This image is of the Arabic letter ‘N’ or ‘nun’. It was painted on the houses of Christians in Iraq as a mark for their annihilation. It has been taken up as a symbol of solidarity and identifying with the victims, by those on Facebook and Twitter. Please change your profile pics to show that you stand with our brother and sisters in Iraq and Syria.
I have been reading a little of Martin Luther King’s wisdom of late and it seemed very pertinent to the current violence flashing on our screens. His words I think speak to us today, as Followers of the Way and the need for non-violent action.
- ISIS murder school children in Iraq – Michael Mannheimer
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate…
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” MLK.
When I look at the lives of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Sophie Scholl and Martin Luther King I see from their example that it was not enough to be called, one had to act. It was not enough to desire peace, or justice one had to ‘be’ peace and justice in the world.
We can desire to be different, to create something out of kilter with a twisted reality, but if that desire never leaves the heart, or the studio, or the writer’s garret, then it is of no effect.
Whilst I continue to wrestle with the God East of Eden, the times we live in not only call for us to think differently, but to ACT differently. We may plant seeds, we may even have the water to nurture them, but now is the time for God to give the increase or quit complaining about the darkness. I do not mean this as a flip comment, but as a heart-felt need for a call to action, for the public gifts to make their way to the marketplace and for us to be a part of the ‘conversation’, which we cannot be, when held in glorious isolation. What I’ve heard and what I’ve written, in secret, I now want the opportunity to shout it from the rooftops.
This article first appeared in the Arts Mentoring Group blog. Since that time we have become more aware of the violence in Iraq against Christians. Daughters (aged 7, 8, 9) have been forced to convert to Islam and marry ISIS Jihadists. Mothers have been raped and fathers hanged.
Change through violence will only proliferate the violence, it will not end in peace. Hatred is not a seed planted in the hope that justice will grow. Hate will bring hate. The wisdom of Martin Luther King rings in my ears.
We cannot respond with violence, we cannot afford the collateral damage of those who are already the victims of violence. Spread the word about our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, write to your politicians. Use your social media feeds to make people aware of this Christian Genocide. Sign any e-petitions calling for your government to act. Donate to Aid organisations at work in Iraq and Syria.
Peace be with you,