The Symbolic Figure of the Course of Human History
described by Virgil,
illustration for The Divine Comedy
by Dante Alighieri (Inferno XIV, 94-119) 1824–27,
Inferno XIV, 94-119. Dante and Virgil, in the third ring of the seventh circle, come across a blood-red stream. Dante explains that the rivers of Hell are formed by tears falling from the giant old man encased in the mountain of Ida on the island of Crete, the centre of the known world. For Dante this figure embodied the course of human history. His head is of gold, his arms and breast of silver, his lower abdomen brass, and below that he is of iron save that his right foot is of clay; this denotes the decay of the world from the Golden Age before the Fall to Dante's own time, the clay foot representing the degenerate church. Blake endows the figure with a crown, an orb and a sceptre to show that in his view the decay of the world was the result of political oppression - kingship and tyranny.
Why is our Dear Leader being celebrated for the unprecedented meeting with North Korean Dear Leader when the North Korean has been designated a war criminal by the International Bar Association War Crimes Committee, along with the UN? According to that report from several years ago, Kim Jong-un has committed all but one of the 11 crimes against humanity:
- Forcible Transfer
- Sexual Violence
- Enforced Disappearances
- Other Inhuman Acts
Among the abuses reported are these: "starving prisoners are regularly executed when caught scavenging for food; abortions being performed by injecting motor oil into the wombs of pregnant women, according to a former North Korean army nurse; and firing squad executions of prisoners who attempt to escape."
This article in The New York Times from today, June 11th, reports in excruciating detail the crimes against humanity.
Yet, we must watch the POSPOTUS smile and joke with the photographers about making him "look thin" and "perfect" as they line up behind chairs of an impeccably set table. We must listen to his supporters crow in ignorance at his depravity. We must look at headlines of this unprecedented meeting.
What is happening? I have been wrapped up in myself, in my family, pushing these things to the back or down, down, down. I practice tonglen. I breathe in suffering and breathe out love.
What is happening?
We cannot normalize this. We have to resist.
Is it wrong to hope for lightning, for some act of a god to render justice?