Reflections on Irony and Incongruity as a Christmas Season Winds Down

Guillermo Calvo Mahé and Diana Marcela Cardenas Garcia, December 26, 2018

Jesus the Palestinian

In Hegelian dialectic theory, Islam would be the synthesis of the Judaic thesis and the Christian antithesis, perhaps a bridge between the two, but a bridge both seem intent on destroying.  How ironic and how sad, how very, very sad, even for non-believers such as I.

Islam is much, much closer to Judaism than is Christianity and much, much closer to Christianity than is Judaism.  Hamid Dabashi, the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, makes this point and many others in a fascinating Christmas Day article published by Aljazeera entitled “Remember: Christ was a Palestinian refugee”.  It is a very worthwhile read, providing us important things to ponder as we conclude this mad, mad year.  Mad in every sense.  The fact that the mythic, or legendary or historic Jesus was a refugee, at least according to all lore associated with him, has apparently become controversial in this totally polarized world.  United States Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a purported democratic socialist who elected to engage in politics as a member of the right of center Democratic Party created a political firestorm with her Christmas Eve tweet referring to the once newborn Jesus as a “refugee” (see Chamberlain, Samuel, “Ocasio-Cortez says Jesus was a ‘refugee’ in Christmas tweet”; Fox News, December 25, 2018).  How ironic and how sad, how very, very sad, even for non-believers such as I.

The intrusion of modern Israel into the world created a profound schism in Judaism.  On the one hand were its profoundly philosophical and spiritual, justice oriented, traditions, traditions which survived millennia of unwarranted prejudice and brutal conflagrations, on the other, divorced from the latter, Zionist military and expansionist aspirations, a philosophy more akin to Judaism’s Nazi antithesis than to the beautiful premises that made Judaism so special.  Interesting, Zionism, a synthesis of Judaism and Nazism?  How ironic and how sad, how very, very sad, even for non-believers such as I.

If Jesus (really Yeshua ben Yosef, or ben Miriam, or ben Yahweh, depending on your perspective) really existed, but as only a man, one wonders how he would have perceived all of this, and if he was a revolutionary activist, would he today be a revolutionary Palestinian or an expansionist Zionist.  If he were, on the other hand, really a god, then that godhead could not have been benevolent, omnipotent and omniscient, the “omni” triad associated with the misogynist Abrahamic divinity, the divinity ironically, worshipped as the one and only god by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  To me, the beautiful Jesus, the one I, even as a non-believer, love, would have been none of the above, he would simply have been a very charismatic man who loved justice and equity and peace, kind of like Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr., or Nelson Mandela.  How beautiful and wonderful, especially for non-believers such as I.

As these reflections are written on December 26, 2018, the Christian Christmas season is over; for most Christians, not a time to reflect on spiritual matters, or on justice and equity, but a mad tempest of commercial consumerism, an economic rather than a religious holiday.  In and around Israel, as usual, Jewish soldiers imprison and kill Palestinians using weapons provided by Christians in the United States.  One wonders how the man or the god or whatever he was who purportedly cleansed the Hebrew temple of money lenders and demanded peace on earth and goodwill among men would have reacted.

Something to ponder as a mad, mad year comes to a close.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé and Diana Marcela Cardenas Garcia; Manizales, 2018; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen).  Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at and much of his writing is available through his blog at  Diana Marcela Cardenas Garcia is a Colombian social communicator and journalist who collaborates with Dr. Calvo on diverse civic, social and political projects.

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