Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie
  Dust unto dust
The calm sweet earth that mothers all who die
  As all men must;
Mourn not your captive comrades who must dwell
  Too strong to strive
Within each steel-bound coffin of a cell,
  Buried alive;
But rather mourn the apathetic throng
  The cowed and the meek
Who see the world's great anguish and its wrong
  And dare not speak."

--Ralph Chaplin, in The Match (Summer, 2004)

''Abu Ghraib and God's declassified papers''
Date: Friday, May 21, 2004 @ 00:05:15 CDT
Topic: Gabriel Ash

"By Gabriel Ash Columnist (United States)
( -- Because they contained forward-looking statements that might have affected history, certain chapters in the Bible were marked "Top Secret" and excised from the original. One of these chapters has now been reclassified for public view. Here it is in its entirety.
And the Lord said: who is this nation, whose good fortunes are surpassed only by its hypocrisy? Who is this nation, that preaches the world my name, whose deeds besmirch my name to the world? Who is this nation, whose coins bear my name and whose actions are stamped with the name of Caesar?
Who is this nation, whose poor are sheltered in dungeons and whose wicked are exalted in churches? Who is this nation, whose soldiers can see in the dark and whose leaders are blind in broad daylight?

Who is this nation, that joins house to house, that lays field to field, till there be no place, so that it be placed alone in the midst of the earth? Who is this nation, that would not walk behind me but fancy I walk ahead of it?
Who are these people, who demand my commandments in courtrooms and remove them from their hearts? Who are these people, who cherish the life of a fetus and spurn the life of a child? Who are these people, who feed the bloated beef and give the hungry thistles? Who are these people, who move their lips in my service and their hearts rejoice in destruction? Who are these people, whose sons are idle at the table and whose guests are working in the kitchen? Who are these people, who mistreat the foreigner, enslave the orphan, and mock the widow, trampling on my word.
Who are these people, who hang my image on their necks and their faith they put in missiles? Who are these people, whose jets are faster than sound and compassion slower than a turtle.
Who are these people, whom I sent my son to free from evil, and they fancy he came to free them for evil? Who are these people, whom I sent my son to teach my word, and they fancy he came to free them from my word?
I say therefore: They don't know me and I shall not know them.
I say therefore: The money they put my name on, I shall make worthless. The prisons they built to spurn me, I shall make my houses, and the houses they built to praise me, I shall make their prisons. The missiles they built in pride shall strike them with fear. The bombs they have made their idols shall fall and destroy their houses.
I therefore say: the fires they started shall consume them. The charity they have given, that shall be given to them, no more.
And the advocate that was sitting stood and said in front of the Lord. Aye, you will besmirch your name by your own deed. Aye, you have promised and you will have broken your promise. Aye, you will let the innocent die among the guilty, and the world will turn away from your name. Aye, Lord, let them have a warning, so that they repent and be saved. For even if there were only fifty good people in the whole of this nation, you ought to spare them, for you are justice.
Therefore, this I advise: to these people who worship images I will bring images. I will make images of their folly, pictures and videotapes of their inequities, and will give them for all to see. From the darkest prison they have made to torture you I will bring them images of your suffering. And they will see the images of your images suffering. And they will see the depth of the sickness that have taken them away from you, and they will see the depth of iniquity to which they have condemned you. And those whose hearts are closed to the word will tremble before the image.
I say that there are many good people still in this nation, and they will wear sackcloth and put ashes in their hair and come out in the streets to wail and to repent and to mend their ways and to ask for your mercy.
And the Lord said: Do as you advise. But I examine the heart. Verily I say, you shall be surprised, and not for the better. A rotten apple does not become a good apple in a good barrel, and a good apple quickly rots in a rotten barrel.
And so it was.
[Gabriel Ash was born in Romania and grew up in Israel. He is an unabashed "opssimist." He writes his columns because the pen is sometimes mightier than the sword - and sometimes not. He lives in the United States.]
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