It is telling and indeed intriguing that three religions, coming from the same root have such deep-seated animosities. Even though all the three religions acknowledge half a dozen protagonists as their founding fathers, still Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have developed such deep rooted enmity. In fact, every strain of these religions in turn has led to more animosity that even after 15 centuries, it remains fresh and potent! Protestants vs Catholics or Shia vs Sunnis. I can understand if for some time, there may be misgivings… but there seems to be no end to this enmity!
All the morals of Moses, or Love of Jesus or revelations of Mohammad are of no use if all these can inspire is nothing more than hatred and cruelty. A Sunni feels no compunction in hanging an Ahmediya simply because the latter added another protagonist to the long list of Prophets. A Jew feels little love for a Palestinian and vice versa.
Nowhere and in nothing else has a “Past” had such a profound and debilitating effect on such a vast mass of humanity and for so long as the “Past” of Jerusalem. Sometimes, I wonder if there indeed could be anything “holy” about a place whose most practically felt contribution to the contemporary world has been hatred and wars! Holiness should inspire men and women to rise FAR above their stature and mind. Between the Demon and God, lies the Human. Holiness should take this humanity towards the realm of Godliness, but instead if that journey takes the humanity to demonic coordinates, then how profound can it be?
Yesterday, Barack Obama gave a speech in Cairo. It was a speech that many in history SHOULD have given. He said what many SHOULD have said over the centuries since Mohammad but sadly and unfortunately DIDN’T! These were words that were resting on the Lips of Eternity to be uttered…. but there wasn’t enough of a humanity available which could get over the bondage of that “Past” to even say these things as unequivocally as Obama said it now.
Make no mistake. This speech was not just a political speech. It was an obligation of an entire humanity….. that aspired to take the path to Holi-ness and Godliness to speak out in order to challenge a humanity that had reveled in the safe confines of the narrow but morbid path to demonic ends. When we hate, we are demons. When we love, we are Gods. Between this Love and Hate, we remain Humans. If one Human can acknowledge another Human and the obvious frailties of being so, then there is no meaning of Hate and Love. Man, at that moment transcends God and Demon both, out into a realm all his own.
Until now, either people of wisdom and power past didn’t have the sagacity and will or the courage enough to take this step.. a leap really. A leap of faith that Humanity can be one. E pluribus unum, (“Out of Many, One”).
He is being criticized as many people making such efforts are. Some say he didn’t go far enough, while others believe he went too far. Some say he is all rhetoric, others accuse him of giving away too much. Dwarfs have seldom in our history understood what a Giant can see at the horizon. It is no different here.
As much as he took a difficult and unprecedented step, and exhorted others to do their bit, there are people on all sides who are “waiting’. Waiting for his “next step”. Little realizing that the “next step” in this entire game of giant reconciliation has to be taken in THEIR hearts and minds.
Indeed it is damning for the entire humanity when it keeps waiting for Prophetic figures to extricate it out of all the sins that it commits willingly and nonchalantly. Even something as simple as a inward look in the hearts, beyond the facade, is not possible. Even that needs a Papal or Prophetic nod. Slavery is not always a physical phenomenon. It is mental as well.
Today, if we all can find it in our hearts to take the “next step”, then maybe humanity can turn the corner and move the pendulum of our existential movement to a Holy and Godly direction. Then who needs Jerusalem?
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