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Universality of Liberation Theology: One is Equal to All and All are Equal to One Dr. Saied Reza Ameli Presented in IHRC’s conference on: Towards a New Liberation Theology: Reflections on Palestine 12th June 2005 Why Liberation Theology? Religion can not be neutral even if it is secular?! Religion exists to save people from any deprivation and life disturbance. Religion has to solve individual as well as social problems It should by dynamic, otherwise it will die Science can not be neutral even if it is secular – science is alive if it reduces the pain Theology and Isolation Theology gradually became a topic of debate amongst clerics, abstract from ordinary life because of two isolations: Isolation of theology from public life Isolation of people from social products of religion. These two isolations turned religion into a historical context which turned out to be „museum types of ideas‟. End of All Past Production While in the age of globalization, the trend for „endness‟ became „archetype‟ for presentation of all „new ideas‟, it seems society needs to return to the human origin to purify all impurities have been dominated the life. One such return is a return to the involvement of religion in politics. Liberation theology was considered as a turning point for repoliticization of religion and an action for desecularization of politics (Levine, 1990:229). Concept of Liberation Theology Liberation theology is an attempt for liberating people of the world from poverty and oppression. Sociology of Liberation On the other hand the sociology of Liberation is also a consciousness raising concept among the oppressed society. It is perhaps more than merely consciousness raising, which has moved the sociology of liberation to an activist type of work rather than an academic discipline of thought. That activity is not on behalf of the oppressed, but it is achieved by learning to see the world from their perspective and joining with them. Liberation sociology means joining the Palestinian homeless and the Palestinians who have lost their children, fathers and mothers, so as to understand what homelessness in your own home means. Liberation Theology and Latin America In the academic and activist literature Liberation Theology introduced as a Christian Leftist Movement which emerged in Latin American. Since emergence of liberation theology, it has become a unique and permanent political movement throughout Latin America; from Mexico to Chile, from Nicaragua to Brazil, this movement has been politically effective in merging together traditional, religious values with a commitment to social activism on behalf of the “poor and Oppressed” (Pottenger, 1989). Not only in Latin America For Jim Tuck (2005) Liberation theology didn't begin with the Berrigan brothers or Bishop Ruiz, but it goes back to l5th and l6th centuries. A remarkable man Las Casas devoted the greater part of his 92 years on earth to ameliorating the non-Caucasian people who lived in the vast Spanish empire. In reality liberation theology emerged by divine prophet such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus and Finally Mohammad. The were all fathers to the poor and they came to support the oppressed. Why Liberation Theology Emerged? For Harvey Cox (2005) Liberation theology was largely a response to the three coexistent social, religious and philosophical change in Latin America. First, worsening social and economic conditions for the majority of people in Latin America in the 1950s created a desire and expectations for change. Why Liberation Theology Emerged? Secondly, the structural causes of poverty were addressed in Latin American dependency theory, and class-based inequities were identified in Marxist critiques of capitalist systems. By the late 1950s a revolutionary climate was apparent in the region, exemplified by the Cuban Revolution of 1959. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was the third Major reason. Pope John XXIII opened the council by expressing the hope that the Catholic Church “might become once again…the church of the poor.” Two Important Nostalgias: Liberation theology is a response towards two important local and global nostalgias; The first and the most important one is nostalgia for justice. The second one is nostalgia of metaphysical values. How would Liberation Theology work Universally and be Effective for Palestine liberation theology requires three major elements to work as a Universal Solution: Return to God Selflessness Centrality of Justice 1. Return to God We are all far from God whether we are Muslims, Christians or Jews; If we are not fair to God, we can not be fair to ourselves and we cannot be fair to others. To liberate Palestinians, one needs to see them as creatures of the same God and one needs to see them as members of their own community. This requires Liberating other followers of faith and force „the International Community‟ to liberate God from any attachment to „Chosen Community‟. The only Chosen People are the oppressed and the poor and everyone are responsible to them. Return to God and righteous act This will effect our practices on the earth about ourselves and others: “So whoever expects to encounter his Lord, let him act righteously, and not associate anyone with the worship of his Lord (Surat Al-Kahf, Verses, 110).” Universality of God’s Perception God has fragmented to many Gods; Muslims, Jews and Christians and other religions divided God metaphorically to variety of „God community‟ which means my God is different to your God. This does indeed effect consciously and unconsciously our relationship with creatures of God. It effects our sympathy and commitment to the pain of people. Whether or not they are members of our „Community of God‟? Divinity and Mankind According to all divine messages there is no differences between people except by their level of closeness to God: O mankind! Indeed We created you from a male and female, and made you nations and tribes that you may identify with one another. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God weary amongst you. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware (Surat Al-Hujarat, versus 13).  یا ایِاالٌاس اًا خلقٌاکن هي ذکس ّ اًثی ّ جعلٌاکن شعْبا ّ قبائل (13 َلتعازفْا، اى اکسهکن عٌداهلل اتقیکن، اى اهلل علین خبیس )الحجسات، آی 2. Selflessness and caring Selflessness, minimization of personal desires and dogmatic attachments to nationality, ethnicity and even religion are major requirements for caring for oppressed and poor people. This needs avoiding all things which can be considered as „selfishness‟. „Self‟ here is not only a person, but it can cover all „collective centralities‟ such as Eurocentrism, Americocentrism and Zionism, which cause demolishing and destruction of „others‟ for the price of supporting the „self‟. Selflessness Selflessness is a divine and mystical soul of all divine religions which brings God‟s spirit to all aspects of life. Consequently, such ambition motivates one‟s „caring‟ tendencies, and even the sacrificing of life for „others‟, rather than dominating, marginalizing, torturing and executing „others‟. Here is where the Palestinian problem becomes a global issue for all human beings who care about „others‟, here is the position at which „all become equal to one and one becomes equal to all‟; here is the position at which one can observe unity within diversity and diversity within unity. 3. Centrality of Justice Decentralization of ethnicity and centralization of Justice for all human beings is another major element of the „Universality of Liberation Theology‟. Here is the position which advocates sociological approach to the liberation of the Palestinian people. The Chosen Society is the Oppressed Society Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: Shall I let you know about the kings of the Heaven? Every powerless deprived.  قال زسْل اهلل صلی اهلل علیَ ّ الَ: اال اخبسکن عي هلْک .(5943 ،اُل الجٌَ؟ کل ضعیف هستضعف )کٌزالعوال Future of the World In Islam the future is in the hands of those whom kept the powerless deprived. It is articulated that: And We desired to show favour to those who were deprived in the land, and to make them Imams, and to make them the inheritors.  ّ ًسید اى ًوي علی الریي استضعفْا فی االزض ّ ًجعلِن .(5 ،ائوَ ّ ًجعلِن الْازثیي )سْزٍ القصص Injustice and Corruption of the World Imam Ali said: Injustice is the mother of all sins. Imam Ali said: Injustice is destructive force Imam Ali said: Oppressing the poor is worst injustice.  (804 ،قال علی علیَ السالم: الظلن االم السذائل )غسزالحکن  (6 ،قال علی علیَ السالم: الجْز هوحاٍ )غسزالحکن  قال علی علیَ السالم: ظلن الضعیف افحش الظلن )ًِج البالغَ، الکتاب (31 UN Statistic Palestinian refugees (about 5 million) represent 18% approximately 82% 18% of the total number of refugees in the world. Palestinian Rest of the World Number of Palestinian Refuges 4255126 2005 2000 3737494 1990 2466516 1980 1863162 1970 1445022 1960 1136487 1953 870158 0 500000 1000000 1500000 2000000 2500000 3000000 3500000 4000000 4500000 Food Insecurity in Palestine Food security in the occupied Palestinian territory. Levels of food insecurity in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) are high. Over a million Palestinians are food-insecure, and another 975,000 are at risk of becoming so. This food insecurity is caused primarily by Israel‟s closure policy and movement restrictions, which have resulted in massive increases in unemployment and underemployment (up to 30% in the West Bank and 40% in the Gaza Strip). (Source: Humanitarian Practice Network) Worldwide Military Expenditure Rest of the World US 32% 45% China 4% Japan France Germany Russia 4% UK 5% 3% 2% 5% Conclusion Word According to Universal Liberation Theology, the issue of Palestine can not come to any positive conclusion unless world society can globally move to change „the oppressive trend of the world‟. Caring about Others This trend will not come to any end unless world society can end selfishness by returning to the God and have great ambition to stand for justice not only because of justice but because this is the order of God God determinate Justice in Returning to God and only God. Alarm and Hope Don‟t forget that “injustice is turning around, today it might be far from Us, but tomorrow it will be on Our doorstep”, Today Palestine, Tomorrow your home. I am optimistic to the world, because I can see the dissident culture is expanding. Dissident to all „injustice‟; to all „immoral‟ behavior. Let‟s wish for a day which there is no oppression, there is no poverty, and there is nothing but peace, trust and sympathy.
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