NOTE: This is a late post, drafted almost 2 years ago.
PEACE: Shalom, Sala’m, Kalinaw, Kapayapaan, Kappia, Salaam, Pax, Paz, Pake, Vrede, Selam, Patz, Pasch, Fred, Samaya, Shanti, Pakigdait, He Ping, Emem, etc… is always elusive to the people of the world! Empires have their own language for peace and it means always: war, land occupation, land aggression, oppression, to name a few.
Biblical peace is always anchored in justice. And it is always in the perspective of the victims, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the dehumanized, the despised, the weak, and all those people denied to live peacefully as human beings in their lands, those people whose source of living are taken forcibly away from them. Why it is so difficult to understand the meaning and the essence of peace when all religions and faith communities speak about peace? I remember one of my professors in the seminary said, “It all depends what lens you are using” in understanding peace. People of the world can never be united because we have always taken a side… and mostly it is more or less subjective and favorable not to the victims but to the perpetrators who describe and set the standard of understanding peace in a world of un-peace.
For the past two days, we received ALERT’s information on various demolition throughout the West Bank: residences, business structures, cow farm, dairy factory, a Bedouin community, among others. We were told that during the Israeli “Protective Edge” war against Gaza, less or no demolition happened in the West Bank. However, with the current situation of “truce” in Gaza and the Israeli soldiers are back, demolition is almost happening everyday.
We visited a village the other day and saw what left from the demolition last Monday afternoon. Nothing is seen standing of the remains. Tent-houses, kitchens, toilets, tent for the sheep, tent for the supplies and all the rest were all destroyed. Three families were victims of sudden demolition. Both families were with their elderly/parents aged 64 and 60 and children as young as 4 year old. In a makeshift tent, the Ecumenical Accompaniers were served and offered tea, part of the Palestinian tradition.
What is peace then for those victims of state violence and all forms of violence afflicting not only adults, elderly but children, as well. not? Peace, peace… how elusive!