Hamas and Netanyahu: Beware “the Spiral of Violence”

One very real spiritual warrior whom I respect is the late Archbishop of Sao Paolo, Dom Helder Camara.  His book, Spiral of Violencespeaks to some of the reality that is happening in Gaza and Israel today. 

Christian Palestinian activist Jonathan Kuttab, co-founder of Nonviolence International and Friends of Sabeel of North America, shares his vision for the future of Palestine and Israel. From Beyt Tikkun.

The book, written in 1970, is very short and to the point and is dedicated “To the memory of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.”  It was written when the military dictatorship of Brazil was ensconced in power and the church was the only institution not directly under its control. 

The dictatorship tortured many priests and lay workers in the church and at one point, among 12,000 political prisoners in prison, the average age was 22 years.  “It is a crime to be young today in Brazil” said one study.

In his book, Camera points out that “injustices are a form of violence.  One can and must say that they are everywhere the basic violence, violence number 1.”   

Inhumanity toward others is the first violence and from that arises the “second violence” which is an uprising, usually from the young.  

This established violence, this violence No. 1, attracts violence No. 2, revolt, either of the oppressed themselves or of youth, firmly resolved to battle for a more just and human world.

May there be peace with justice and mercy. “She Who Hears the Cries of the World.” Music by Matthew Fox’s student Jennifer Berezen, voice of the Star Goddess by Olympia Dukakis. Unanimous.

A third violence arises “when conflict comes out into the streets, when violence No, 2 tries to resist violence No, 1, the authorities consider themselves obliged to preserve or re-establish public order, even if this means using force; this is violence No, 3.”  It often follows that “the logic of violence leads them to use moral and physical torture” to reestablish order. 

Violence number 3 is where the media often comes on board and spreads the images of violence and repression.  But it is easy to miss the origins of the violence number 3, that is the violence number one, the violence of injustice.

*Dom Helder Camara, Spiral of Violence, pp. 18, 29-37.

See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine, pp. 77-104.

And Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

Banner Image: Amid the flames and darkness, the questions. Pixabay image by Chenspec, used in Thom Hartmann podcast on the former White House tenant’s likely responsibility for the intel leak enabling the attack.

Queries for Contemplation

How do you apply Camera’s analysis of three spirals of violence to the horrific situation playing out in the Middle East today?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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8 thoughts on “Hamas and Netanyahu: Beware “the Spiral of Violence””

  1. Avatar

    Thank you so much DM team, for the beautiful mediation “She Who Hears The Cries Of The Earth.” I really needed this blessed gift, as I could feel myself starting to wabble, from all the inhumane violence shaking our world.

  2. Avatar

    Yes. Very good. One thing about the Palestinians is they have tried nonviolent resistance for which they were shot and beaten and the mainstream media ignored it all. I have been following this conflict closely for 25 years. No matter what the Palestinians have done to try and change the situation, Israel and the US have continued the violent occupation and apartheid. It is much worse than South Africa. The obscene violence of Hamas comes out of a context of poverty and violence and despair where young men have no way to live a life with any hope.

  3. Avatar

    Not only does this spiral exist in the Middle East as described in the article, but it exists in the USA in very subtle and obvious ways. Our country is engulfed in a spiral of violence and the #1 loop of the spiral is DENIAL. Oppressing the Truth over and over and over again is part of the spiral of violence. We must wake up to what we are doing so we don’t mimick those we point the finger at or the situations we instigated.

  4. Avatar

    Jonathan Kuttab speaks to an underlying truth about the full humanity of Jews, which is that once liberated from their staggering experience of the Holocaust and allowed to be free agents in a new context they would each as individuals have to face their dark side. This is true of other victims of radical exclusion like blacks, women, LGBTQ2+. Once liberated they don’t all choose to live lives of transcendent wisdom; they don’t all choose to engage the deeper truth that would set them free i.e., that we are all One and “that love is the only engine of survival”, the conclusion of Leonard Cohen in his prophetic song ‘The Future’.

    As for patriarchy, we know that many men throughout history have lived lives of grace, courage and authenticity for which they often paid a price exacted by their fellow men who refused to live by such high standards. Jesus himself had to face off with ‘the devil’ during a period of testing in the wilderness. He ultimately warned that if we choose to live by the sword (gun, bomb) we will die by the same. He also predicted an apocalyptic outcome should we not transcend our shadows i.e., there will be wars and rumors of wars.


  5. Avatar
    Katherine Sogolow

    Hoping and praying that Netanyahu will be compelled to
    Halt the ground war from moving forward, that humanitarian aid will be offered by the UN— which should be offered by the US as well. The one sided war rhetoric in the US is disgusting, and makes America culpable if Israel continues forward with a ‘final solution’ among the Palestinians.. Please check out this video from Matthew Cooke:
    Peace now!

  6. Avatar

    I will add another resource , Jim Wallis’ thoughts from a Christian perspective. What Israel has done in the past, what it is planning to do, and our support of this violence all along is obscene. Israel has violated most of the UN’s list of basic rights, as has the United States of America. As Ed Amos has pointed out, the cruelties visited on ordinary Palestinians have been mostly ignored and unreported. Amnesty International has been working to help them for a long time. https://substack.com/app-link/post?publication_id=517037&post_id=137899409&utm_source=post-email-title&utm_campaign=email-post-title&isFreemail=true&r=2qygel&token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxNjYyMDk5MzMsInBvc3RfaWQiOjEzNzg5OTQwOSwiaWF0IjoxNjk3MTI1MTY2LCJleHAiOjE2OTk3MTcxNjYsImlzcyI6InB1Yi01MTcwMzciLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.LpWS6nknZXBNX3zFokePM6zrgNnHF_BxUD7uj20Kv6M

  7. Avatar

    Bring hostages home. Israel ignores them almost. Another thougt is no nation on earth should have a constitution-charter that calls for extermination of another race or tribe or people or gender or color. (Are you listening Iran?) Are listening Hamas and even Israel when it over reaches with revenge. Palastinians Citizens and hostages are used as bargaining chops

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