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To Save Our Children-The Clarion Call is Not So Clear
Most Rev. Antonio Hernández

A good friend of mine travels several times a year, visiting exotic locations and meeting thousands of people. He is not a movie mogul, nor is he a mogul of any kind, for that matter. He’s an ordinary, hard working man of peace. The places he visits are places like Iraq and Iran. He goes to these places to bring supplies and some TLC to the children, and their beleaguered parents.

My friend says that wars do nothing but murder the children. Sanctions, which the United States so happily sprinkles here, there and everywhere, do a lot of the murdering that war doesn’t manage to fit into its schedule. This friend of mine lectures here at home, people attend in droves, they listen-- and that’s about it.

I’ve had several discussions with my friend, about the children of the world. Especially Iranian and Iraqi children. This man has taught me much about true peace and compassion. He doesn’t preach-- he’s not a missionary-- nor is he even a garden variety bible-thumper. He’s just a plain, simple man. A man who speaks with the Voice of the Eternal One. For me, he is lineaged among those who have been my Masters.

He snaps hundreds of photographs of the children, everywhere he goes. The children are invariably starving, crying, ill to the point of death. My friend tells us that we have done this to these children, and, knowing what I know, I know he’s right.

We stand at the brink of war. My generation thought of the "Year 2000" as THE future. We thought no war, pollution, starvation or violence would have any place in this future. Now it is 2003. How wrong we were. My friend, Chuck, is fighting hard to realize my childhood vision of a worthwhile future. He is simply saying, "Let’s stop killing children for a moment... and perhaps it will become a habit."
I told Chuck that I have met a few Iraqis, Iranians and Jordanians. Most of them deeply admire and actually like Americans. They also complain, justly, that we in America do not know what their lives are really like. After years of such conversations, I ask: How would we like it if the world hated us because President Bush is an idiot? How would we like it if the rest of the world saw us as clones of the Moron in the White House?

Yet this is what we Americans do to the peoples of the Middle East. We do have reason to fear the withering gaze of those downtrodden people: we have helped put them there. When we went to fight the Gulf War, did we not have ample means to correct those problems? Why is everyone ignoring the fact that we are the Frankenstein who created the Usama bin Laden Monster? Instead we made it all worse.

And Baby Bush is no different from Papa Bush, except perhaps by a few IQ points.
Most importantly of all, why can we not see what we are doing to the children of the world? Do American children care one whit about Middle Eastern children, when they see brave American soldiers obliterating the enemy? How can we expect ourselves to think any differently? Not so long ago, we were those American children, encouraged by earlier versions of our present adult selves.
My friend Chuck keeps on lecturing and writing Op-Eds for the paper. He keeps showing the horrible photographs, to the squeamish and indifferent alike. He keeps fighting, fighting for true peace. He knows a great secret, one he taught directly to me: our civility, our goodness, is measured by how we treat any child-- not just our own children.

By this standard, America must be the most barbaric nation on the planet.
© Rev Antonio Hernandez Feb 2003

On Chuck Barris a very dangerous mind...

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