Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Many faces of oppression

The oppression of human beings by other human beings has many different faces. It can take the form of political oppression, economic exploitation, social exclusion, cultural estrangement and sexist humiliation. It takes other forms too. But it is ways a crime against life. For human life is life in community and communication. Life means 'loving your neighbour as yourself', not 'subdue him and make him submissive'. To oppress other people means to cut oneself off from God too, for if a man does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen' (1 John 4.20)

Oppression always has two sides. On the one side stands the master, on the other side lies the slave. On the one side is the arrogant self-elevation of the exploiter, on the other side is the suffering of his victim. Oppression destroys humanity on both sides. The oppressors acts inhumanely, the victim dehumanized. The evil the perpetrator commits robs him of his humanity, the suffering he inflicts dehumanizes the victim. Where suffering is experienced in the pain of humiliation on the one hand, evil spreads on the other.

Jurgen Moltmann, Experiences in Theology, p185

Whenever my mind starts to wander reading Moltmann, he would say something that would glue back my eyes on the pages. It is because he would say something that so real and concrete. As if he is describing something familiar, something that happens around me.And here Moltmann vividly contrasts the difference on the quality of life of the rich and the poor, oppressors and the oppressed and both of them need liberation.One from suffering and the other from the evil they commit.


Steve Hayes said...

And consider what Paulo Freire says about the oppressed internalising the image of the oppressor.

joey said...

Steve thanks again. I have to admit I don't have any knowledge about the work of Paulo Freire. This is something I need to look