|Script to be Read for Crucified Victims and Desecrated Earth
Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the Crucifixion and death of Jesus. Today, vast numbers of God's global family experience a modern form of crucifixion as they are crucified to a cross of war, militarism, and economic exploitation. In the crucified people of our world we see the crucified face of Jesus. Today, we remember the victims who have been and continue to be crucified and deemed expendable, and call for an immediate end to their crucifixion. We also pray for an end to the desecration of our sacred earth.
Crucified person #1--Iraq war victim
For over twenty years the U.S. waged an unrelenting war against Iraq. We pray for the over 2 millions Iraqis who have died since 1991--crucified to a cross of bombings, sanctions, invasion and occupation. We repent for destroying an entire society and traumatizing a generation of Iraqis. We pray for the countless millions injured and the over 4 million displaced. Although most U.S. military personnel have left Iraq, the effects of a brutal U.S. military intervention will never be over for the Iraqi people. And the U.S. continues to be a dominant presence in Iraq as CIA personnel and over 5,000 private security contractors remain and drones continue to patrol Iraqi skies. We call for all CIA personnel and security contractors leave Iraq immediately and that the U.S. beg forgiveness from and make reparations to the Iraqi people.
Crucified person #2--Afghanistan war victim
Since the US began its criminal military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, thousands of Afghan civilians have suffered and died. We pray for all those Afghan who have been, and continue to be, crucified to a cross of ruthless US military occupation. This occupation has included the use of secret US military "kill teams." Former Afghan Parliamentarian, Milalai Joya, writes: "The "kill team" images will come as a shock to many outside Afghanistan but not to us. We have seen countless incidents of American and Nato forces killing innocent people like birds."
The toll of civilian deaths continues to rise, as it has for the fifth straight year— from nearly 2800 in 2010 to more than 3000 in 2011. And now in 2012, once again, children have died in US/NATO air strikes. During the early morning of February 8, seven children and one young adult were killed near the poor village of Gayawa in Kapisa Province in northeastern Afghanistan. Abdul Zahid, the father of one of the children, said: “We don’t have paved roads, school or a clinic in Gayawa. There’s almost one meter of snow here in our village and we send our children to take care of the goats and sheep and feed them and collect firewood from the trees nearby and bring it home so we can heat our homes.”
On the morning of February 8, when the bombing happened, the children had gone as usual to the grazing area outside the village. They had just finished letting the animals graze and had made a small fire to keep warm when they were bombed, Mr. Zahid said.“Suddenly some airplanes came and dropped bombs on the children and killed my son, [Ajmal, age 12] my two nephews [ages 9 and 11] and some other children from our village,” Mr. Zahid said. “When we went there we saw the children in pieces, some missing legs, some missing arms, only the heads and face could be recognized, nothing else.”
And the slaughter of Afghans continue! On March 11, there was yet another night massacre of 17 civilians in the province of Kandahar. In addition to these atrocities the world was shocked to hear the news of the U.S. military burning copies of the Koran.
If this war is to end, we have to see the Afghan people as our brothers and sisters –as if they were literally members of our own families. We repent for the sin of US warmaking. We pray and work for an immediate end to the immoral and illegal U.S. war in Afghanistan and that reparations be made to the people of Afghanistan.
Crucified person #3--Pakistan Drone bombing victim
The newest warplane of choice being used by the US military in its wars against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly known as Drones. These pilotless warplanes, which are controlled from thousands of miles away, are now being used extensively in Pakistan. (The following is taken from a report on “Democracy Now!” news program)
The CIA’s drone campaign targeting suspected militants in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to rescue victims or were attending funerals. So concludes a new report by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. It found that since President Obama took office three years ago, as many as 535 civilians have been killed, including more than 60 children. The investigation also revealed that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. Chris Woods, award-winning reporter with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, stated that in this report, "We noted that there were repeated reports at the time, contemporaneous reports in publications like New York Times, news agencies like Reuters, by CNN, that there were these strikes on rescuers, that there were reports that there had been an initial strike and then, some minutes later, as people had come forward to help and pull out the dead and injured, that drones had returned to the scene and had attacked rescuers," Woods says. "We’ve been able to name just over 50 civilians that we understand have been killed in those attacks. In total, we think that more than 75 civilians have been killed, specifically in these attacks on rescuers and on mourners, on funeral-goers." We pray for all victims of U.S. Drone strikes and call for an immediate end to the use of Drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. and we commit ourselves to abolishing these murderous Drones, our American death squads of the skies.
Crucified person #4--Victim of Militarism and Nuclearism
We remember all victims who have died and continue to suffer from the U.S. use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We remember all victims of nuclear testing who have suffered and died due to the radiation fallout from these tests, including in the South Pacific, U.S. soldiers who were exposed to nuclear tests, and people living downwind from nuclear weapons facilities and the Nevada test site. We remember all victims who have suffered and died from exposure to highly radioactive depleted uranium weapons in Iraq and elsewhere. We remember all victims of U.S. military intervention--from Vietnam to Central America, Vieques, former Yugoslavia, Columbia, Haiti and Libya. We pray for the people of Japan and everyone and everything that has been effected by radiation exposures from damaged nuclear reactors. As the FY 2013 military budget and related national security, intelligence and space militarization appropriations approach $1 trillion, and as the administration and congress proposes expanding AFRICOM , spending some $85 billion to upgrade the U.S.nuclear arsenal over the next ten years, we remember all peoples who are deprived the basic necessities of life due to exorbitant military expenditures. We pray for all people--past and present--who have been, and continue to be, crucified to the cross of militarism and nuclearism. We pray and work for the abolition of nuclear weapons and all weapons, for an end to all forms of militarism and military intervention worldwide, including any attack against Iran, and for the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good.
Crucified person #5--Victim of economic exploitation starving to death
The US is only about 5 percent of the world's population and yet it consumes over 25 percent of the world's energy and 30 percent of the world's material resources. We remember all people who have been, and continue to be, sacrificed at the altar of greed, oppression and economic exploitation. We remember all people who have died early deaths in the U.S. and worldwide from dire poverty and malnutrition. We pray and work for an end to structures and policies which dominate, exploit and crucify people to a cross of dehumanizing poverty, debt and neglect. As historic political changes are occurring in North Africa, in the Middle East and elsewhere, and new movements for social, political and economic justice have emerged in the U.S. and throughout the world, we commit to working for an end to corporate domination, the eradication of poverty, a fair redistribution of wealth and a just economic order.
Crucified person #6--Torture Victim (dressed as a GITMO prisoner)
Jesus was a torture victim who was condemned by religious authorities and executed by the Roman empire. We remember all torture victims, past and present, who have suffered and died from the effects of torture. We remember the over 100 prisoners who, since 2001, died at secret U.S. military black sites, as well as the six prisoners who died at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo. We pray for the remaining 170 prisoners still at Guantanamo. We pray and work for the abolition of torture worldwide, and for the immediate closing of Guantanamo, Bagram, the SOA/WHINSEC and all military torture and training centers.
Crucified person #7--Nonviolent revolutionary victim
We turn our sights this Holy Week to North Africa and the Middle East. We remember young Mohamed Bouazzi from Tunisia who set himself on fire, unable to face the rejection of his license for his vending employment. This death sparked a domino effect of revolutions in surrounding countries to break their shackles of oppression. We hold the dead and wounded people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. These nonviolent resisters marched, demonstrated, occupied the streets and squares in order to free themselves from police repression, censorship, unemployment, and violence and were met with violent attacks. We remember all of the people of these nations and repent for U.S. funding of any of the guns, bombs, and materials used to prop up their abusive dictators. May all that has been stolen from these sisters and brothers be restored. May the crucified be witnesses of peace.
Crucified person #8--Imprisoned victim
We picture before us the imprisoned Jesus – arrested, tortured, stripped, crowned with thorns, mocked and crucified. We remember today imprisoned political prisoners and all who are held in gulags and prisons throughout the world. We remember and pray for:
-- Plowshares prisoners Susan Crane and Steve Kelly, serving 15 month prison sentences,
-- SOA Watch prisoner, Theresa Cusimano serving a six month prison sentence,
-- All those who have been arrested and imprisoned for nonviolently resisting the construction of new naval base on Jeju Island in S. Korea
-- Whistle-blower and truth revealer of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Private Bradley Manning,
-- the over 3,000 prisoners in Bagram and all those held in indefinite detention,
-- the more than 350 prisoners who died in a prison fire recently in Honduras,
-- the over 2.2 million prisoners in the U.S. and all prisoners worldwide.
We pray, too, that all people of faith and conscience will reject and call for a repeal of the National Defense Authorization Act which codified into law the indefinite detention for suspected foreign and domestic terrorists. In the words of Jesus, let us "proclaim liberty to all captives," and work to create a justice system that is rooted in the biblical mandate of love and restorative justice.
Crucified person #9--Immigration Victim
Mindful that Jesus was born as a migrant and exiled as a refugee, we remember today those immigrants who have been crucified to a cross of exploitation and oppression, and who have been driven from their homes and have died crossing the border in search of a better life. According to the the medical examiners office, The Arizona Daily Star and the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, the group "No More Deaths" has confirmed that 1,657 immigrants have died since 2004 just on the Arizona border alone. And for the border region as a whole, yearly estimated death counts of immigrants range from the 300s (around one per day) to the 800s (over two per day), depending on the year and the method of counting. A complete list of people who have died while crossing the border does not exist, and will probably never exist.
Loving God, you who are the same God of each member of the human family, including the undocumented, help us to learn to love and welcome the immigrants in this land as we build communities rooted in compassion, hospitality and justice. Give us the courage to stand for justice for all immigrants instead of imprisoning them in dehumanizing detention facilities. Give us the courage to speak out when there is scapegoat of immigrants and expose how our country's policies of economic globalization and free trade are driving people to leave their countries, tearing families apart. Help us to take down the walls of division and fear that create physical walls of separation on our border. Teach us the words of love you would have us speak as we call for comprehensive immigration reform in this land.
Our Desecrated Earth -- 10th Victim reading
Creator God, we confess that the way we live today is desecrating our earth, changing the climate, the seas and the balance of life, and dispossessing the poor and future generations. Our environment and earth continues to be endangered by industrial pollution, toxic deadly chemicals, wasteful oil consumption, nuclear radiation and the effects of preparing for and waging war. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, GREENWASHING THE PENTAGON, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.” The Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries.” From maintaining over 700 military bases worldwide, to supporting a vast military and nuclear weapons infrastructure, to its operation of warships, submarines, fighter planes, helicopters and other military vehicles, the U.S. military daily contributes to the destruction of our earth and climate. Today, on Jeju Island in Korea, a global biosphere reserve and world natural heritage site, explosive blasting of the unique Gureombi lava-rock formation has begun for the construction of a new naval base that will eventually serve as U.S. military outpost in the Asian Pacific region. Creator God, help us to stop destroying your creation. Empower us to safeguard all creation and choose life for all that is at risk.