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Archive for January 11th, 2009

Blogger zukunftsaugen recently shared his sentiments on the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas and the growing international sentiment to cease hostilities.

zukunftsaugen quickly points out that a cease fire is not necessarily peace:

Does it mean that the Israelis should stop shooting and the Hamas faction should stop their rocket firings?  Is that peace?

And in a cease fire period, is it peace where one sides lives prosperously and the other side slowly wastes away in poverty?

I think that most people who are calling for a cease fire and peace really mean they do not want to see on their televisions or in their newspapers pictures of dead or dying children.  They do not want to see pathetically equipped hospitals unable to provide 21st century care.  They do not want to hear any more of suicide bombers or rocket firing extremists.  They want somehow to put the lid back on the Middle East mess and just have it go away.

Interestingly, his sentiments are a perfect analogue to Arakawa of Patlabor 2 and just as valid:

And yet it seems to me that the line between a just war and a unjust peace is very faint indeed. If the just war is a lie, is the unjust peace less of a lie? We are told there is peace but we look around us and even if we cannot give it words our lives tell us we cannot believe what we are being told.

In the end every war gives way to peace so-called, and every so-called peace is the dormant seed of war.

So it’s only a matter of time, til the hard reality of war sweeps away our illusion that the absence of war is peace. So I ask you again, what are we working to protect?

We enjoy peace on our T.V. screens while just outside the camera shot the war is raging. We forget we’re just a camera angle behind the battlelines. No, we don’t forget–we quite simply refuse to remember.

 

The Israel – Hamas conflict is one with the oldest historical roots, and a conflict that will not simply go away with every premature call for ceasefire. Let’s see if we can plumb the depths of this conflict in future posts (although I already feel it’s gonna be a daunting task). zukunftsaugen already hinted at the complexity of the context of this conflict:

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a conflict between these two parties and also a surrogate for other neighboring countries to express their national interests.  Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and even Iraq all have a dog in this fight. If by magic, there could be an agreement with these countries and the US, the funding that supports the arm purchases could evaporate.  The atmosphere would then be ripe for a full negotiation of all the issues supporting free Israel and free Palestinian states.  

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A continuation of our ongoing discussion on the RH bill.

Blogger Arvin Ortiz wrote a good piece on lobbying in a democracy, specifically referring to the Catholic Church lobbying for its side in the heated debate.

An excellent point made by Arvin is that although a democracy definitely allows for any group to lobby for its own interests, the Catholic Church flexing its muscles to champion its cause may be toeing the line. An example includes denial of communion to politicians favoring the bill which blogger: Pinoy Law Student criticized earlier.

My question is that while our democratic system allows for freedom of religion–does this accomodate “religious legislation”–or the encouragement of laws that favor a certain set of beliefs? Majority of Filipinos are Catholic which gives the Catholic Church tremendous influence over public sentiment, and while this is perfectly within the bounds of that freedom of religion, doesn’t lobbying for legislation in the name of Catholic beliefs potentially disparage the rights of those who are not Catholic?

Arvin links to an article of Manuel Quezon III which is an excellent commentary on religious freedom, separation of Church and State, and freedom of conscience which (admit it or not) lies at the heart of this ongoing debate.

If our secular state treads carefully so as to ensure that religious freedom (and freedom of conscience) is respected, particularly in the case of religious practices by minorities, it is less careful about the religion practiced by the majority of Filipinos. This is what sets the question of the separation of Church and State with regard to the Catholic hierarchy apart—it is the dominant religion, with a claim to the minds and hearts of a majority of our fellow citizens. The faith and morals of Catholics happen to be the articles of faith of the majority—and we are a nation that subscribes to the principle that questions of policy and leadership are best solved by invoking majority rule.

When the faith and morals, then, of the majority are endangered by what are perceived as minority-inspired proposals, what alternative does the majority have but to mobilize the faithful?

Fair enough that Catholics far outnumber any other religious denomination–but for me this numerical advantage should not make it easier for the Catholic Church to lobby for its prescribed morality and legislation furthering those ends. This is the essence of religious freedom.

MLQ3’s last statement sums it up nicely:

But it is fair and just to remind the hierarchy and the rest of the Catholic citizenry that our Republic does not exist for Catholics alone, and this means that their faith and morals cannot be made the exclusive basis for state policy.

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