Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Burning of Judas and the Problem of Evil

Janet C. Phelan
Activist Post

Last night, the people of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas gathered in the town square to witness the traditional burning of Judas. The burning of Judas in effigy is a local custom taking place at the end of Holy Week (“Semana Santa”). The square behind the Palacio Municipal was packed with thousands of locals, who climbed onto stairways and shimmied up columns in order to get a better look at the symbolic end of evil.

Earlier in the day, ten large plastic sculptures by local artists, depicting perpetrators of social and political injustice, were placed on display in the square. The theme for this year's depiction of our current Judases was “Mistreatment of babies.” Not to be harnessed by literal constraints, the artwork depicted a wide range of perpetrators of harm and injustice, including Uncle Sam, a bankster holding aloft a large bag of money and a reptilian sort of dragon which seemed intent on global domination.

At the stroke of ten, the burnings commenced. One by one, each piece of art was pyrotechnically exploded into flames, while pinwheels of fireworks arched up into the sky above the square. The crowd itself exploded into applause, while depictions of oppression and corporate greed transmogrified into ten pyres of burning annihilation.

One of the art works was apparently seeded too heavily with explosives and at the time of detonation, huge sparks rained down on the crowd. A stampede ensued, as the crowd rushed for the cover of the Palacio Municipal. There were no reports of injuries sustained.

Symbolically, the destruction of evil and the triumph of good laces all our myths, our religious texts and our modern day political constructs, not to mention the celluloid outspewings of Hollywood. The thirst for justice and the conquest of evil seems basic to the human story. In the United States, this thirst for justice has assumed again a nearly mythic stature, as our populace is waking up to history: Our history, the truth behind the dream of America, the truth of imperial greed and slaughter, the killing of the indigenous, the enslavement of people of color, of wars based on lies and contempt for human life and the mockery of justice which is now taking place every day in our halls of justice.

But behind this thirst for justice lies a deeply disturbing question. How does one conquer evil
without oneself using the tools and methods of evil? Does a guillotine chopping off the head of a king or prince actually end the reign of corruption or does it simply confirm and perpetuate violence as a means of asserting self- will? And ---this question cuts to the core--does the one manning the guillotine soon use this power to become the very oppressor he sought to defeat?

In a recent interview, Howard Nema and I discussed the burning of Judas and also some recent revelations of corruption in a county in Southern California, as well as the apparently successful intimidation of a brave and beloved San Bernardino county activist by . . . well, those manning the guillotine. These days, one sees lights being extinguished, dampened and diminished everywhere one looks. Telling the truth and acting upon that knowledge of right vs. wrong is becoming an increasingly perilous endeavor.

The light we should seek and applaud is not, to my way of thinking, the pyre of a burning Judas. The flames that should be drawing us into town squares, into virtual meeting places on the web, into our spiritual sacred spaces and into our political meeting halls are the lights carried by each and every one of us who still knows wrong from right and has the courage to speak out. These are the sparks of the Divine flame which need to be honored and these are the lights which will be passed and carried through the generations.

Fear has a way of darkening the light. If it is any comfort, no one gets out of here alive. Not a Judas, not a Christ, and certainly not you or me. What will remain behind us is our light and what we have done during our brief tenure on this embattled planet. Whether this legacy pushes back the darkness or, out of fear and a sense of self preservation instead solidifies and strengthens the darkness is entirely up to us.

Yes, there is indeed a battle going on and the battlefield is in the hearts and minds of every one of us. As the old Indian legend tells it, each of us contains two wolves—the good wolf and the bad wolf. Which wolf gains ascendancy depends on which one we feed. The Judas burning last night in the central square may have been the externalization of the Judas that lurks in each of us. It may be time to confront him, face to face and without illusions.

Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The San Bernardino County Sentinel, The Santa Monica Daily Press, The Long Beach Press Telegram, Oui Magazine and other regional and national publications. Janet specializes in issues pertaining to legal corruption and addresses the heated subject of adult conservatorship, revealing shocking information about the relationships between courts and shady financial consultants. She also covers issues relating to international bioweapons treaties. Her poetry has been published in Gambit, Libera, Applezaba Review, Nausea One and other magazines. Her first book, The Hitler Poems, was published in 2005. She currently resides abroad.  You may browse through her articles (and poetry) at


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Anonymous said...

This is why I advocate a resource-based economy.
In order to solve the problem of evil, we have to look at the root causes of behavior and mitigate those causes as much as possible.
Any economic system that is based on scarcity is going to cause people to fight with one another over any resources they perceive as being scarce.
The monetary system is such a system. Capitalism, more specifically, has taken over the global economic system and depends on scarcity to survive. Thus, scarcity is often maintained or created by the current system in order to keep profits as high as possible.
We don't have to live this way. We can create universal abundance using our current state of technology.
If we choose to do this, we can eliminate the need for people to slave away at jobs they hate, just to survive.
Violent behavior is cause by our current competitive model of society. In order to solve the 'problem of evil', we have to end the current system and start anew.

Brendan R

Anonymous said...

There is no such aspect as 'evil' in the religious sense, its reference has been used as a tool for control of the masses, to guard against mass spiritual development.

Our 'negative' behaviours come from having temporarily forgotten WHO WE ARE. This aspect has been part of the plan for experiencing this physical dimension, which is itself an illusion.

We are INFINITE CONSCIOUSNESS experiencing this physical world through our five senses. That we are INFINITE CONSCIOUSNESS is what the long,in Earth time, campaign against humanity has all been about.

This campaign has been and is being served by the specifically-attuned 'humans' who are the foot soldiers, subtlety disorganising and wrecking the earth-experience.

Please research this in the now huge amount of research and work offered by those who seek to disable the campaign against us.

Most of all, we must WAKE UP, look behind the plays and dramas being offered to us, and see what is really taking place.

Peace and Progress to All

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ at 9:52 PM: You say,"Capitalism, more specifically, has taken over the global economic system and depends on scarcity to survive."

My question to you is, In which major country today do we find capitalism as the economic system? I hope you are not referring to the fascist USSA where it hasn't existed for at least 100 years (The Federal Reserve Act passed in 1913), Canada, Australia or the EU, etc. Certainly not in China or Russia.

Please be more specific.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous @ 8:26 am:

There may be some difference in our respective understandings of capitalism. It is my view that capitalism can only lead to fascism/corporatism in the long run. Let me explain.
Imagine you open a hardware store. This has always been your dream and you want to be as successful as possible. But, yours isn't the only hardware store in town. Others had the same idea you did, and are equally passionate about it. You end up getting more business than the other guys for whatever reason, and decide to expand by buying out your competitors. Taking this path, you gain more profits and, hence, more influence over your particular market. This pattern continues, and you decide to go corporate. You gain even more profits from allowing others to invest in your business. However, there is a downside. You are now under immense pressure from your stockholders to increase profits every quarter. Eventually, you start spending some of your profits on lobbying politicians to keep the laws favorable to your continued growth. Your business quickly becomes a monopoly at this point.
The other option, as you begin to expand, is that you partner up with other businesses in the area for a mutual benefit scenario. In this case, your business and theirs becomes a cartel over time.
There is no choice but to compete in some way. So, you see, fascism/corporatism IS the end game of capitalism. No regulations last forever, and 'free' markets will just cause fascism to happen sooner.

Brendan R

Anonymous said...

Do you readers of this article remember in the news some time ago a man named Commandante Marcos. He was a hero to the Mayan people and fought for their independence. Their land had been taken away from them and was being occupied by wealthy plantation owners that exploited the indigenous peoples. They were disenfaranchised from their own country and were living in squaters camps in deplorable conditions.

San Critobal De las Casas. Viva la Maya Viva las peones!

That is just another example of predatory and monopoly capitalism.

Anonymous said...

There are 12 systems in the body. These are the '12 apostles'. You are the analogous Jesus. One system (Judas) BETRAYS the self, unless will is utilised.
The belief in an exterior God is why the REAL inner God doesn't interfere, as we are granted free will.
Any religous belief based on an exterior saviour figure is bogus and uses the idea of condemnation, (original sin), and we are the ones to save you to garner control, money and power. Worship ANY outside authority and get what you desire, a one world dictator.

Anonymous said...

recoding the great cycle of the long count

time’s great vortex dance

the alignment of the

solstice sun with the galactic equator

obliquity, precession, eccentricity

the pulse of life

physical light always has its

origins in the past

muddled culture codes distort

our primary programming


the advanced disintegration of

empire – this bonfire of the vanities

no one to run with anymore

sundance with me as of old

thread the sharp bone

thru sinew and muscle

suffer gladly – swing freely

on the end of a leather rope

learn the ancient lessons well

join the wolf pack

howl and rejoice

i am not a unit of cultural evolution

i am evolution incarnate

i am not a debtor to the world’s banks

i lust for their destruction

i possess the

cardinal antecedent of reason

the creator’s imperative

blood and thunder

love and deep devotion


creatures of despair -

“having lost hope of ever returning

to the source

the average man

seeks solace in his selfishness”

fear, guilt, ignorance

nodding in consensus trance

consuming normalcy

the incredible apathy of the fallen -

the dull virtues of eternal reward

how difficult to live among them

they never change the channel

“…the cornerstone of civilization

is human sacrifice”

gazing out the solar window

into the 1st theater of mayan lore

i lift my soul to the stars

in the ancient mudra dance

in tune to schuman’s resonance

i must pass through the shadow

civilization in retrograde

adverse, punitive, fearful

endless torments and subversions

in the chamber of commerce

let not the gross national product

configure me oh lord

cleanse my toxic emotions

and their external representatives

protect me from psychic epidemics

false discourse and seasoned polemics

I can’t stop what’s coming

i must

pass through the valley of death

suffer cruelty, denial, loneliness

and the deep violence

of old guard and new,

group think, false opposition

the epistemological cartel

fear outside – inside angst

authoritarian structures

thru endless dialectic divisions

contracts, covenants, and statutes

citizens who will not read

nor think

hierarchies of corruption

synthetic, stratified, regimented

black banking subsidies

(never enough)

parasitic ruling class

corporate mind control

image industry vultures

the carnival of lies

sports, dramas, sex

cult of celebrity and redeemer models

necrotic zombies

confused, medicated

life as servitude

the Bastille of Lies!

Cold Springs Harbor Revisited

At Isengard Forming

The Shape of Humanity to Come

Unlimited Funding

No Remorse


what are the real covenants?

the bible is chained to the altar

monotheism revisited

who does the biblical narrative serve?

beer, bread, and absolutism

God’s plan and automated harvesting

to make your life more comfortable

Smoke a bowl, have a drink,

Charge a new lifestyle

No One is Watching!

body, mind, and heart

theological coding – belief

to resolve dependency

betrayal, anxiety, tyranny

and the culture of stress,

the secret unholy prayer

“dear god please digitize me”

isolation, limbic manipulation

designer chaos, false solutions

the persistent ringing in your ear

is the song of a slave’s death

time out of mind

these blustering maniacs

cannot accomodate the

free man

wake up!

the body and the mind do both rebel

find a new level of fitness

my social contract is out there waiting

for me – eyes ablaze

in the tall grasses

2 doggs

Janet Phelan said...

What an amazing poem. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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