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There was a time not so very long ago when the word “Cancer” was one we hated to even speak about.   It caused so much suffering and death that to even think the “C” word gave one pause.   Surely it must be something else that is wrong.  Please, God, don’t let it be “the big C” as it was sometimes referenced.


We still pray for something else to be wrong other than Cancer, and yet by having faced…..and talked about…..the dreaded “C” word often enough, even our own governments have gotten serious about finding treatments and, maybe one day, even a cure.    Eradicate Cancer.   That has a nice ring to it, but first we have to speak the word. 

But Cancer isn’t the “C” word I’ve been thinking about in recent weeks and months.   It’s not the dreaded “C” word I’ve had in mind.  


My worst dread is a problem that is perhaps more solvable, treatable, even curable than cancer.   It causes suffering and even death in the cruelest of ways.   Right now it’s happening in places like Darfur, Gaza, and Ukraine.     The “C” word I’m referring to is “Colonialism.”  


We mostly avoid speaking this word.  Hate thinking about it.   And we’d like to think the “real problem” is something else.   Something less deadly.  


Those of us who call ourselves Americans remember, or at least I hope we remember, that we were once colonized by Great Britain.   We were to England very much like what Ukraine was to the Soviet Union, what Gaza has been to Israel, what Darfur still is to Sudan.   Or, if you prefer to think in biblical terms, we were what Israel (the original Palestine) was to Rome.   We were victims of western “Colonialism.”  The dreaded “C” word for all who lived, and are still having to live, through it.  


Well, okay, and all who did not live through it.   Those who died from it.  


Those like yet another big “C” if you will.   The one we Christians call the Christ: Jesus of Nazareth.


Scarcely anyone I know, including Christians far as I’m personally aware, has ever talked about Jesus, the Christ, as an anti-Colonial figure.   But he was indeed.   He was killed by Colonial Rome, who used yet another dreaded “C” word when it came to those anti-Colonial figures back when: yes, I mean Crucifixion.   We Americans did our share of suffering at the hands of the British Empire prior to our own anti-Colonial revolution and declaration of independence.   But at least we weren’t crucified like those anti-Colonials who dared declare independence during the days of the Roman Empire.   When we, like Jesus Christ but without attributing his own name to our efforts, declared our independence through God’s gift of personal empowerment, our United States of America became a beacon of anti-Colonialist hope for liberation movements around the world.  


Granted, we who liberated ourselves from our own Colonial rulers became Colonizers ourselves to a shameful extent around the globe and even at home.   There were our African American people under slavery and then Jim Crow.   There were our indigenous native American tribes we called Indians.   There were our Asian immigrants and, with horrible shame, our Japanese citizens incarcerated during WW II.  


Today we help to arm one of the last vestiges of Colonialism, the State of Israel, as it rules over the Palestinian people forbidden their own Sovereign Statehood no less than we were once forbidden such by Great Britain.   We called our own anti-Colonialist army heroes of the American Revolution; but call the Palestinian anti-Colonialist army of Hamas terrorists.  Both were significantly imbedded within the local habitats.


The dreaded “C” word.


We remain in denial.  Hoping it’s something else and NOT Colonialism.   Or hoping our support for Israeli arms against the people of Gaza is no worse than our subsidizing of the tobacco industry even after knowing the big “C” of cancer was hurting and killing thousands.     It took us awhile to get serious about fighting Cancer instead of dreading and denying the whole problem.   Let’s hope it doesn’t take us so long with this other plague upon the people of our world.  The other “C” word we hate to think or speak of.  


Let’s hope we can begin to speak, to face, and to one day cure this horrible “C” we can’t hide from: that dreaded big “C” of “Colonialism.”   Maybe even do it in the name of arguably the biggest anti-Colonial hero of them all:  the one we call the “Christ.”   The one whose very mission statement reads: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” LK 4:18-19 (NIV)


Who knows?   If we ever decided to follow such a person as Jesus, or those like Gandhi and King who actually did so, we might be able to actually see a cure. 


Eradicate Colonialism.


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