The Easter Message
EDITORIAL, 17 Apr 2017
#477 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service
From Trump’s USA was not resurrection, but death. 59 Tomahawk missiles for Syria, the “mother of all bombs” for Afghanistan; Muslim states. Both attacks were based on lies: the old lie that 9/11 had its origin in Afghanistan, the new lie that Assad deliberately had used sarin[i]. The counter-narrative–that USA had provided the gas and used the accident as pretext for an attack–may stand. Let us see if USA-NATO accept an investigation; with a clean conscience, they would.
The USA back to normal? With Trump surrounded by generals ready for killing and billionaires ready for exploiting? “Greatness” after some “populism” and America First protectionism? With “NATO no longer obsolete”–to Stoltenberg’s delight–and China no longer manipulating currency rates–to China’s? Not quite. Trump makes a difference.
With Trump, there is now a perfect match between Trump narcissism (I know/am better) and paranoia (countless twits against critics) and US narcissism (exceptionalism) and paranoia (“us vs them”). A mad leader on top of a crazy state, applauded by frightened NATO “allies”, driven by Russia-phobia of old and by the more recent IS(lamo)-phobia.
In the West-Russia-China-IS quadrangle, Russia, China and some Islamic countries–with huge Pakistan and Kazakhstan–are in the SCO-Shanghai Cooperation Organisation alliance. Imagine a Muslim Spring–or any season–throwing off the yoke of rulers imposed by Western (neo)colonialism. Liberated, they would not go back to the West. Rather, to the SCO that would happily receive them.
Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera Madama Butterfly–libretto based on John Luther Long’s short story turned into a play seen by Puccini–tells it all. The gist of the plot is US naval officer Pinkerton exploiting a Japanese woman Cho-Cho in a marriage convenience and she mothering his son. Enters his “real wife” Adelaide, takes the blond child, and Cho-Cho commits suicide. Grabbing what they can use, and leaving behind a ruined Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya; with more coming.
A positive Easter message? Maybe some excerpts from my 13-scene play Maria, Magdalena and the Passion Story (TRANSCEND University Press-TUP 2016, in Norwegian)? They mediate to save Christ from death and resurrection in heaven. Actually, a “Quarter of Christians don’t believe in the Resurrection” (The Times 10 Apr 2017). And most Christians are unaware that God is a vegetarian, prescribing green herbs and fruits for meat, for humans and for “everything that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:29-30).
From Scenes 1, 2: Magdalena and Maria: The Crisis-The Plan
Magdalena: Maria, hurry, come! They intend to kill Jesus, nailing him to a cross until he dies!! The high priest Caiaphas is behind it all.
Maria: Jesus, my son? He who came out of me!–out of my own womb-
Magdalena: -and into mine – I love him with all of me!
Maria: So it is right as it is written, the Father will sacrifice his own and only son to give humanity a second chance, cleansed of sin.
Magdalena: What is that, “written”? What kind of nonsense is that–we will all be pure in our hearts because someone kills my beloved Jesus?
Maria: The Father sacrifices His Son for love of humanity, and the Son sacrifices himself for them, and out of his obedience to the Father.
Magdalena: No one has the right to kill my Jesus, the best human on earth, sacrificing himself to help others. What can we do to save him?
Maria: Maybe by finding what they want, and turn it into something everyone can accept? I can ask those up there; you, those down here.
Magdalena: And when they reply we ask more, with some suggestions?
Maria: But do not debate; dialogue with mutual questioning. I am close to the Trinity and can find out how Father, Son and Holy Spirit are thinking.
Magdalena: And I can talk with Caiaphas, Judas, Pontius Pilate, here.
Maria: And Barabbas who will liberate the Jews from the Roman Empire! But we do not get away from the cross, the Father will not let go of some sacrifice. Only as little as possible, Jesus must survive.
Magdalena: I hate the thought that my Jesus will suffer.
Maria: Maybe we can use something God knows well, when he tested Abraham’s faithfulness: was he willing to sacrifice his son Isaac?
Magdalena: Akedat Yitzhak, the binding of Isaac we learned at school?
Maria: Abraham stood there with his dagger, God sent an angel. ‘Stop! You have proven your willingness’, said the Archangel Gabriel. I’ll talk with him, but not behind God’s back, he is God’s messenger.
From scenes 12, 13: Maria, Gabriel, Magdalena: Solutions-Future
Gabriel: So now I’ll save Jesus, as Isaac was saved? Jesus is Abraham and Isaac in one person, willing to sacrifice himself.
Maria: Jesus can show the spirit of sacrifice, but only up to a point.
Gabriel: How do I know when to intervene, if Father really wants this?
Maria: When Jesus says ’My God, my God–why have you forsaken me?’ he is waiting for your coming. And you intervene. As in akedat.
Gabriel: That we can; we are the guys fixing things! Sudden darkness, earthquake, how about Richter 8? And we take him down, in the dark.
Maria: And Magdalena and I have a cave where he can rest and heal; we are the girls fixing things!-and the cave was ready, a stone in front.
Magdalena: An angel helped us roll the stone aside on the third day, Sunday. And he was free, to exercise his compassion, his ministry.
Maria: We hope future priests will talk less about eternal salvation, more about good deeds and make the church a place for deeds not words.
Magdalena: The Father was more human and thee Son survived. That’s a lot! Maybe we can hope for a Christianity less focused on suffering, more on healing. Jesus at the sickbed and with the lonely?
Maria: With less hell and more paradise. Without contempt for women. More peace for everybody on earth, not only for those who please God.
Magdalena: Less class, less inequality. Less Christianity to judge and punish living and dead. More to help, to solve, to concile, to heal.
Maria: A new Christianity, learning from Jesus, not about Jesus!
Magdalena: Like Bird Phoenix from the ashes of the old (they embrace).
[i]. Why should he when things were moving in his favor? But the gas narrative is strong: “Pilot of sarin gas jet flew in previous chemical gas attack”, The Times 10 Apr 2017.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. Prof. Galtung has published 1670 articles and book chapters, over 470 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and 167 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
Tags: Christianity, Muslim, NATO, Trump, USA, Violence
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 17 Apr 2017.
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