Saturday, February 10, 2007

More truth telling and an attack on a truth teller

Today I read about two things that have stuck with me. The first incident occurred in Los Angeles, where the practice of "homeless dumping" is becoming widespread enough that it has grabbed the media's attention and that of law enforcement. Witnesses on Thursday reported seeing a paraplegic man dropped off on L.A.'s skid row. The man was wearing a soiled hospital gown and was holding a broken colostomy bag. Fortunately, the witnesses took the license plate of the van and reported it to police. As it turns out, the Los Angeles Times reports, the van belonged to Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital. This is disturbing beyond belief! This poor man was just dumped, unable to walk, with no food, clothing, or water, into the gutter. This did not occur in Calcutta, Bangkok, Pyongyang, but in L.A.!

The second incident also occurred in California, in San Francisco to be exact. Noble Laureate and concentration camp survivor, a man who ranks right up there with Nelson Mandela, et. al. when it comes to advocating on behalf of the human rights of the oppressed, Elie Wiesel, was attacked by a man claiming to be a journalist. Wiesel, who is 78 years-old, and who has always been very accessible, despite his international fame, agreed to be interviewed by the man. Instead of being interviewed, Wiesel was attacked. The attacker fled when Wiesel began to loudly resist the attack. Later, police investigating the incident became aware of a posting on an anti-Semitic website by a man who claimed to responsible for the attack.

Anyone who has read Wiesel's account of his experiences in his trilogy Night, Dawn, and The Accident will know how familiar with humanity's cruelty Wiesel is and how his life has been dedicated to telling the truth about it in the hope of reconciling people to each other.

As Wiesel would be the first ask, were he to see these two stories side-by-side, who will tell the story of the paraplegic man? His story is important because we all matter, we are all human beings. Moving considerably beyond what Wiesel would say or write: we all bear the divine imprint, the imago dei. Further, we bear the image of the God who, for our sakes, became small. We tell the story, the truth, in order to make it known, in order to break our hearts, in the hope of bringing metanoia- a turn around. It often seems that our hearts must be broken before we are able to take on such outrages.

Our Lady, hope of the poor - pray for us
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - pray for us
St Maximilian Kolbe - pray for us
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta - pray for us
All holy men and women - pray for us.

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