From the President of Disciples Home Missions…
Written by the Rev. Dr. Ron Degges, President of Disciples Home Missions
This essay originally appeared on the DHM blog.
There is a moving passage in the book, The Lemon Tree, about reasons why we build walls around us. The author describes Israel’s “security barrier” which separates the West Bank from Israel and the West Bank from itself.
Author, Sandy Tolan, describes the barrier this way:
Construction for the barrier had begun in 2002 and would include six thousand workers digging trenches, stringing razor wire, erecting guard posts, laying concrete and installing tens of thousands of electronic sensors. Part wall, part electrified fence, the construction project would cost $1.3 billion, or more than $3 million per mile. ‘The sole purpose of the fence,’ Israel declared, ‘is to provide security’ in response to ‘the horrific wave of terrorism emanating from the West Bank.’
In response to the erection of the “security barrier,” Palestinian Journalist, Nidal Rafa, reflects: “They are building the wall so they don’t have to look into our eyes.”
Whether it be Israel/Palestine, or Berlin, or North and South Korea, or the United States/Mexican border, walls, demilitarized zones, and security barriers never provide an answer or solution to a problem. They only complicate the situation and lead to greater distrust and growing discontent among the people. You cannot keep a cat in a bag any more than you can keep a wall standing. Cats will scratch their way out of confining bags just as humans who are separated from their families, land, life, and liberty, will topple down those walls and cross over those zones established to keep them out. The forces of unity and wholeness are always pushing against walls, demilitarized zones, and security barriers to usher in that day to come when we can look one another in the eyes and find a respectful and lasting solution to all that ails us.
I pray for the day to come where the only barriers that are erected are barriers that encircle all of us. This is the vision of our Disciples poet, Edwin Markham, who wrote in the poem, “Outwitted”:
He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!
Rather than shutting one another out, let’s take one another in. Rather than building walls, let’s look into one another’s eyes. The world will be a better place because we did!
For more information about The Lemon Tree and other recommended reading on the Middle East, click here.