Springingtiger's Blog

Where Have All The Prophets Gone?

Tony Benn’s mother, he said, was a Biblical Scholar who who told him the Bible was the story of the struggle between the Kings who had the powers and the Prophets who taught righteousness and that he should be on the side of the Prophets.

I am reading Isaiah at the moment, he was a prophet who spoke out against corruption and injustice. As I read I wondered what has happened to the Prophets. It is certain that there is no less coruption and injustice today than there was in ancient Israel or the Babylonian Empire.

We still have slavery, anyone who is compelled to work for an employer because unemployment will bring disaster to their family is a slave. However there are many more that we would recognise as slaves, Indian workers in the Arab states whose passports are held by their employers so that they cannot leave despite their apalling conditions. Women forced to serve as sex slaves to the soldiers of Daesh the so called Islamic State. Illegal migrant workers forced to labour in demeaning conditions for a pittance to avoid deportation. We still have unjust wars, nations still oppress and exploit others. There is no less dishonesty in business or immorality in entertainment. Relationships and family are worthless and those at the top of society who should be setting an example are the ones leading the descent into depravity, whether it is the treachery of the Labour politicians towards their own members, Catholic priests debauching children or the Church that protects them or the avarice and concupiscence of parliamentarians. So where are the prophets to speak out against this society and its rulers?

Perhaps a clue may be found in the cases of Deric Lostutter, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange. Now I am not for a moment going to suggest that these are righteous prophets. However they did each expose corruption in modern society and rather than receive any reward were vilified and punished. Lostutter’s case demonstrates that on today’s USA it is acceptable to violently rape a teenage child, but to expose that rape, that rape that any decent society would consider a crime, will lead to retaliation from the authorities whose task should have been to protect the child. It’s not just America, look at the abuse of women in India and the persecution of lower castes that the government is failing to prevent. The sexual abuse of young boys by Catholic priests in Ireland and the failure of the government to act until forced by public outcry.

The problem is that when one person stands up and speaks out they encounter the full force of an establishment that has no desire for its crimes to be exposed. The individual may be ‘suicided’ like David Kelly. Others imprisoned on spurious charges, sometimes it appears that all the honest journalists in the world are behind bars. The rest of the press owned by that establishment then sets out to destroy their reputation and to ridicule them. It is small wonder it is so difficult to find a prophet today. When someone survives the abuse and the ridicule then the establishment turn him into a ‘national treasure’ which is another form of ridicule one which they heaped on Tony Benn, but they never broke him, never silenced him.

A lone voice is vulnerable, the Irish abused were attacked and ridiculed, the dead of Hillsborough abused and their memories and reputations desecrated, but those who campaigned for justice were not broken, nor were they cowed into silence until at last sheer persistence and force of numbers brought some sort of justice, but the fight is not over. The key is that one voice, even a few may be silenced, but have enough people standing for righteousness and they cannot be silenced.

Where can we find a prophet to speak out against injustice today? There is such a voice in the English Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn and the establishment is doing everything it can to silence him. However just as in Ireland and on Merseyside when a lone voice becomes many so Corbyn may survive the assaults of corrupt politicians, the press and the bankers and businessmen that own them. Corbyn can win, Corbyn can win as long as the people continue to stand with him. We to often think of the prophet as a lone voice crying in the wilderness, but we can all be the prophet and shout out against injustice with one voice. We can prevail because we are many.


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