Friday, June 14, 2024 | Dhu al-hijjah 7, 1445 H
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No one’s crying for Jenin

It is easy to write an article or issue a statement condemning the massacres so as to be on the same wavelength with others while relaxing at home with your family

The West Bank city of Jenin is the economic powerhouse of Palestine and one of the oldest cities in the region. A city that is mentioned in the three monotheistic religions. Jenin refugee camp was set up in 1953 following the Palestinian Catastrophe (Nakba).

The name of Jenin camp was associated with the humanitarian tragedies of today’s world, the tragedies of children, women and the elderly. It was a tragedy of humankind regardless of their faith, identity or race. Among the bitterest of these tragedies was the Jenin massacre that took place on April 11, 2002. These humanitarian catastrophes reoccur with the latest of which occurred at the end of last week resulting in the Jerusalem operation.

This is no longer a national or religious cause but rather a humanitarian issue. Hence, the whole world should move to safeguard humanity there. They are human beings like us. Do they not deserve the right to security, justice and dignified life like other people?

I do not want to be too emotional but such tragic events and recurring massacres, emotions prevail over reasoning and that is logical as bloody events displace the mind and substitute it by emotion as everybody becomes obsessed with the killing of others as if we are living in a forest and not a human world.

Essentially, the religions do not call for the killing or persecution of the different ones. Religions contain some texts that, when construed literally and superficially, will change the world into a place where people kill each other and there will be bloodbaths in the name of the religion.

Once I visited Compassionate DFW in Dallas and met with its chair Charles Barker, a Protestant Christian. He founded it out of the belief that in one way or another we should feel the pain of others and dispose of egoism and remember that many people are deprived of the basic human rights and that we should lend them a helping hand. We had already lost the battle of hatred, which has become ubiquitous among people, however we should not surrender to despair but keep on confronting hatred and replace it with love and peaceful coexistence.

The religious texts, particularly the Old Testament, were a cause for struggle and hatred among people. Still religions also carry the ideas of love and peace. The old religious texts either call for struggle and hatred or love and peace. The religious texts that call for hatred and struggle were dedicated to the past and are not valid for our present time whereas the love and peace texts are meant for the contemporary era.

The Old Testament is teeming with texts that urge the believers to murder others including women and children. So did the New Testament: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” -- Matthew 10:34.

The Holy Quran says: "And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." -- Surah At-Tawbah, Verse 5.

These books are the shapers of the collective mind of the four religions of this calamitous region namely: Samaritanism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We should be aware that these are procedural verses that are linked to a specific time and place and not absolute verses and should be fathomed within a certain historic context.

The employment of the religious text to justify murder is not confined to the Jews but also Christians specially the Catholics and Protestants sometimes on the pretext of the arrival of a Savior and other times on the allegation that Jesus will emerge triumphant from the battle of Armageddon to assume full terrestrial authority.

Presently, we are in dire need of more reason. It is easy to write an article or issue a statement condemning the massacres so as to be on the same wavelength with others while relaxing at home with your family. In the meantime, people are being slain and displaced and suffering from cold and hunger. This is why nobody is crying for Jenin and Palestine.

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