19 May 2021
Dear Companions on the Path,
I will never forget the look of sorrow in my father’s eyes. “They are destroying the Palestinians’ olive trees,” he said. For him, those trees were living symbols of endurance and hope. He had seen the horrors of the Second World War, and had fought for the survival and freedom of the Jewish people and other minorities in Europe. Noor had given her life. Now, my father reflected, the cycle of trauma was cascading and encompassing a new population in its crushing wake, the people of Palestine.
In recent weeks Palestinians have been protesting the forced expulsion of Arab families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. Over three nights at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa mosque during prayers. In the horrendous, avoidable, and asymmetrical military exchange that has ensued, 212 people have been killed in Gaza, including 58 children, and twelve people have been killed in Israel, including two children.
Our hearts are lashed. We are lifting up ardent prayers for peace. An immediate ceasefire is needed. Equally necessary is a lasting peace founded on equity, justice, and goodwill.
“Humanity is one body,” said Murshid. “If part of the body is in pain, sooner or later the whole body is affected. No nation, race, or community can be considered as a separate part of humanity.”
There is enormous work to do to heal the rifts within our shared humanity so that we can be collectively whole. That work begins with the sober and clear-sighted recognition of one another’s rights and dignity. No longer may the “other” be brusquely swept aside or systematically humiliated. From Turtle Island to East Turkestan, from Tigray to Jerusalem and Gaza, it is urgently imperative that we learn to live together with respect.
In the Holy Land there is much about the political context that is contested and complex. But there is an axiom on which we can all surely agree: when innocent lives are taken, when violence is inflicted on beings that bear the breath of the All-Merciful, the very throne of God shakes.
This Sunday we will not hold our weekly Nature Meditations class as usual. Instead, we will gather for a contemplative conversation on Race, Equity, Justice, and Love, with our eyes and hearts turned to Palestine and Israel. I hope you will join us.
May Love’s victory come soon, and with it, awakened justice.
Race, Justice, Equity & Love Forum
“Palestine & Israel”
Sunday, May 23rd, 3-4:30 pm EDT / 9-10:30 pm CET
(In lieu of our weekly Nature Meditations class)
Special guests to be announced.
See here for our Zoom Link
The Zephyr is a monthly newsletter of Inayatiyya, an interfaith mystical fellowship with branches worldwide. For more information on our activities, please visit inayatiyya.org
Image Credit: Vincent van Gogh Olive Orchard 1889