Comments, Globe, In Focus, Latin America

Who am I?

One fate befalls them all: Xi Jimping, Vladimir Putin, you, me, all of us. “We take good chance, and tie it to our strength’, as the poet John Donne wrote. Or, hopefully, we do.

Nigel Pocock

Probably much of the time, not. Much depends, also, on very different meanings of “good’. Of the Party?

Our goals determine what our fate will be. Live by the sword, die by it. Probability. Oppose the tyrant with peacemaking or truth that he (most likely) does not want, and the result could well be the same.

Yet chance makes for fairness, or so it would seem. Chance is the enemy of the tyrant. Many things are predictable, and the tyrant wants nothing to be left to chance. Fear!

Thankfully, even the tyrant cannot control everything. Many things are highly unpredictable. Who knows who will be struck by lightning, or killed by a slate falling off a roof?

Both the Taliban, and Calvinists, will say that God causes all of these things―He is in control, He is “Sovereign’, and not to have absolute control is not to be Sovereign, and therefore, by definition, not to be God.

Rather, exclusive, you might say. Both for Him, and for those He saves, who have no freewill in their salvation, except in a limited way, that they must choose his will. Uncomfortably like some human models of governance, too?

Quite so, but what if we have a different model of God―as love (and not just a disinterested love), a love that wants to serve the other, who values genuine freedom, even if the cost is ever so high in terms of personal rejection? “Condemned to be free’, as Sartre famously expressed it?

Is this to be “wet’, a despised “Uncle Tom’, fulfilling the every whim of the tyrannical master? Assuredly, not, if it means standing up to the tyrant, even (howls of execration!) loving the enemy!

However, this love is not love, for victim or tyrant, if light cannot be shone into the darkness, and their wicked deeds exposed! This is not the servanthood of the wimp, but takes enormous courage and conviction.

Two thousand years ago, the tyrant Herod, receiving the adulation of the crowd, “A god and not a man!”―falls ill, is “eaten by worms, and dies’.

A metaphor for a biological reality, of the grave, eaten by the bacteria of one’s own stomach, until, nine years later, only the skeleton remains.

One fate befalls them all! “Great Leaps Forward’ have a habit of becoming embarrassments, a blot of shame on a national history, only to obliterated by the gentle black pen of Winston Smith. Such are the warnings from history!

The tyrant then, plays God. To control all things, even his own fate. His doctor becomes afraid to see him. Locks are placed on his decanters.

Like Reinhard Heyrich, flaunting his power, arrogance and abuse of authority, he goes a step too far. An open-topped car, his power to be seen and admired by all! Until a grenade rips, open his life. Then the maggots really descend. No longer the star, his acolytes kill and dismember, hundreds, even thousands, in a message of vengeance.

Who am I?/ Fate, thou art my master! (Paul Gauguin). Who am I? / One death, a tragedy (Stalin).

Who am I? / A million deaths; a statistic (Stalin). Who am I? / The offscouring of all things (Apostle Paul). Who am I?/ The Way, the Truth, the Life (Jesus). Who am I? /Condemned to be free! (J.P Sartre).

Who am I?/ Fantastic, wonderful! (Nigel Desborough). Who am I? Extermination.  (Field Marshall von Reichenau). Who am I?

(Photos: Pixabay)

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