Monday, October 16, 2006

DARFUR: Lazarus' Soup, are we obliged to spit in it? As brothers and sisters, are we morally obliged?

Lazarus (New Testament) was a person of means that stepped over those in need. Lazarus in the case of Darfur is we-the-citizens of the world. Why? We are the UN. We are the US Gov/Congress/White House. We are the EU, the AU, NATO, supporters/customers of China / India / Malasia / Russia.... No? We-the-citizens are not these governments? Gandhi's India proved that we-the-citizens are the government beyond any question, we are.

No we-the-citizens are not responsible for the Genocide in Darfur? We-the-citizens have the Power to Protect and we do not Protect Darfur. We do Starbucks, Outback, one-day-fast-from luxuries, postcards, 3 hour no-risk demonstrations… we protect our own normal life, instead.

Will History / God / Darfuries ask us, “When your other attempts failed, why didn’t you spit in our soup, we onlookers to Genocide? Why didn’t you make our murderous neglect unpleasant for us, in time? You might have saved the souls of we neglectful onlookers. You might have Saved Darfur."

Please write to me. Daily I draw on the wisdom of Gandhi, King, Jesus, Tolstoy, Deming, Dear, Zinn... as much as I can, but I am unaware that any of them directly provided answers to this question: Are we morally obligated to spit in the soup of our dear brother Lazarus?

For the first time in my life, the question posed here, "are we obliged..." pops into my head, confronts me, and I realize that prior movements did spit in the soup of the oppressors / neglecters / torturers.... The explicit goal of our activist forefathers was to antiviolently stand for their own human rights, but they did "spit in the soup" in the process as a byproduct of their actions. It became really uncomfortable to condone or practice racism against Black Americans. The activists did make normalcy ultimately unpalatable. Are we morally obliged to do the same? Why the question? Because neglect is a much more difficult opponent to fight than the lynch mob. Dr. King, Gandhi and others were explicit on this.


ps: Having had some time to think about this today the following updates my own thoughts -

1. What is needed is to make people dissatisfied with the status quo - permitting the Genocide to continue! This is an important new insight for me. IF WE ARE NOT UPSETTING THE STATUS QUO we are not achieving the impact we need to achieve. Preferably we will make radically HEROIC LOVE overpoweringly attractive to the alternatives.
2. NOT the ideal way is any direct attempt to "spit in the soup." Indirect YES, but rather living SO HEROICALLY OUT OF LOVE that it makes our current mass, killing neglect unpalatable, HIGHLY UNPALATABLE.
3. However, is there a necessary place and time for explicitly and directly "spitting in the soup?" Hmmmmm. When? What conditions? Is this necessary now? HELP!!!!!



Rosemary said...

Unless you are using "spitting in the soup" as a metaphore, no. I do not see what good that would do in an antiviolent cause.

I have avoided buying anything from China (except this computer) since Tienenmin Square in 1989. (June) I have so many places I am boycotting that my brother has asked me to make a list so he does not get me anything from any of them!

I just wish I knew the answers. The only one I can come up with is, "Two wrongs never do make a right."

Jay McGinley said...

Dear sister Rosemary,

This dreadful phrase is an old one and certainly it is meant as a metaphore. I wish I had thought of a better one.

As Dr. King said so correctly, "The end is pre-existant in the means." Yes, you are correct that two wrongs cannot make a right. But the truth is that an "unpleasant," a "spoiling the party" can make a right if the "party" is inhumane. Our Father is I am certain horrified that we go on here in the US with our "normal lives" while family Darfur is exterminated. Would He consider it wrong to upset the "party" here, the status quo? Jesus flipped the tables in the temple.

Rosemary said...

I agree that spoiling the "party" for what is right and pure and just is the absolute correct thing to do. I also know that when one stands up for what is right, they must be willing to fight the battle of climbing that very steep hill.

We are on that hill, and we are climbing. :)

Jay McGinley said...

Rosemary, you inspire my climb. jay

Rosemary said...

It may be steep
It may be lonely
It may frustrated you
But you are never alone.

Climb, my dear friend, climb!
If need be, one inch at a time.
Persue that which is Holy
And right and decent and pure.

Be a voice in the wilderness
One that many may ignore
But the ones who hear you
Shall be saved.

We cannot save them all
Should we not try to save those we can?
I say, "YES" to this very effort.
I say, "Climb ever higher, touch the sky, save Darfur."