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Comments for entry Achtung!
At the risk of offending anyone...or boring people to death...
I am still listening to the Bach St. Matthew Passion. (After all it is long!) There are indeed great moments of heavenly music. The singers are singing in German, but I just heard the word "Israel", so I guess the word Israel is the same in German as it is in English and other languages. Hearing that word made me realize that I must be up to the part in the story where the Jews get portrayed as blood thirsty, crazed, vengence seekers who spit on God. And it strikes me as I hear this in GERMAN that even Bach's music may have added to the climate of anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust.
Now, this MUST be controversial...to say that the great and wonderful J.S. Bach had anything to do with the Holocaust! But, of course, I do not mean that he had anything directly to do with it. But he, like hundreds or thousands of other artists of all types passed on this story vilifying the Jews, and when you add that all up it had to have had a bad effect.
Just imagine Germans hearing about how the Jews spit on God, and screamed "Crucify him, crucify him!" How even the Roman governor pitied him...but not the Jews! Then you hear this heavenly music that makes you want to melt and cry, and you feel such anger at those Jews. How could they be so evil?!
Yet, this is coming to my ears in the language of the culture that tried to commit genocide on the Jews. The culture that called the Jews vermin, and rounded them up like cattle and packed them into freight trains to concentration camps. There they experimented on them as if they were animals. They laughed as they killed children in front of parents and parents in front of children. They made life a living hell on earth for the Jews. But then, why not? Look what they did to Jesus!!
Oh boy. Maybe I am overreacting. But I am printing these thoughts more for posterity than anything else. The peoples of the world who spread these stories about the Jews must understand the pain that they cause Jews. And they must also understand the consequences of passing down year after year, generation after generation, a type of hatred, the scapegoating of a small group of people. Due to these stories, the Jews go from being a holy people of God to the killers of God. They go from the enlightened people who brought the world Isaiah and his call that the nations shall "beat their swords into plowshares", into a mob that spits on God. (Sorry, that spitting image just won't leave my head.)
Knowing that this Easter, as in every Easter for 2,000 years, this story is once again being told to a new generation gives me a great pain in the pit of my heart. How often does the non-Jewish world hear from a Jew how so many of us feel. I never brought this up in public before because I did not want to offend any Christians, even though I was offended by some of their stories. But since LN brought up his perception that the Matthew Passion had elements of anti-Semitism, it opened the door. And now that I am listening to the piece after many, many years, I guess all of these feelings are coming out. (I purposely avoided listening to it because of the reaction I had to it decades ago.)
I don't have bad feelings about Christians in general. And I know that Christianity has a good side. But anyone who belongs to a tiny minority group that is vilifyied in the writings of a gigantic majority group, has to feel a certain level of sorrow and anger during times of the year when they know this gigantic majority if vilifying them once more all around the world!
Will this problem ever be solved? I hope so. That is part of what I address in my book. But it will probably take several more generations as little by little people wake up to the negative sides of their religions, and people are able and willing to discuss these millennia-long controversies that seem to go on and on without end.
Well, I'm sure I said enough for one day.
Peace on earth. Goodwill to men...
Author: Von Cello Eintrag from 23.03.2008
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