Monday, February 9, 2015

Breaking Barriers

 A Cuban taxi sits with an American flag
   There have been few events in history when someone knocked down a wall to end an era.  President Reagan gave the ceremonial command to “Tear down this wall.”  The Berlin Wall that stood for 28 years was torn to pieces.  President Obama knocked down an invisible wall that has stood for half a century, almost twice longer than the Berlin Wall.  In his 2015 State of the Union, he ended the Cuban embargo that began in 1960. 

   “In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new. Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo.” - President Obama

   On another kind of barrier, from the 60’s Filipinos had been rallying for the removal of US military bases in the Philippines.  Those bases were overstaying remnants of a colonial stretch that should have ended when the US recognized Philippine Independence in 1946 in the Treaty of Manila.  

   “Again I turned my attention to all the acts of oppression that go on under the sun.  I saw the tears of the oppressed, and there was no one to comfort them.  And their oppressors had the power, and there was no one to comfort them.” (Ecclesiastes 4:1)

   In 1991 Mount Pinatubo broke its silence in a thunder heard across the globe.  It covered the military bases in volcanic ash that would take more money to clean up than to move out.  The US gave up the bases back to the Filipinos in the only nature made diplomatic maneuver known to man.  Some would say it was an act of God to show that some walls would take a deity to crumble into ash.  Like the parting of the Red Sea that liberated the Israelite from Egypt, Mount Pinatubo removed the last vestiges of domination from Philippine soil.  

   “There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.” (Luke 21:11)


" But today, just months later, many young Cubans rock the American flag as part of their apparel. Whether it’s as a fashion statement, or political one, one thing is clear: the American flag is being raised in more places than just the American embassy." (ABC News, Aug. 13, 2015)

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