The Palestinian Jews of the first century AD and the Roman occupiers felt mutual contempt for one another, much like the situation with the British in Burma. Initially protesting that the accused was innocent, Pilate was pressured by the will of the people he ostensibly ruled into taking an action he had wished to avoid—executing Christ.
Eating breakfast this morning, I causally picked up my son’s textbook on British Literature. I found myself reading an essay by George Orwell, famous as the author of 1984 and Animal Farm. The title was “Shooting An Elephant.” He described how as a young man in the days of the British Empire, he served as a police officer in rural Burma. He hated his job, the empire, and what it stood for. The “natives” hated both him and the empire. They passively expressed their contempt for him with scornful facial expressions and laughter behind his back. But it was his duty to enforce British authority in the village.
Rogue - Elephant - Village - Fruit - Stands
Along came a rogue elephant careening through the village. At first it just smashed a few fruit stands, but then it trampled a man to death, a “coolie.” Orwell felt obliged to call for a gun and go looking for the elephant. He really didn’t know what to do, but he knew he definitely did not want to shoot the elephant. But he was soon trailed by a crowd of two thousand villagers hungry for entertainment. He felt the collective will of the crowd expecting the elephant to be shot; he knew that disappointing them was not an option. As the local representative of the British rule, he had to appear resolute and...
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