The Stones Cry Out

The Stones Cry Out

Sometimes the confrontation between love and desecration is so intense that, according to scripture, even the stones will cry out. This is such a time.

As we publish this, 1.4 million Palestinian refugees are camping out, without adequate food or water, in Rafah as a US-backed Israel prepares to attack the city.

We are loathe to issue “official statements” that are so often performative, and we have sought to let our actions speak for themselves–our weekly ceasefire vigil in downtown Stroudsburg, our signal-boosting of Palestinian and anti-zionist Jewish voices and actions through our social media, and the participation of our staff and community in those actions.

In this moment, however, we hear the stones of this mountain crying out, and it is time for us to join them.

We at Kirkridge call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, a return of hostages and political prisoners, and an end to apartheid policies in Israel/Palestine. This is the only path we see to end the killing and further endangerment of both Israelis and Palestinians.

We have gotten some questions recently about whether our stance for a ceasefire has crossed the line into antisemitism. We appreciate these questions and have been listening hard to Jewish voices, as well as to the voices of Palestinians, Black Christians, and the wind as it whispers over the stones of this land to which we have committed. We have been studying antisemitism–what it is and how it operates–as well as Islamophobia, settler colonialism, and imperialism.

Kirkridge was founded by European-Christian-descended people, themselves descended from settlers on land not their own. Because of this, we believe we bear a special responsibility for the slaughter taking place in the Middle East. That disaster has taken the lives of so many civilians from Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and other nations, on October 7, but also dating back 75 years to when British powers gave away land that was not theirs to give in order to create a Jewish state on top of other people’s homes and land. In truth, it dates back further to include the long history of the oppression of Jews and Muslims by people claiming the name of Christ throughout the world.

This is how antisemitism works. Jewish people, themselves an oppressed group, are placed in the middle. They are set between, on the one hand, powerful people with strong profit and land interests and, on the other, the people from whom the powerful wish to extract that profit and land. Then Jewish people are blamed for oppressing those people, effectively obscuring powerful actors.

The story that Israel was created as a safe haven for Jewish people after the Holocaust is a cover for ongoing colonial interests in the land Israel occupies–a strategic military and economic location over which the US, in particular, and wealthy people the world over, wish to maintain control. It is time for the truth to emerge.

The stones are crying out.

Ultimately, the occupation of Israel must end. So must the occupation of this land now called the United States, known by Indigenous people as Turtle Island. By this we do not mean that everyone has to somehow “go back where they came from.” Very few people–Palestinians or Indigenous people here–are calling for that. What we mean is that the domination of some groups over others, and over the vibrant more-than-human world, must end. What we mean is that we are going to have to learn how to live love.

What this will look like we can’t claim to know. We can only practice it to the best of our ability and see what unfolds. What we do know is that the nation state is too small a dream, too stingy a way of thinking about our relationship to soil, stone, water, vegetation and animals. The stones dream a wider, more loving, and more liberating dream.

Palestine will be free. Jewish people will be free.  Turtle Island will be free. All people, land, and creatures will be free. May we move accordingly. We will see you in the streets, in the halls of power, and beyond

A large mossy stone sits between two trees overlooking the Barn.

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