey Schwerner, Andy Goodman, and James Earl Chaney, hidden while the search went forward for them.
But not only them. The violent deaths of young Palestinian boys and men as well, during the Israeli Army crackdown on the West Bank. Their mothers also mourning. As the New York Times reported the day before the three Israeli bodies were discovered:
Most Israelis see the missing teenagers as innocent civilians captured on their way home from school, and the Palestinians who were killed as having provoked soldiers. Palestinians, though, see the very act of attending yeshiva in a West Bank settlement as provocation, and complain that the crackdown is collective punishment against a people under illegal occupation.
Is there a danger of “moral relativism” in mentioning these deaths together? Is the cold-blooded murder of three hitchhiking youngsters morally equivalent to killings carried out by angry, frightened soldiers faced with a protesting mob? At the individual level, No.
But at the level of public policy, there is also no moral equivalence between a cold-blooded military occupation and the impotent rage of the occupied.
Above all, there is no “relativism” in the tears of mothers.