Pawns

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Persecution, whether of Christians or of people of other religions, is not always a purely religious matter— dare I say it is rarely a purely religious matter. Greed for money and power are often hidden but causative factors for atrocities committed in the name of God. Those who are persecuted sadly are just (treated as) worthless lives that can be trifled with for selfish agendas.

In the game of chess, the most valuable pieces are the king and queen. The other larger pieces are also important but are inferior to the king and queen. Finally, the lowest pieces are the pawns.

Society is much like chess. The top tier of government and other elite members of society are the king and queen. They hold the power. They control the game. These are the people who, even if they do not openly support persecution, turn a blind eye to it or harass victims in “legal” ways: through imprisonment, lawsuits, interrogation, discrimination, deliberate injustice in court and other settings, segregation, etc.

Next in rank are people with moderate amounts of power. These are the people who often directly play a role in persecution. In the life of a persecuted person, these pieces are the police, the radical neighbors, the boss and colleagues, the school staff, etc. Even if the direct persecutors are genuine in their devotion to their religion, the king and queen, especially those trying to maintain a position in government, play them for their personal gain. They, too, are in a sense, like pawns. However, they are less on the receiving end of cruelty. (Interestingly enough, not all people face equal treatment and fit completely into one role of either higher pieces or pawns. For example, in India, although Muslims are a religious minority, the authorities and civilians around them fear to interfere with them and often leave them alone, to some extent.)

The government in such cases often feeds into a religious majority’s sense of pride and unity. They subtly support the religion through acts such as (in India) building a much-promoted temple, harnessing religious zeal so that the people of said religion, who are in the majority, will vote for them. The more the zeal is fed into, the more frenzied such people become. Power-hungry people continue to encourage the majority, who, in turn, continue to strengthen those who give them what they want and lead the nation in following honored tradition and values.

The government continues to throw out smoke bombs— acts that rouse the zeal of patriotism and religion— to hide from the fact that they are manipulating citizens and are neglecting or failing their job of protecting, developing, and serving the nation.

The lowest are the pawns. Pawns are expendable. Lose one…two… more…— it’s no big deal. You can take big risks with pawns in order to win your game. After all, it’s not like they matter much. With little power and influence, they cannot take much action and are thus disdained. Amidst this game in real life, the pawns are the victims of persecution. They are most often minorities, whether of religion, caste, or ethnicity. They have little representation and little power to change their circumstances. As humans tend to be less concerned with what does not have to do with them, these pawns can raise little support. The media does not discuss their issues, and authorities do not take action to protect them or provide justice until it is too late. (A recent, bona fide example is the war in Manipur, India, which had been going on for months before finally going viral on the internet. Sadly, once again, the crisis has shifted to the back burner.)

Orion is a champion for human rights. He has won an award for his work and is currently in a position of authority in this field. Orion has given insights into the behind the scenes of certain examples of persecution in India, revealing how religion was merely a cover for a manipulative game. This is the life of the pawns.

[Quote]:

“Yeah, we are facing persecution occasionally and sometimes repeatedly. These are organized crimes against minorities, preplanned by religious fundamentalists under the guidance of RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, and other political groups.

All the ethnic groups mentioned above are inter-related to each other and organizedly persecute the minorities, especially the weaker sections of Christian and Muslim communities.

In most cases, the truth was twisted, adulterated, diverted and  miscommunicated. The reality behind extreme persecution is as follows:

In our areas, people are facing persecutions which are preplanned, organized crimes against minorities, such as Christians; and, sometimes, a few Muslim faces, tribals, and scheduled castes face persecution.

The persecution is of diverse kinds, such as mental, social, economic, political, and physical— all are religion-based violence and disharmony. Persecutors intentionally suppress the minority Christians (particular Christians who are part of both a religious and cultural, such as caste or tribal, minority group) for their holistic development, using government organizations to torture, suppress, brutalize, show partiality, and discriminate.

Mostly, minority Christians are the foremost targets of persecution. No one is left out, and not even a single family is spared. Persecutors target all individuals, families, institutions, and churches by using all the methodologies of persecution and all the worst approaches of violence and riots. During the time of riots, every household articles are looted; women and girls are being raped and tortured; and commercial and residential houses are set ablaze and completely destroyed.

Even the children of Dalit Christian are not spared. They are being humiliated at each and every footsteps of their growth. They are  subjected to extreme abuse, such as sexually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and culturally. In schools and colleges, Dalit Christian are being treated as though they are destined to forever be inferior and to get lower grades compared to higher-caste people, despite all their talents and intellect. They are slowly poisoned during the time of ante-natal and postnatal care of their childhoods and adulthood days. And, during adulthood, they are being provoked to sexual abuse, alcohol and tobacco addictions, and other bad habits, which traps them under their persecutors’ clutches.

Christians are helpless during persecution as they are easy targets. Christians are exploited through print and electronic media promoting fake news and hiding the truth. When any incidents happened against minorities, the police and line departments under the district authority will not heed their voices and will intentionally torture the minorities by using their official power and exploiting them to pay bribes in order to be able to register cases against the persecutors. And, if the bribe is paid, police will register a bailable case to protect the upper-caste majority. Even in court, lawyers will exploit the minorities by charging huge amounts to advocate their cases. After all that, there still will be no justice for the minorities in the end.

Because of all this, the minority Christians will not dare to file a case against the upper caste. To protect their lives, Christians in my area fled to other places, even to the jungles, leaving behind all their belongings, assets, and properties. Nobody helps them, nor will any financial help or relief material reach them. There are no safety measures available for them. There is no rescue or rehabilitation afterwards to help them heal and recover from the enormous trauma they have. The departments of government responsible for helping them, along with politicians, make a big show of providing relief, rescue, and rehabilitation; but it is only propaganda.

The persecution is portrayed as purely religious-based violence in media coverage; but, in reality, it is a few people using their political advantages and furthering their selfish agenda from behind the mask of religious fundamentalist ideology. Persecutors, who want to loot the hard-earned wealth of minorities, also steal the relief materials provided to them. In the name of religious violences and conflicts, the upper-caste majority are exploiting the minorities.”

[End of Quote]

So, how can we help these people? First, we need to pray for them. For people who have no power of their own, the best help is the One Whose is “the kingdom and the glory and the power forever.” Second, these people who cannot speak for themselves because they will be silenced and unheard need us to be their voices. They need people who will hear of their plight and advocate for them— the more the better. They need “rescue and rehabilitation.” What does that entail for us?

For some of us, that could mean going to the frontlines and pulling them out of the fire. It could mean that we use our power of democracy and influence to protest and bring change to these crises. For others, it could mean helping spread awareness about them so that more people’s eyes are opened to the truth of the atrocities being committed. For a lot of us, this could include supporting organizations that directly reach out to the persecuted, through finances or volunteering. Each of us, as a community, can take part in rehabilitation, welcoming anyone who has escaped persecution into a society in which they will always be safe, loved, and helped.

There are a myriad of ways in which you can help, ways in which God can use your particular talents— no matter how unrelated they seem to be. The bottom line is just to love and to be willing to put that love into action.

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