Something was whirring away in a corner in my mind when we were seated in the lovely New Shanghai restaurant in The Emporium in the city on Saturday arvo. There we were enjoying lunchof very delicate and delicious food, just before we joined a public meeting to protest the killing of Christians in Mosul in Iraq. There was something incompatible between the two activities but such is Melbourne which presents a juxtaposed context in which first world consciousness of world peace issues is played out. The soft, translucent skins of the xiao long bau or the steamed dumplings were in stark contrast to the horrors of what we saw on the screens and heard from the lecterns a few hours later in Fed Square.
It was nevertheless, a hell of an arvo. It felt strange to be part of only a handful of orientals in a sea of Arabic people. Persians to be accurate – modern day Iraqis, Syrians and Macedonians – but the sounds and appearances were Arabic. Probably part of my ignorance. But we soaked it all up. The over riding message was silence and apathy when others were systematically persecuted. Driven out by the thousands, the Christian community of the ancient city of Mosul (aka Niniveh) in northern Iraq has been eliminated but the world has reacted in such a muted fashion. As a fellow Christian, I felt like a traitor. Someone who has betrayed my fellow believer. Martin Luther King Jr’s statement about silence and betrayal comes to mind.
We took pictures and dutifully put them up in facebook. I hope more have become more tuned in. I have noted more postings about this. I guess it has had its effects.
The day had started very cold but has ended in me being warmed up to care more.
Sunday started just as cold. Colder, in fact. As I stumbled out of bed and struggled against the 0.1 deg temperature, I drew the blinds in the lounge room and saw the oval covered with ice. The windscreen of my car – ditto. We eventually managed to get through the morning and go to church, where Mike preached on euthanasia. It was that kind of weekend. Stories of mass persecution and killing in Iraq ans Syria and Macedonia and slow creep of euthanasia the next. They made me sombre…
After lunch at Madam K, we went grocery shopping, then Tress took LBJ for a walk while I went and saw Gus, an old friend I hadnt caught up with for a long time. We met at The Glen and over coffee (his shout) talked about family, work and current issues and challenges. We talked about rebellious teenage children, politically correctness at work and I’m glad I responded to his initiative to catch up.
I got home a bit after 4, sat down to watch Hawks demolish the Bulldogs, while I did the second batch of soup for the week. Soups done, breakfast and lunch for today packed, all cleaned up, Tress and I sat down again and I thought what a weekend. I’m grateful. Living in a city which affords such divergent and contrasting indulgences. My taste buds, conscience, awareness and my emotions all stimulated in one weekend without travelling out of Melbourne. Yet it’s more than those things. As always, few things are about me. The Iraqi christians need advocacy and help. The assisted and unnecessary deaths need to stop.