07 January 2009

Prayer for the children of Gaza

Jeffrey Goldberg points to Bradley Burston's prayer for the children of Gaza, published in today's Haaretz. It's in the Jewish spiritual idiom, poetic and clearly heartfelt, a direct response to the war prayers famously decried by Mark Twain. But it's also just a little odd:
Almighty who makes exceptions, which we call miracles, make an exception of the children of Gaza. Shield them from us and from their own. Spare them. Heal them. Let them stand in safety. Deliver them from hunger and horror and fury and grief. Deliver them from us, and from their own.
I can guess the Almighty's response: "Let Me get this straight - you want Me to shield them from you? Could there be a more direct way to go about this, do you think?" And yet this is the conundrum of any citizen opposed to a war prosecuted by his or her democratically-elected government (as, for example, the last eight years of U.S. foreign policy). "We," the nation, are responsible for horrors, even as we, the conscience-stricken individuals, look on in horror.

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