Saturday, January 24, 2009

I should have posted a month ago, but Olives' posts were so cool that I took it easy for awhile. Anyway, I'm back now to write about what's been on my mind lately.

Today I read in the news that the Pope has decided to lift the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, a holocaust denier. Well, a holocaust half-denier I guess, who believes that "two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers." The article doesn't make it clear exactly why he was excommunicated and is now being reinstated, but I get the sense neither one has to do with his beliefs regarding the holocaust. Of course commentators and spokespeople from Israel have already spoken out about the damage this will do to the Catholic church's relationship with Israel and the Jewish community. So, um, why did the church do this? I don't fucking know. But if we don't start respecting each other soon (not just Catholics and Jews, but everyone) what is going to happen? Hundreds and hundreds of kids died in Gaza this month. But actually, 5,000 kids die of preventable diseases every day. We're in a really weird place and beyond even caring about each other or loving each other, we don't even respect one another's lives. And how do we heal from that?

There is another interesting news story today. 700 immigrants held in detention on the Italian island, Lampedusa have escaped and are holding a protest chanting "Freedom" and "Help us!" They were in a detention center built for 850 that is currently holding 1,800 people. It is so overcrowded that detaineed were being forced to sleep outside in the cold at night. The island is in between Africa and Italy and gets a lot of immigrants from Somalia and Eritrea fleeing wars and poverty. They used to allow the immigrants to go to mainland Italy, but have now stopped that program despite the fact that this tiny island got nearly 40,000 immigrants coming to its shores in 2008. Luckily local residents are opposing the building of a new facility that they worry would be more like a prison. Anyway, best luck to the escaped detainees! Freedom!

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