A Cry for Action to Oppose Cold, Corporate Fascism
By Lazar Puhalo, Archbishop, Canadian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The categorical imperative of Jesus Christ was to cherish and nourish your neighbour as yourself.
I wonder why our parliamentarians can hear every murmur and whisper from the White House, but they cannot hear the wails and cries of mothers watching their children die of starvation and preventable diseases throughout the world.
I wonder how long we can claim to be a civilized society when we do not respect even the most fundamental obligations of civilization. I wonder how many of the people here will hear all these speeches today and then go away and do nothing.
Resistance is everywhere, especially in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls. Resistance to doing the things we claim we believe in. Resistance to taking the action we encourage others to take.
Resistance to follow through on the things our conscience tells us we should follow through on. So long as we do not overcome that resistance within ourselves, we will have no impact on the world around us.
Brothers and sisters, we are headed for a cold, corporate fascism in this world.
What good is it to liberate some women in some country and stand by and watch poverty, exploitation, denigration of human beings and human values continue around us?
What good is it for us, the Americans, anybody, to spend billion of dollars on Star Wars when all their powers, and all their nuclear weapons were useless against a few box-cutters, and a few daggers?
What good is it for us who claim to be moving towards world peace, justice and respect of all humanity; to give speeches, and publish leaflets, and make statements if it becomes totally useless against the forces moving in the opposite direction?
We have to examine ourselves. We say we need a peace force, not a police force, but so many in the peace movement, like Christian missionaries around the world, have simply been subversive. We have to stop being subversive ourselves if we want nations to stop being subversive.
Are we going to follow through, all of us gathered here? It's not enough to write to parliamentarians. It's not enough to demand of our parliamentarians that they answer to us. There has to be a fundamental change of mentality. If that fundamental change of mentality is going to have any impact on society, it has to begin with us.
We cannot just be here simply because we are protest groupies. We cannot just be here because we like to hear some unpleasant thing about our neighbor to the South. We have to be here because we are determined to make a substantial change in the way the business of life has been carried on.
Everyone can hear when somebody says we'll have tax cuts. How many people here can hear when 200 - 300 children a day are starving today in Iraq? How many people hear that the Kosovo Liberation Army is forcing young girls into prostitution and that the UN troops are lining up to sexually abuse them?
How many people hear these cries of all these people around the world who have no voice?
We can stand here and speak all day long. We have a voice. But if we don't stick together and follow through on what we're talking about and what we are professing, those without a voice will continue to have no voice and all the death and destruction will continue. And we'll worry about whether or not we can buy a new car next year, when there are mothers who would give their own life for a mouth full of rice for their children. All those children are dying because NATO wills it so.
Don't just come here and listen to these speeches and go away and do nothing. We've done so much nothing in this world. Let it somehow go into your hearts and your consciences that you have to stick with it and we have to stick together. We have to try to have an impact first of all by having an impact within ourselves. We're not just trying to get parliamentarians to defend Canadian sovereignty. We're trying to get parliamentarians to become human beings.
Promise yourselves at least that you are going to stick with it when you leave here, that you're going to make it meaningful, that you're going to mean what you say. We must all mean what we say. We must stick together regardless of our political party, regardless of our religion, our race, our nationality, the way we dress, and then we'll have an impact on the society around us by trying to change the way other people think and the hearts and consciences of other people.
Source: Presentatation at the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade's Vigil for Nonviolence, Oct. 6, 2001, in Ottawa.