Dialogue cannot exist, in the absence of a profound love for the world and for people


"Dialogue cannot exist, however, in the absence of a profound love for the world and for people. The naming of the world, which is an act of creation and re-creation, is not possible if it is not infused with love. Love is at the same time the foundation of dialogue and dialogue itself. It is thus necessarily the task of responsible Subjects and cannot exist in a relation of domination. Domination reveals the pathology of love: sadism in the dominator and masochism in the dominated. Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause—the cause of liberation. And this commitment, because it is loving, is dialogical. As an act of bravery, love cannot be sentimental, as an act of freedom, it must not serve as a pretext for manipulation. It must generate other acts of freedom; otherwise, it is not love. Only by abolishing the situation of oppression is it possible to restore the love which that situation made impossible. If I do not love the world—if I do not love life—if I do not love people—I cannot enter into dialogue."

The question becomes: with whom are you in dialog? I have spent a good number of years in dialog with those who have been threatened with death for their political viewpoints in Latin America.

I preference their lived experience over the emotions of the first world church, who would prefer not to talk about difficult or divisive things.

In dialog, I love the first world church by giving it my attention, but I will not allow the peace of silence to overcome the life and death of the victims of US foreign policy.

I will stand firm in my preference for a love that honors the sufferer.

Otherwise, I honor the dominator, who demands that the world spin around his orbit, and I neglect the dominated, who suffers at the hand of the dominator.

The reason why I call those who silence the voices of the oppressed "dominators" is because, as Desmond Tutu put it,

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

If I do not hold the dominated in my heart as I dialog with the dominator, I do not generate acts of freedom.

As a spider cocoons an insect before sucking it dry, an intellectual can weave a web of words around the oppressed.

Love the spider by starving it of blood.

The spider is the first world church, the part of the first world church that demands silence for the sake of "peace." But peace in this sense is no peace at all.

Love the spider, and listen to the spider. But do not be cocooned by the spider. Else it will simply suck you dry of blood.

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About the Author

Hi. My name is Jeremiah John. I'm a sf/f writer and activist.

I just completed a dystopian science fiction novel. I run a website which I created that connects farms with churches, mosques, and synagogues to buy fresh vegetables directly and distribute them on a sliding scale to those in need.

In 2003, I spent six months in prison for civil disobedience while working to close the School of the Americas, converting to Christianity, as one does, while I was in the clink.