The Intersection of the American Civil War and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
BY ANDRÉ FRENCH
In light of the celebratory atmosphere surrounding Spielberg’s Lincoln, and the disturbing atmosphere surrounding the UN’s declaration of statehood to Hamas harboring Palestine…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about Lincoln, slavery and the civil war. I’ve been reflecting on the price of preserving the union and freeing the slaves, the toll it took in human lives and constitutional rights. I’ve been thinking about the prejudice, the generational racism that was shared not only by those in the South but a great many in the North. The fact that emancipation was not the same as citizenship or suffrage or the full and necessary endowing of human dignity. So great was the sour sentiment against the black man, so condescending the national climate, that the very act of emancipating the slave and reconstructing a country that included that slave could not have come without seemingly shaking heaven and earth. It wouldn’t be until a century later, that Republicans and northern Democrats passed the Civil Rights Act. Such is the entrenchment of the generational sin of racism. Reversing such a curse comes at an unfathomable cost.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about Israel, anti-semitism and her neighbor’s addiction to war in the Middle East. I’ve been reflecting on the price she has paid to possess the land she owned long before it was renamed Syria Palaestina and eventually Palestine by those that conquered and colonized it. I’ve been thinking about the racism, the generational hatred of the Jew by the Arab and the Persian (Iran). The fact that, to Israel’s enemies, most of whom are Muslim, the Jew is a dog. But in Israel, the citizen Palestinian, the Arab, the Persian and the Muslim enjoy the same rights the Jew does, including the right to hold office. I’ve been mourning years of verbal and physical threats to drive every last Jew into the sea. More than a few generations have stirred the cauldron of this lethal animosity. Today’s hatred and brutality is the fruit of well over a millennia, and is part of the curriculum in many Islamic schools today. How does one reverse such a curse?
If it took the bloodiest of wars to light the fuse that would eventually free the white man, enslaved by prejudice for his brother, if it took the shaking of heaven and earth to guarantee the liberty and the citizenship and the voting and bathroom rights of the black man, what will it take for justice and freedom to come to the Middle East? Will it come by edict? Really? Will it come by the count of yeas and neas, the pound of a gavel and the stroke of a pen? Will it come by a war between the states? The Arab states and Iran… and Israel? The Islamic states… and the Jewish state? Can centuries of hate be undone in a day or a year or a decade?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I’ve been thinking that thinking seems less fruitful than praying, perhaps even futile. Because without God’s merciful hand, given man’s capacity for hate and his unwillingness to acknowledge it, none of us have a prayer.
~André French © 2012
The Moral Liberal recommends: Lincoln, Speeches and Writings (2 Volume Set) : Vol I: 1832-1858 (Speeches, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings, The Lincoln-Douglas Debates) ; Vol II: 1859-1865, (Speeches, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings Presidential Messages and Proclamations)
The Moral Liberal Guest Writer, André French, is a husband and father of three from Sharon Springs, NY. He is a small business owner, musician, songwriter, and worship leader, and writes regularly on history, politics, culture, faith, and family.