Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lebanon Links

I'm so appalled by what's happening in Lebanon that I'm finding it nigh unto impossible to even give words to my thoughts. Here are a couple of links if you would like to do some looking of your own: The BBC News Service has quite a lot of good, in-depth information. Also check out their articles on what's going on in the Gaza Strip. The suffering that these people are experiencing is just unimaginable. For a close-to-home perspective, check out Shannon's blog. Shannon is the close friend of my close friend Sammy, whom some of you will remember as The Pregnant Bridesmaid at our wedding last year. Shannon's father is Lebanese, and she has family living in the south of Lebanon, some frighteningly near the now-famous village of Qana. I understand not wanting some militant group to keep lobbing missiles over your border. Gotta be frustrating. But Israel's claim that they need to protect their civilians from this threat just doesn't ring true to me anymore. The last numbers I saw said that around 55 Israelis had been killed in recent weeks, about half of whom were soldiers. At least 550 Lebanese have been killed, and no-one knows how many of these may have been fighters (though I think we can rule out the children). A ten-to-one ratio! Similarly, I saw an Israeli government spokeswoman on television the other night pitying her countrywomen who she said had been living in bomb shelters for the past couple weeks. Yup, that'd be tough. But does that frustration, inconvenience and yes, fear, compare to the suffering of the 750,000 refugees north of the border fleeing for their lives? I'm not so sure. I think that a lot of Americans support Israel so unconditionally because they equate this modern-day country with the ancient people. I don't happen to agree with this. But supposing this is the case, I don't recall that God let his people get away with injustice in anient days, either. The book in the Bible written by the prophet Isaiah has a beautiful message of warning:
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it. The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
Clearly, God wasn't thrilled with injustice and bloodshed. Another prophet gives a similar message in much shorter form:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

How hard is this stuff, anyway?


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