"Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake," Pope Francis said Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. "War begets war, violence begets violence."
He is against the proposed U.S. attack on Syria and calls for peace talks and dialogue. And I support him.
It makes me wonder if women were in positions of power, instead of the countless white men who sanction these wars, if so much sacred blood would festoon the earth.
This week, in the Jewish New Year, I heard my rabbi speak about how important decisions are never easy. And, sometimes, I chide myself for seeing life in binaries, good and bad, instead of in nuance. While my rabbi supports attacking Syria, I do not. I am against using the pretext of humanitarianism. I am against death.
Why did we not intervene in Sudan when millions were slaughtered, and are murdered still? We did nothing during the Holocaust as over 6 million were burned, until we were bombed first by Japan.
If we wanted to be productive, we could follow Sweden, which always accepts far more war refugees in proportion to its size than any other country.
Swedish migration authorities recently decided that all Syrian asylum-seekers who have come to Sweden will be granted permanent residency due to continued Syrian violence. Why doesn't America open immigration doors instead of sending more missiles and bombs? After our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was Sweden which had the most flexible amnesty laws.
We now live in a political climate of warmongering. Though not all people support Congress, it is the anomalous politician who is a dove and not a hawk. If those in Congress were actively serving in the military, would they make the same choices?
Meanwhile we have epidemics of meth and cancer, resource spoilage, shameful poverty and underfunded teachers and schools in our state and country. And indigenous people on reservations across America who have still never been recognized or treated with justice -- and elders and children without dental care -- and more teenage pregnancies than any industrial country in the world, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Working in Pendleton County in the Monongahela National Forest among over 900 million acres, I see blue crayfish in the woods and dozens of varieties of trees -- cherry, chestnut, white oak, red oak, maple, sassafras, witch hazel, black locust -- that we the people enjoy and own. This makes me keenly aware of the fragility and vibrancy of nature and life, and the responsibility we have to our planet and each other to make fruitful decisions that will help, not harm coming generations in the new year.
Pope Francis echoed the words from the Book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible of beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks when he said:
"I repeat forcefully: It is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace. May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace."
Kaufman is a graduate of South Charleston High School and Brown University. She currently teaches at The Mountain Institute.