Turning of the tables
The first century of the Common Era (CE) was a very stressful time for the fledgling community of faith in Jerusalem that followed in the footsteps of the martyred leader Jesus the Christ.
Convinced that Jesus had somehow cheated death and was now strategically positioned at the right hand of Yahweh, the Jewish deity of the Old Testament, followers of Jesus, went everywhere preaching that Jesus was the long-awaited messiah and saviour of the world.
The ‘OGs’ of the Old Testament and enforcers of Yahweh, the Jewish community, were less than impressed with the new religious movement. Having cast all kinds of aspirations on Jesus and his mother, the Jews of the first century CE decided to dig deep into their bag of religiosity and pull out a secret weapon that was destined to become a favourite among all three of the Abrahamic faiths.
The Jews unleashed a wave of religious persecution which they might have called in those days Operation Nip It in the Bud. Christians were hounded, arrested, and killed, sometimes without any of the niceties of a trial.
Europeans, in the form of the Roman Empire, and the Jewish nation conspired to rout the early Christian movement. Political tension between the Roman Empire and the Jews eventually led to the destruction of the Jewish temple in CE 70 and the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem. The genocide directed against Christians sporadically continued until the fourth century when the Europeans found Jesus.
The conversion of Constantine to Christianity in CE 312 proved to be a blessing and a curse to the Christian community. On the plus side, the religious paradigm shift in the Roman Empire meant that the Christian community had crossed a figurative Red Sea and were now in the promised land of preferential treatment. Constantine gifted the Church with wealth and the capacity to unload obscene amounts of violence on its enemies.
The Christian Church wasted no time in turning the tables on its detractors. The new, sharp, glistening sword of the Church was unleashed. Heretics, pagans, and — wait for it — Jews were all hounded, arrested, and killed, sometimes without the niceties of a trial. Heretics were burnt, pagan temples were destroyed, and Jews were forced to walk over hot coals in memory of their former persecution of Christians and, more specifically, because of the unforgivable sin of deicide.
The persecution of Jews by European Christians would continue for centuries and culminate in the inglorious acts of the Nazis, who implemented a final solution to rid Europe of all Jews. The final solution of the Nazis is undoubtedly one of the best-known genocides of all times and is considered in some scholarly circles as the benchmark of what a real holocaust looks like.
Having found their lives to be in jeopardy on land and sea and by night and day in Europe, secular-minded Jews decided to take the fate of the Jewish people into their own hands and started a repatriation movement to Palestine. This Zionist dream of a Jewish homeland was finally achieved in 1948 when the modern nation of Israel was accepted by the United Nations.
The land settled by the new nation of Israel was neither terra nullius nor a desert waiting for the expert hand of European Jews to make it blossom into a modern-day Garden of Eden. Palestine was inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were removed to make room for newly arriving Jews from Europe and elsewhere.
The establishment of the State of Israel by the British and the ensuing Nakba further destabilised what can only be describes as the most volatile piece of real estate on the planet. Christians and Muslims for centuries had carved out a river of blood to determine control over Jerusalem. The addition of a third triumphalist religion into the Middle East mix only added new tributaries to the river of blood.
The current bloodletting taking place in Gaza is a stark reminder that the human heart is very prone to wander and to forget the lessons that history is supposed to teach.
The modern State of Israel, backed by the military might of the United States and the European Union, has been engaging in what appears to be an ongoing campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing directed against the Palestinian people as though the Holocaust against Jewish people never occurred.
Lenrod Nzulu Baraka