Our Lady of
Quietude of the West should frighten us well beyond
the Middle Eastern context, as it possibly means our civilisation is
In the Upper church of Annunciation in Nazareth, there
is a striking collection of images, homage of artists to Mary. A
dainty Virgin in colourful kimono holds her child dressed in
ceremonial Japanese royal robes among blue and golden flowers; a
naïve Gothic face of Madonna transferred from French Cluniac
illuminations; the Chinese Queen of Heaven cut in precious wood by
Formosa devotees; the Cuban richly inlaid statue of Madonna of
Guadeloupe, the Polish Black Madonna, the tender face of Byzantine
Mother of God, a modernist steely Madonna from the United States
look from the walls of the church, uniting us in one human family.
There is hardly an image in the world as universal and poignant as
that of the Virgin and the Child.
Wherever you go, from
Santiago de Compostella in the far west of Spain to the golden domes
of Russia, from frozen Uppsala in Sweden to Hagia Sophia in
Constantinople, you will find this adorable face. Best artists
depicted her compassionate features, her love to her child and her
sorrow. Botticelli painted her with a pomegranate and among the
Kings of the East; Michelangelo and Rafael, Cimabue and Titian, van
der Weyden and Fra Filippo Lippi were inspired by her image. This
unique mix of a young girl and mother, of vulnerability and
protection, of admiration and love formed the spiritual and
inspirational base of our civilisation.
She appeared to a
Mexican peasant, and her flower-covered image arrested the strife
and united Native Americans and Spaniards in one nation. She gave
her rosary to Saint Dominic and a letter to Portuguese kids in
Fatima. Prophet Muhammad saved and cherished her icon found in
the Mecca shrine, writes Maxim Rodinson. She appeared to a wealthy
Jewish banker Alphonse Ratisbonne, and he took orders and built
convent of Sisters of Zion in En Karim. A Palestinian Muslim in a
refugee camp of Lebanon preserved her image taken from his native
Galilee, tells Elias Khoury in his novel Bab Al-Shams (recently
translated into Hebrew by Moshe Hakham and edited by Anton Shammas).
Syrian astronauts asked for her protection in the shrine of Seidnaya
before the flight on the Soviet space shuttle[i].
legends, the Jews were often perceived as enemies of the Virgin. A
column stump on Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa marks the place of a
legendary Jewish attack on her. These were old tales, and now new
facts. This week in Bethlehem, a Jew shelled the Virgin. A Jewish
soldier in the formidable tank Merkava-3 constructed according to
the US technology at the US taxpayer’s expense fired a shell at
fifty yards at the statue of Madonna on top of The Holy Family
church in the Nativity town.
The Virgin lost an arm, and her
pretty face was disfigured. She became one of a hundred Palestinian
women shot by the Jews in the present outburst of war. This
seemingly unnecessary act of vandalism could not be an accidental
shot. No terrorist hided behind her gentle figure on the pinnacle of
the hospital church. At fifty yards, you make no mistake. It could
be orders; it could be a spontaneous expression of feelings by a
Jewish fanatic. Our world rewinds full speed back into Dark Ages,
and as Israel rekindled traditional Jewish hostile rejection of
Christianity, it can not be excluded.
Whatever it was meant
to be, the shrapnel shot became the last check of the mind control
system: will this sacrilege become widely known? And will it stir
the hearts of Christendom? The doubly negative result of the check
probably confirmed the greatest hopes of its initiators. The world
mass media, from New York to Moscow via Paris and London, has been
secured in the grip of Jewish supremacists; not a squeak gets out
unless authorised. The current Israeli invasion of Ramallah and
Bethlehem was covered under the heading ‘Sharon looks for peace’..
The UN resolution equalized the aggressors and their victims in
sotto voce. The Western mainstream media drew the blanket of silence
over the cries from the Holy Land.
writes this week: “It’s supposedly the third rail in journalism even
to have a discussion of how much Jews control the media. Jude
Wanniski remarked last week in his daily "Memo on the Margin" in his
Web newsletter Supply Side Investor that it was certainly true to
say that the Jews control discussion of Israel in the media here”.
Indeed, the story was reported by Reuters and this dreadful picture
was taken by an AP photographer. It was available to the world
media. Still, no important newspaper or magazine printed it.
Instead, they published stories of Christian
The conscience of the West suffers of the
mirror vision complaint regarding the Middle East. Terrorist actions
were perpetrated by the Jews against Palestinians, but the very name
of Palestinians became the epitome of terrorism. Palestinians face
holocaust; Jewish soldiers print numbers on their foreheads and
forearms, separate men and send them into concentration camps, but
Jewish holocaust memorials spread like mushrooms. Israel and the US
disregard the international law, but their adversaries branded
‘rogue nations’[iii]. While Palestinian towns are invaded by
Israeli tanks, the Wall Street Journal published an article Israel
under Siege by the illegal ‘Mayor’ of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert.
Churches are shelled, Gospel books burnt, Christians persecuted by
the Jews in Palestine, but it is Christian anti-Semitism that
worries news editors and churchmen.
The accusation of
anti-Semitism became the blood libel of our days. Or was it always?
In the Merchant of Venice, Shylock complained of Gentile hatred,
though it is he who hated, while others disproved of his
loan-sharking practices. Instead of cutting the loan rate, he
preferred to cut Antonio’s flesh, and hide behind his claims of
discrimination. If Shakespeare’s Portia would have our modern
attitude, she would rather let Shylock have his pound of flesh
than stop him and be accused of anti-Semitism.
such a spirit, the guardians of the public conscience decided to
spike or play down the sacrilege in Bethlehem. This quietude of the
West should frighten us well beyond the Middle Eastern context, as
it possibly means our civilisation is dead.
can’t survive if its sacral heart ceased to beat. When faith loses
its relevance, civilisation dies, wrote the philosopher of history
Arnold Toynbee in his explanation of the ancient Egypt’s collapse.
There is no life without sacral, seconded the philosopher of
religion, Mircea Eliade. Whether we accept philosophy of history, or
mystic reading, or pragmatic sociological studies; whether we
follow Durkheim or Heidegger, the conclusion is the same:
indifference to the fate of the Virgin of Bethlehem bodes ill to the
Christian Western civilisation. It implies that the Europeans and
Americans lost the sacral core, and our profaned civilisation is
doomed to extinction, unless we’ll turn away from the edge of the
[i] W. Dalrymple, From the Holy Mountain
Billy Graham: War Criminal
[iii] See Francis Boyle in CounterPunch 14.3.02