Blood Is Being Shed Everywhere

By Father John Walsh on February 2, 2013

The Vietnam War, in the late 1960’s, was the first time that war was transmitted via television into our living rooms.  We had to judge whether or not the shedding of the blood of another human being was acceptable.  Had we forgotten fratricide in the biblical story of Cain and Abel?  

What about the jealousy of blessing in the intrigue of Jacob and Esau?  In the end, the American people confronted their beliefs and values and eventually judged that the war had to be terminated.  

The words of the constitution were fully respected: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.  In the light of the travesties of justice throughout the world we the people of the world must unite to bring justice and create a world order in which freedom reigns. 

Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration represents an attempt to establish a shared ethical framework for all peoples of the world across religious lines. Drafted by Dr. Hans Küng and promulgated by the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, the document was presented to the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in September 1993, where over 200 religious authorities from more than 40 faith traditions signed their agreement. It has since been signed by thousands more religious leaders and individuals across the globe. 

The basic points of the proposed ethic are non-violence, economic justice, tolerance, and equality.  It begins: The world is in agony. The agony is so pervasive and urgent that we are compelled to name its manifestations so that the depth of this pain may be made clear.  The lead sentence is: Peace eludes us – the planet is being destroyed – neighbours live in fear – women and men are estranged from each other – children die!  This is abhorrent.  

A few years ago it was brought to the attention of the world that the mining of diamonds was at the expense of destroying the environment and shedding the blood of innocent people.  The title of the movie was Blood Diamonds.  

What about the mining of Coltan?   It is the black gold of the Congo.  Warlords control the delivery of coltan from the mines to small villages from which it is transported by planes to larger centres and eventually worldwide.  Coltan is a mineral required for every cell phone to function.  The story is scandalous.  Abbé Jean Bosco preaches against the atrocities associated with the mining of coltan at the peril of his own life.  He asks: How can humans behave this way?  Do they have a conscience when rape is the weapon of mass destruction ... some women have been raped by forty men at a time.  One warlord presents himself as an advocate of Christian justice but his religion is a syncretism of what gives him the authority to protect the land and to be armed against any threat to his operation.  

A close associate is a woman who says she had intended to join the Benedictine Sisters.  The reality is that the mineral mining funds permanent war.  The Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda spills over into the Congo as the rebels are those who were involved in the Rwanda genocide.  The shedding of blood continues with Blood Coltan.  All over the world cellphones are replacing land phones.  Would our involvement in Blood Colton be different if every time we opened our cellphone two drops of blood were to drip out?  

Father Ernest Schibli of Montreal has just returned from a tour of South America.  He adds:  “In the past twenty years, Latin American governments have granted mining licenses to western-owned corporations to search for gold, silver, and other precious metals. All too often, these mines, frequently open pit gold mines, are on land either owned by indigenous peoples or so close to their settlements that they can cause illness to humans and animals and/or destruction of the natural environment. Unfortunately, despite international and national laws, there has been little consultation with the people affected. This has led to an increasing number of disputes between the local people and the mining company involved. The rape and murder of people protesting the mines is becoming more frequent. In countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Ecuador, there are numerous disputes. Companies, often Canadian,  make huge profits while the local people suffer.”  
The cause of the shedding of blood is not far from home.



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