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Evansville, Indiana
April 26, 1991     The Message
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April 26, 1991
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Editorial April 26, 1991 I ! L By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor We are each called to reflect our God The left side mirror on the car tilted up, the right side mirror tilted down. The one in the mid- dle was easily adjusted as I drove out of my driveway and down the street. The car was the one that my wife and son use much more than I do. I had adjusted the driver's seat, but I had neglected to check the rear view mirrors. My younger son, the one just learning how to drive, would have scolded me for what I had done, if he had been with me. It was a mistake. I must have bumped the mirror on the left somehow. That's the only reason it would be pointed sharply up at the sky. The mirror on the right side of the car is loose. I will have to tighten the mounting, if possible. Otherwise the mirror will never be of any use. The mirror mounted in the middle of the windshield, in its correctly adjusted position, gave me a view of the street behind me. Here is what I could see: clouds in the sky on the left, the dirt at the side of the road on the right, and the people in the car behind me from the mirror in the middle. Perhaps it was the disjointed view I suddenly had of the world around me, or perhaps it was an inspiration. Something prompted me to wonder, what do I reflect? If people look at me, what do they see? Do I show them clouds in the sky? Miles and miles of sky, a floating mass of uncertain depth and position? Or do they see gravel and dust? Such a view is small and narrow, without beauty or perspective. A close up of a few inches along the side of the road. Or do I show them a balanced view in proper perspective? People and cars and streets and houses -- some of the good things of God's world -- all in the right relationship? Perhaps it is stetching the point, but perhaps it is fair to say that some of us have been bumped out of position. Others among us have shaky foun- dations and are not anchored firmly in place. Still others of us may have to be adjusted along the way. Each of us is called to reflect the God who made us to those around us. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we succeed. When we succeed, we reflect not the immensi- ty of the sky or a few square inches of the earth. What we reflect is everyday, ordinary life -- and tha( is, in fact, holy. Washington Letter The plight of Iraq's Kurds; determining U.S. responsibiliq ' By LAURIE HANSEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The plight of anxious Iraqi Kurds huddled in desperate condi- tions along the mountainous Iraq-Turkey border has dampened the national mood of self-congratulation that followed U.S. military success in the Persian Gulf War. Catholic ethicists are among those who believe the United States, due to its key role in the war and its encouragement of Iraqi revolt, has a particular responsibility to the Kurds. Beyond the U.S. obligation, "this is the kind of event where the international community as a whole -- because of the scope and intensity of the suffering" -- must perform humanitarian intervention, Father J. Bryan Hehir, U.S. bishops' consultant on social policy, told Catholic News Service April 19. In the process of rescuing Kuwait from the clutches of Ira- qi leader Saddam Hussein, it turned out, U.S. bombers pounded Iraq back into what a United Nations damage report called "a pre-industrial age," leaving some '72,000 people homeless, a hundred thousand soldiers and an unknown number of civilians killed or TbMESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville. IN 47724-0109 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly axot last week In December by the Cmtholic  of Evansville. Publl,=her .... Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinget Anociate Publlaher .... Ray. Jouph Zlllak Editor .................. Paul Leingang Production Mgr ............... Phil Beget CirJAdv. Mgr ........... Paul A. Newland Address all communication to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $1 7.50 per year Single Copy Price: 50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the po4t of. rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. Copyright 1991 CarhqJlq Pres of vonsv)lle ...... Ii  il ....... wounded, and food and water in desperately short supply. In addition, after U.S. and allied missiles ceased to rain on Iraq, Kurds from northern Iraq began to flee their homes in enormous numbers, fearing revenge by Saddam's troops after the Kurdish rebellion against the Iraqi leader began to fall apart. Bush administration officials estimated in mid-April that as many as 800,000 homeless Kurds had gathered along the Iraq-Turkey border, with the State Department estimating that as many as 1,000 were dy- ing daily from disease. Bad sanitation was reportedly tak- ing a heavy toll on children. Another 1.5 million Iraqi Kurds had surged toward Iran and were huddled along the Iran-lraq border. What kind of responsibility does the United States have to the Kurds? A major one, believes Dawn T. Calabia, director for refugee services at the U.S. Catholic Conference. "Certainly if you encourage (an ethnic group) to rise up in a country with a history of ethnic disputes . . . and the people resist or try to overthrow their leader and tail, obviously those people are going to have to pay the price," Ms. Calabia told CNS April 18. Father Hehir believes the U.S. response to the plight of the Kurds should be humanitarian, rather than related to the Kurds' political future as a people. The Kurds' plight points to the "high number of potentially explosive ethnic situations" in countries throughout the world, he said. The decline of Cold War ten- sions, Father Hehir said, pro- vides greater opportunity for in- ternational institutions to begin to respond to such crises. George Weigel, a Catholic conservative philosopher at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, agreed that the United States has a ma- jor responsibility for the Kurds' plight .............. "I think we minimally have a responsibility to prevent the genocide of the Iraqi Kurds by the Saddam Hussein regime," Weigel said in an April 18 inter- view. "This refugee situation has been caused in part by the forces we let loose in the region," he said, adding that it was "indisputably clear" the U.S. government urged the peo- ple of Iraq to rise up against their leader. He said as long as the United States has control of Iraqi air space. "we should use that power to prevent" military at- tacks on the Kurds. In addition, although he said it came "a month late," Weigel concurs with Bush's decision in mid-April to establish refugee enclaves within northern Iraq to attempt to shelter, feed and clothe Kurdish refugees. In testimony submitted April 17 to a House of Represen- tatives subcommittee debating levels of overseas refugee assistance, Ms. Calabia urged members of Congress to con- sider developing "refugee im- pact" reports designed to ex- amine "what the impact of U.S. foreign policy and security ac- tivities may have on the well- being of religious and ethnic minorities within a country or region." She told CNS such a "refugee impact" report could be com- pared to environmental impact statements in use for years, in which studies are done to ex- amine how proposed freeways, tunnels or bridges would affect the environment before the con- struction is approved. In similar manner, she sug- gested, the "cost-benefit ratio" of U.S. political and economic policies and their impact on refugee populations should be researched. Weigel, however, called refugee impact reports "a love- ly idea in the abstract, with very little practical utility." "The issue is whether you've thought through the political endgame" while strategizing, he said. "That's the way to |e " . .... prevent refugee prob ms.. In Weigel's view, the Kurd episode is a good argument for U.S."neo-imperialism." If the U.S. government hadn't caved in to Saudi fears of a broken up Iraq, he argues, the Kurds wouldn't be in the situation they're in. Catastrophe is apt to occur when regional powers are allowed to influence U.S. foreign policy, he believes. The outcome is "a lot of people get dead," said Weigel. But Father Hehir said responses to crises within na- tions should be multilateral if possible. He stressed the importance of strengthening the role of the world's international institu" tions "on a systematic basis." "In a world of sovereign states, the principle of non" intervention (by one individual nation into another} does make sense," he said. But he added that exceptions need to be made in cases, such asthe Kurds, that involve a high degree of human suffering. 00Offi 1 cia "" from Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Father Eric Russ, granted indefinite leave of absence, at his own request, effective Wednesday, April 17. Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: