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Standing in Truth

Our hearts have been breaking over current events in Palestine and Israel, and we constantly ask ourselves what is our responsibility, what can we do? There is so much pain.


I'm proud of all our friends who have been out in the streets from London to Los Angeles, or sharing the truth of what is happening by any means possible, or contacting their representatives in government.

 

In the face of such egregious evil, I try to remember the principles of our tradition. We might choose to respond through peaceful, dignified protest, boycotts, and social media posts that expose the injustices. Trauma begets trauma. Hatred of anyone poisons us and accomplishes the opposite of what is hoped for. We can, however, take a clear stand for peace and against crimes enacted against humanity. We can contact our representatives and demand an immediate ceasefire, the end of apartheid conditions in the occupied territories, and equal rights for all, in respect for the dignity of each human being, no matter who they are.

 

In the US you can start here:

 

In the UK you can start here:

 

During recent months I have participated in two international gatherings of religious leaders who are focusing on the de-weaponization of religion and identity. At this time wars are raging in at least 30 countries around the world, and there is a need for political awareness, medical and humanitarian relief across borders, and abundant prayers.

 

I had tried to craft a message beyond all arguments and plant seeds of sacred meaning from the highest spiritual perspective. My speeches at the “International Summit of Religious Authorities,” Jakarta, Indonesia and “The Future of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Princeton University were an effort to formulate the most essential values that are needed at this time in history: the uncompromising recognition of human dignity and the sacred dimension of life. Perhaps those speeches will contribute to a long-term vision of a world in which human dignity is protected, and sacred humanness can prevail over all that is anti-human. But at this time we are faced with immediate and urgent demands on our consciences.


Seventy-five years after the formulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that followed the vast slaughter and barbarity of the Second World War, the world is facing an era of lawlessness, political hypocrisy, media censorship, blind vengeance, failed leadership, and hyper-militarization. Humanity is confronted by converging environmental, medical, moral, and spiritual crises. Many feel we are facing a civilizational crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

 

The industrial-scale violence in Gaza challenges our hearts and minds with its sheer inhumanity. The people of Gaza have endured with immense courage and dignity.



In November, the UNRWA backed a call for an "immediate humanitarian cease-fire," a permanent cessation of violence, to stop what it has called the "horrific" and "unacceptable" killing of civilians. Yet, the war has continued, and a huge majority of the population of Gaza have been forced from their homes and are refugees with minimal access to food, shelter, or medical supplies or care. We have heard from friends who have family there, in the refugee camps in Rafah for instance, that many have no access to their usual medications and so are dying as a result; mothers are having to give birth on the ground with no anesthetics, in terribly squalid conditions; 10,000 people are using one bathroom. The Qur’an in Sūrah al-Ma’idah, (ayat 8), advises Muslims, and in fact all people of faith: “Bear witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious.”  

 

We are shocked to our core over the injustice, cruelty, and inhumanity of the assault on the mostly innocent and defenseless people of Gaza. We must raise our voices, never let our consciences become numb, never normalize this insanity, and speak the truth with dignity and love. As custodians of consciousness it is we who must hold a tender vision of a humanity redeemed from hatred and violence. And keep praying and holding the Light in our own hearts that we ourselves may be better instruments of Peace.

 

~ Kabir Helminski

 

[This is a personal statement; the opinions expressed belong to the individual noted and do not reflect the opinions or official position of any organization.]

 

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