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Throughout its history Unitarian Universalism has been deeply committed to social justice and social action; action in support of social justice is a direct expression of our faith. Our denomination and national denominational organizations provide many opportunities for united and concerted action in furtherance of social justice.



Beyond our Congregation -- An Update from Rev. David Etherington

June 2015, Susiya, Palestinehttps://gallery.mailchimp.com/1cff8550cd0040fb12b1350ee/images/David_Etherington_mobile.1.png

Just 14 months ago, I said my goodbyes to the residents of Susiya. And now I have returned to this village in the South Hebron Hills as it faces threats of imminent demolition and a forced removal of all those living here. I have returned to Susiya at the invitation of the World Council of Churches to be part of a team of internationals providing ecumenical accompaniment and protective presence to the village in hopes that a demolition and removal may be put off.

My arrival in Susiya coincided with the first day of Ramadan, the most holy time in the Muslim year, a time of fasting for the month. This month of fasting begins with the daily call to prayer in the pre- dawn hours and ends at the sunset call to prayer. This period of Ramadan will end July 18 and is a time of reflection and reformation of the soul.

As we are gathered at the end of the day at the family home of Nasser Nawaja, three generations of Nasser’s family sit on the floor around steaming platters of food awaiting the call to prayer from the mosque signaling Iftar, the “breaking of the fast.” Iftar, the end of the day’s fast at sunset is a time to share in the family’s communal feast. There are platters of roasted chicken and onions, stuffed squash and peppers, potatoes, bowls of lentils, and salads of cucumbers and tomatoes. As we sit on rugs and cushions, Um Jihad, the matriarch of the Nawaja family greets us as guests in her home and is tearfully expressing a mixture of relief, joy and anger as she tells us about the recent incident where son Nasser was attacked with stones by adjacent settlers as he tended to his olive trees. As she weeps with relief, she pulls Nasser into her side for a grateful embrace. Um Jihad has seen much death and destruction in her long life and has lived through the forced removal and destruction of her home more than once, all at the hands of the Israeli military and Israeli settlers. For almost the entirety of her life, Um Jihad’s native Palestine has been under the occupation and control of the Israeli Military.

This most recent stoning of Nasser by Israeli settlers in Palestine is but another incident in the daily struggle to live in Susiya. The recent decision from the Israeli Court in May 2015 has removed all barriers to begin the demolition of the village of Susiya and a removal of Susiya’s 450 residents, of which 120 are children. This gives a green light to the Israeli Military that they have full authority to begin the demolition at any time. This demolition is to make way for the expanding Israeli Settlement that is just meters away. For decades now, the Nawaja family and all the residents of Susiya have been experiencing a daily struggle for the right to peacefully live and farm on their lands. This ongoing struggle includes repeated violence and destruction from adjacent Israeli settlers that includes demolitions of homes and agricultural structures, poisoning of wells, cutting of olive trees, and physical violence against the residents including stoning and gunfire. Since 1986, the village has been demolished 3 times with the last time being 2011. The determination and steadfastness of the villagers has them rebuild each time there has been a demolition.

Demolition of Palestinian property and the forced removal of its residents is a violation of International Humanitarian Law set out in the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. My team and I are here to shed light on this ongoing public witness violation of human rights through by standing in solidarity with our Palestinian host and by giving voice to their lived experience of oppression and abuse. The light of hope is kept shining through this public witness and presence on the ground and the ongoing commitment to advocating for a just peace. This work for me is a continual reminder of my Unitarian Universalist faith, in that no one has to go it alone.

Back at the waiting for the Iftar feast, the breaking of the fast, as we sit around the steaming platters of food with the Nawaja family, waiting for the Call to Prayer, Nasser reflected, “All the year I have patience, patience for the work of peace, patience for non-violent resistance, but these moments just before Iftar, I have no patience in waiting for the breaking of the fast, especially on this first day.” As the first sounds of the call to prayer sing out across the valley, Nasser passes about a heaping platter of sweet dates and Iftar begins. The dates are gently savored. The momentary sweetness, the luscious moisture of the dates, gives pause. Both are life sustaining, nourishing both the body and soul to carry forward another day, another day of seeking and working for a just peace in this land of Palestine.

In Fellowship,
The Rev. David Etherington

(The Rev. David Etherington was ordained at UUFG on  May 5, 2013.)


 
2014 Social Justice Annual Report

The Social Justice Council runs several projects during the year. Read the annual report to see what they do and what you would like to be a part of.

 

Attachments:
Download this file (social-justice_UUFG_2014.pdf)2014 Social Justice Annual Report[ ]57 Kb
 
Healing the World

Throughout its history Unitarian Universalism has been deeply committed to social justice and social action; action in support of social justice is a direct expression of our faith. Our denomination and national denominational organizations provide many opportunities for united and concerted action in furtherance of social justice.

The Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) process of the Unitarian Universalist Association provides a way for individual UUs and UUA member congregations to work together on significant, timely issues.

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).

The UUSC is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice. Its programs are based on Unitarian Universalist principles that affirm the worth, dignity and human rights of every person, but one need not be a Unitarian Universalist to join the UUSC.

Unitarian Universalists for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The UUADP is a social action group, affiliated with the UUA, seeking to give witness to UUA resolutions which call for an end to capital punishment.

 


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