By Daniel Downs
An excellent editorial was published in yesterday’s edition of the Guardian, a U.K. newspaper. The editor shows how the short story Christ in Concrete relates the Good Friday story to past and present sacrifice of individuals that altered human history. The story was a thinly veiled account of the life and death of Italian-American writer Pietro di Danato’s father Geremio, who was an underpaid brick layer. Peitro likened his father life and work-related death on Good Friday to the Via Delarosa of Christ and his selfless suffering as a result of mindless capitalism. Christ in Concrete shifted the American mood, and Geremio’s death counts among those that have, to one extent or another, altered history.
The editor also mentioned the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc who burned himself to death protesting against the South Vietnamese government’s terrible treatment of fellow Buddhists. His death sparked a movement among the South Vietnamese people that resulted in the fall of the Ngo Dinh Diem’s government.
The editor is right the sacrifices of those men and of men like Jan Palach in Czechoslovokia in 1969 or Mohamed Bouazizzi in Tunisia in 2010 cannot be compared to the sacrifices of lives in Jihad.
They cannot even be compared to the sacrifices farmers, parents, spouses who sacrificed their lives so that their loved ones would survive the end of their life of farming. In the 1980s, Federal Reserve induced inflation caused many rural bank defaults and interest rates of agricultural loans to skyrocket. Farm loans encouraged by rural farm lenders has to be called in. Of course, most farmers couldn’t pay, resulting in bankruptcy. What urban bankers, investors and politicians didn’t realize was that farming is life to generational farm families. The end of farming meant the end of life. As a result, many unusual accidents occurred killing the head of the bankrupt farms. The benefit was the large insurance claims were be paid to their surviving spouses and children.
“The insecure economic world in which Geremio lived – and died – is back with us again, after a half century during which we thought we had made its return impossible. Our leaders, and those who influence them, are not malign. But they are inept, and they seem often to be uncaring.”
What the editor failed to mentioned is that Jesus Christ lived in a world dominated by the same kind of leaders who produced economic conditions that impoverished masses in Israel, Asia, Europe, and the rest of the world they controlled. The difference between Jesus’ death and those mentioned in the editorial is this: The sacrifice of the lives mentioned in editorial produced freedom and justice in their nations for a season, but Jesus’ sacrifice secured life for all people in all nations forever. The death and resurrection of Christ is source of the freedom enjoyed by West still today.
We fail to return to the source of our freedom at our own peril.
(The eidtorial can be read at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/06/good-friday-when-line-is-crossed.