In this period of wars inappropriately defined as “ religious”, the symbol of the Cross returns with force. The massacre of the Coptic Christians by the Isis while they were invoking the name of Christ represents the very essence of martyrdom. After two thousand years, the logic of the world does not seem to have changed much.
But our society too, apparetly Christian, though often pervaded by idols like consumerism, materialism and uncurbing hedonism continues experiencing malaise, a real and proper rebellion, towards the most important and well-known emblem in history. We are still far from the ideal cities immagined by Tommaso Campanella, we are far from the concept of equity and tollerance which should unite mankind as belonging to the same species, beyond the census, the caste, skin-colour or religion.
We are not aware of being minute components of a ball shot into space at 180.000 Kilometres a hour, how little we are. We behave as gods, managing our lives, passing judgments over the lives of others and at times even witholding the right to either allow others to exist or not. This i show then, mankind crucifixes someone everyday. The Christians in Syria and in Iraq for example, forced to abbandon their own houses, martyred by the violence of Isis; or all those villages destrooyed by the fury of Boko Haram, who uses homicide kidnappings, rape in the name of a distorted concept of Islam.
But let us not be misled in thinking that these crucifixes today are only those stained with blood. Even in our daily life, in a Democratic western world, we are often those who lift a wooden log on which to crucify someone: children off the streets, gypsies, drug-addicts, ex-convicts, the poor, prostitutes; these all, not only has the right to live not been granted, but also the right to survive has been denied. A slap in face to human dignity.
Let’s speak of numbers. Current reports account of the letter N which the Caliphate has marked the Christian houses of Mosul before forcing them to flee. A letter that intends meaning “Nasara” for Nazarene, in other words Christian; a symbol which the world has learnt to recognise not as a sign of shame, as the terrorists would intend, but of the profound faith of the persecuted Christians. Each year “Open Doors” compiles a “black list” of high-risk countries for the Christians, a phenomenon on the rise if we had to take into account the estimates in 2014, when there have been 4.344 victims and 1.062 churches ahve been under attack.805 million people throughout the world instead, suffer from food-shortage. The exception majority of people suffering from hunger (709 million) live in developing countries, where 13,5% of the population suffers from malnutrition. A daily ordeal for the simple survival.
Carrying a cross each day are also those children living off the streets; between 100 and 150 million or something similar have been estimated and their numbers are said to be on the increase, due to the global population growth and urbanisation. We should use the conditional tense here “could”, because if they are amongst those who are physically visible, seeing that they spend most of their time off the city-streets, they are somewhat strangely enough invisible, because not accountable for statistics, population censuses, or institutions because excluded from programmes and state politics.
Summing up all the crucifixes afore-described we are faced with estimates that bring a shiver down our spine, so high they are that it would be impossible not to note them. On the contrary, to these are to be added estimates of ex-convicts left to themselves, the mentally ill, the gypsies subject to discrimination, the ‘new’ poor rejected by society. A lot of visible suffering which stands before our eyes – like Jesus of Golgotha – but which, governments of various countries in complicity pretend not to see.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati