Being Real

No one would really confuse a Catholic Worker type with a real ghetto person, and no one would really confuse you with a real impoverished hillbilly. You may identify with them, but they do not identify with you.
–Theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether to monk Thomas Merton, mid -1960s

 

We may identify with Palestinians in the refugee camps
Or in Israel
Or in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem

Or the Iraqis
The Afghans
The Pakistanis

And maybe some of them would identify with us
If they learned that we
(Like them)

Had done something that really touched the nerve
Of the powers and principalities here
And that led us to experience

(Like them)
Loss of employment
Relentless hostility

Physical harm
Imprisonment
Deportation

Death

The Salvadoran campesinos told the U.S. Jesuit priest
“We’ve enjoyed your company with us
We know what we need to do here

What you can do for us
Is go back to your country
Where the bombs are made

That fall on us
Take care of that
If you want to help us”

So he has tried
And has been in and out of prison
(Like them)

For 12 years
For denying the dictates of the Idol
For resisting the war-making state

A teammate and I were walking down a street in Rafah
We evidently stood out and people came to ask us
Why we were there

We told them we were with
The ISM
Immediately the people said with excited respect:

“Yes, Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie!”
Who had been bulldozed to death 8 months before

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