Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: John Dear on Nonviolence As Call for Everyone, Matthew Pulver on U.S. Complicity in Assassination of Oscar Romero

Father John Dear on the . . . odd and capricious . . . way in which mainstream news commentators chide protesters in places like Baltimore and Ferguson about nonviolence, while totally ignoring the massive violence practiced by those with real power in our society: 

I’ve been teaching and speaking about nonviolence full time for thirty five years, traveled through warzones, been imprisoned for civil disobedience and written thirty books on the subject, yet I still find it appalling to hear national news anchors, such as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, show outrage to Baltimore protesters. “Aren’t you nonviolent?” Wolf Blitzer asked. He and all the other national news anchors need to ask that of our elected officials and military leaders--but they never do. People on the streets are expected to follow a code of nonviolence (and I believe they should)---but government and military officials never have to. They can kill two million people in Iraq and hundreds of thousands in Afghanistan, yet they remain exempt from decent human nonviolence. No one is above the fray. No one is exempt from the code of nonviolence. It applies to every human being equally.

Matthew Pulver on who trained the death-squad goons who shot Oscar Romero down at the altar after he had defended the poor in El Salvador:

Washington's culpability in the assassination of Saint Romero doesn’t necessarily depend on an explicit order to carry out the hit. The general directive is enough: These were Washington's guys doing what Washington needed in the region to maintain capitalist control. Romero is only one of the more than 75,000 who died in El Salvador during the period when the "fragmentation of any opposition or dissident movement by means of arbitrary arrests, murders and selective and indiscriminate disappearances of leaders became common practice" of Washington-backed soldiers, according to the UN Truth Commission's report. The report continues: "Organized terrorism, in the form of the so-called 'death squads', became the most aberrant manifestation of the escalation of violence…The murder of Monsignor Romero exemplified the limitless, devastating power of these groups."

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