Saturday, May 7, 2011

St. George the martyr in the aftermath of the Osama killing

All forms of media the world over have had it easy for the past week as they have managed to fill up valuable spaces of print offline and substantial volume of pages online in the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden. As scores of people have hailed the assassination as a closure for 9/11, voices spread over the world have asked for sanity to be followed, over and against celebration and victory parades. But one thing is for sure. Small and big media enterprises, blogs and social networking sites have given Osama the space otherwise reserved for other things, and that too free of cost! What does one have to be to get coverage in the media? Good, bad or ugly?

A small review of various forms of media these days suggest that one needs to be bad or ugly, in reality or in perception, to be given space. The good no longer matters. No one is interested in that. Churches the world over are going about celebrating the festival of St. George. The officer in full gear is seen slaying the dragon and hundreds of thousands of people sport St. George as their personal slayer in chief.

The account of St. George is that of a soldier who slays the dragon and saves the princess in distress and the people of the community from the deadly enemy. The dragon is seen as a symbol of all that is evil and bad. St. George comes across as a natural saver for people in distress, suffering from evil forces.

But what goes into the background usually is the martyrdom of St. George who chooses death over life, refusing to let go of his beliefs. His strength is not his spear but rather the lack of his spear. Coming after the passion week observation of the crucifixion of Christ, this is a similar account of the master disarming himself for the sake of others. But instead of grasping the sacrifice we are fixated on the destruction of the dragon, which anyway is much more than what we think of.

The media is also fixated on the bad and the ugly. It first goes on to make Osama the number one enemy of the world and then celebrates his death at the hands of Obama and his soldiers. But is Obama (the U.S.) willing to disarm itself like St. George did? Is he (it) willing to die for the sake of humanity? The answer is no. Of course, no offence to Obama I guess. He just happens to be at the head of the self ascertained supreme power, the U.S. at the moment.

One has to struggle to understand why the U.S. first supported someone like Osama, armed him and then hunted him down. It’s just like fattening the cow before killing it. Power and the capability to kill are being celebrated here. It is not the death of Osama. The media goes along. Construct and build someone, kill him/her and then report it. This formula is the single most important driving point of many media houses these days. I wonder whether Osama will be elevated to the position of a saint because of the way he died. One also has to see whether there were internal plots within the Al-Qaeda to do away with Osama because he is better dead than alive to them.

Churches these days go through the same struggle. How much it has to arm itself and who has to be shot down. The picture of a spear less St. George would be unthinkable I guess. The need to construct various Osamas will be pushed through and we will buy it. The spear of St. George rather than the cross he bore will be given more importance. We are as guilty of slaying Osama as the U.S.! Let the sinless one among us throw the first stone!


Anonymous said...

Jerry John Kurien, facebook, May 7, 2011- Great Article! This reminds me of something i read long back on media which stated that though we all know - Media being sensational and biased ,the importance of Media cannot be ignored especially at this age where globalisation and liberisation is in the forefront-i guess this applies to the churches too!!

Fr. Jerry Kurian said...

The role of the media definitely can't be ignored. But we can't depend solely on the news big media houses provide us. Therefore we need alternatives. Alternatives for news. The church has to look at what is projected through festivals to the new generation. This is where we need to read between the lines and come out with the real message.