As some of the brightest and most honest of those in our religious institutions have recognised, too often, we, the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, have revered more than we have revealed about him and his message. And it is a shame, because that extraordinary man who, 2000 years ago, passed through this life doing good, gives us the greatest insights that I am aware of about how to understand what is happening today in Western societies that are so ‘Christian’, ‘democratic’ and ‘well-informed’. This is a time to tell tales of Christmas, as Charles Dickens did in his magisterial classic. And now, the need for such tales is greater than ever: now, when a pathological greed and insatiable ambition have addled the minds of our elites – elites that have lost not only their perception of eternity that Dickens tells us of, but even their sense of reality, decency and shame. They lack, it goes without saying, the merest trace of empathy.
However, the Jesus that I want to talk about today isn’t the Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem, but the Jesus who is the scourge of the powerful hypocrites: “He cracked his whip and threw them all out of the Temple…” (John 2,15). Now that was real violence, especially when compared with the various protestors of today who are accused of being “people against the system”. It is this Jesus that gives us the greatest insights with which to assess and interpret the ever-present and never-ending photos of our elites in the seats of honour during the recent celebrations of Martin Luther King (in the 50th anniversary of his historic speech at the foot of the Abraham Lincoln monument in Washington) and Nelson Mandela (at his funeral). And this is not a trivial issue: it reveals only too well the radical perversion carried out by the Western political-economic-media system – a system that is determined to dumb down and demobilise our society. Among Jesus’ many damning attacks against the elites (Matthew 23, 12-36), the gospels recount this one because, even whilst the elites built statues to the old prophets that their fathers had assassinated, they were already plotting Jesus’ own assassination.
For centuries now in the West, the powerful have taken away this awkward Jesus of Nazareth and his subversive message. Now they are appropriating figures such as Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela. It makes one feel embarrassed on his behalf, seeing Barak Obama attempting to associate his image with that of the person who, with his direct attacks on the war in Vietnam confronted not only the government of the U.S.A. but also a significant portion of his fellow campaigners in the struggle for the civil rights of African Americans. Obama, the candidate on whom Wall Street has betted so heavily; the seducer at the centre of probably the largest image-management campaign in history; the promoter of so many aggressive wars and thousands of criminal acts using sophisticated drones that kill, from a distance, without any legal process, fifteen civilians every day for every supposed terrorist that they manage to ‘eliminate’; the president that placed in key positions the same corrupt individuals that brought about a financial crisis that is leaving millions of people in the ditch; the person ultimately responsible for the ‘intelligence’ services that are violating all legal and moral rules… The only way he resembles Luther King is in the colour of his skin. And as for Nelson Mandela: has anybody reminded us that he could have avoided nearly three decades in prison simply by signing a sheet of paper declaring his renunciation of the armed struggle against an apartheid system supported above all by the U.S.A., but also by the UK, Israel and the dictatorships of Chile and Brazil?
Meanwhile in Rwanda, on 13th December to be precise, the presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, has been condemned to 15 years in prison. In addition, on 1st January Patrick Karegeya, the former chief of the Paul Kagame’s intelligence services was assassinated in South Africa. He knew too much and was convinced that Kagame was driving Rwanda and the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo towards disaster. Then on the 2nd the Congolan Coronel Mamadou Ndala was assassinated. He was the commander of the operations that were defeating the aggressive forces of Rwanda and Uganda. And that is without talking about the many other political prisoners such as Déogratias Mushayidi o Bernard Ntaganda. If hardly anybody has heard about Victoire in our society, it is not because her moral stature and leadership are not comparable to those of Nelson Mandela or for that matter to those of the Burmese Nobel prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi, but because she forms part of the category: ‘living leaders who present an obstacle to the pillaging being carried out by the big Western multinationals. In this case, it was the pillaging of the abundant resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of those who know her story believe that the person responsible for her imprisonment is Paul Kagame, the criminal Rwandan President. I am convinced that those ultimately responsible are certain powerful lobbies: in the moment that she said ‘no’ to the high command of the U.S. administration that proposed to her (as she confided to me herself) that she collaborated with them in the annexation, by Rwanda, of the rich eastern DRC, these lobbies condemned her to disappear.