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Palestine and Hiroshima?

Posted By Mark D. Tooley On September 16, 2010 @ 12:01 am In FrontPage | 19 Comments

In an absurd combination of Religious Left political correctness and subtle advocacy masked as religious humanitarianism, a Japanese Lutheran pastor is hosting “peace” concerts in Hiroshima featuring music from pan flutes carved from Palestinian olive trees.  Supposedly, the trees were unjustly felled by imperialistic Israeli bulldozers to make way for the “separation wall” i.e. security barrier against Palestinian suicide bombers.

“I really would like to let the children in Hiroshima know that Palestinian children see hope in a city that was rebuilt from destruction by the atomic bombing,” the Rev. Yasuhiro Tateno, the Palestinian olive tree pan flute peace concert organizer recently told the World Council of Churches (WCC) news service. The concert series is part of Tateno’s ongoing “Hope for the Children in Palestine” program.

Tateno discerns “the hope of Christ’s resurrection” in the pan flutes crafted from the “resurrected” Palestinian olive trees, just as Palestinian children are supposed to see hope in the resurrected city of Hiroshima.  Reputedly, the slain trees come from Nazareth, hometown of Jesus.  It’s not entirely clear if one or multiple trees are involved.  Presumably one olive tree could make a lot of pan flutes, but reports speak of multiple tragically felled trees experiencing transformation into musical instruments.

According to Rev. Tateno’s group, the olive trees are “trees of life” tragically slain in the interest of Israeli settlements and the accompanying offensive 8 meter high wall between “Israel and Palestine.”  Carving pan flutes out of a martyred tree will resurrect it back to life, at least symbolically.  In effect, Tateno’s group surmised, the human breath for the pan flutes will allow the resuscitated Palestinian live to speak for itself.   “Even though the tree was killed during a sorrowful time, it can be born again by the warmth of people’s hearts and their desire for the realization of peace,” the Japanese explained. “We want to hear the olive trees speak again. We want to know what the olive tree from Palestine has to say to Hiroshima.”

Probably it’s a safe bet that these outraged Palestinian trees, when they finally “speak” to the concert goers of Hiroshima, will have quite a bit of negative verbiage against their Israeli brutalizers.  And probably these talking trees with offer solidarity to the people of Hiroshima, who 65 years ago were similarly the victims of American aggression, just as the trees were victimized by America’s protégé Israel.

“From Hiroshima, I would humbly like to help in creating a peaceful world for children in Palestine and the rest of the world where they can have courage and hope,” explained one Hiroshima atomic blast survivor to Ecumenical News International. The first Palestinian olive tree pan flute concert was in Hiroshima last year.  This year, Rev. Tateno’s group visited Bethlehem and presented pan flutes to Palestinian children and convened a pan flute concert at Bethlehem’s Lutheran church, whose pastor reputedly orchestrated the Palestinian olive tree shipment to Japan.  Reportedly, a Japanese craftsman took one and half years to create the first pan flute from the martyred tree.  But undoubtedly the anti-Israel political and religious symbolism made the arduous endeavor worth every meticulous moment.    “We tell people not only what happened in Hiroshima at WWII and how we bounced back from the damage of the atomic bomb, but also about the children in Palestine who have hope,” Tateno’s group explained.  “’Hope was found in a desperate state’ – this is what we learned from the lively children who are living in Palestine.”

The pan flutist is cooperating with the International Christian Center on  the West Bank, which is a “Lutheran-based, ecumenically-oriented institution serving the whole Palestinian community.”  On the center’s website, Palestinian Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan, a prominent, and somewhat moderate voice who now also heads the Lutheran World Federation, touts Palestinian liberation and showcases “issues such as globalization, environmental catastrophes, political conflicts, increasing militarization and occupation of one nation by another,” as well as focusing on the “harsh realities like the separation wall.”  Many besieged Palestinian Christians, less than two percent of the population and falling, are anxious to burnish their anti-Israel credentials, whether from conviction, self-survival, or likely a combination of both.   Left leaning international church delegations exploit thisr vulnerability by showcasing sympathetic Palestinian Christians as victims of Israeli oppression.  Of course, these same delegations rarely explore the threat of Islamist rule to Arab Christians, or seriously explain how Christians will fare better under complete Palestinian control.

Tragically, these ostensibly supportive pro-Palestinian church groups are only fueling the sense of Palestinian grievance and hopes for Israel’s ultimate demographic eradication.  Hiroshima’s horrible destruction was redeemed by Japan’s renunciation of imperialism and militarism in favor of Western democracy and pursuit of economic growth instead of conquest.  True friends of Palestinian Christians and other Palestinians would similarly counsel them to abandon their historical grievances and instead build a peaceful nation seeking co-existence rather than war.  Unfortunately, the Japanese Lutheran pan flutists, whatever their intent by speaking through these aggrieved “talking” Palestinian olive trees, are only feeding a sense of victimhood that will perpetuate rather than end conflict.


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