Fourteen Precepts in Fourteen Days: Day Four
Fourth: Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.
Being Peace, by Thich Nhat Hanh
That there is a global struggle for peace being waged simultaneously with this war seems to me a new phenomena, as though the world has realized that despite all assurances from the American command, wars cannot be “clean” or “surgical”, that the expectation held by the hawks that the Iraquis were simply going to lay down their arms en masse and surrender is of course, a false expectation. That there is a large voice out there, insisting that wars cause suffering, human suffering, that the front page of the Livingston Enterprise yesterday afternoon, a small-town paper in a conservative Republican state, carried a terrible photo of a wounded Iraqui girl, with a caption that told us that she didn’t know yet that her mother and sister had been killed, this seems new.
This war is a terrible thing, but that we are seeing it “live”, so to speak, that as a culture we are not turning away from this suffering, that voices have been raised to protest that violence is not the means by which to relieve the suffering of the Iraqui people, that violence cannot be the means by which to stop violence, can be the seed for a tiny hope.
And if you want to join the effort to acknowledge and relieve the suffering of kids with autism, go read Wampum’s account of the newer, even worse legislation Bill Frist is proposing to protect Eli Lilly from the consequences of using the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal. Make the calls. Write the letters. As Jim reminds us at The Rittenhouse Review, bloggers had an enormous effect on the Trent Lott situation, so now, while the nation is distracted by the war, a war Senator Frist seems to be using as cover for this legislation, we need to beat the drum, need to make the calls, need to send the faxes. Need to engage with suffering.