Is this guy above Jesus? No, obviously not. However, in searching for an image for this blog entry using the terms ‘revolutionary fighter’ I found this guy out there on the internet. I thought actually that he could be a revolutionary, a Jesus. He just looks like one. The link took me to an obituary for this guy. His name is Matt. He died just short of his 19th birthday, in Harlem, New York. He was shot in the back by another youth. Reading his obituary I was struck by the passion he had for fighting injustice, by his zeal for action and his desire to mobilize others against injustice. Here are some words from his friends;
‘ Although he had lived almost 19 years (his birthday is November 22), Matthew Hall had done so much with the time he had. I met him when he was about 14 years old through Act Your Rage–the only free politically conscious open mic for youth–organized by the youth of Refuse & Resist!. It was a rare kind of space where youth of all different nationalities, from all over the city, got together to spit rhymes, sing songs, recite poetry–where youth got to speak out and be heard and fuse all this with radical politics. It was here that many people got to know Matt and where he became an organizer for the October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality and the struggle to free political prisoner Mumia Abu- Jamal.
Easily thousands in his generation and beyond–in activist circles or the underground hip-hop community–knew him and what he stood for. Then with his death, the whole city started talking about him. He was on the front page of several newspapers and for over a week there continued to be articles about the positive impact Matt’s life had on people.
He really spent the time to understand his friends, including those he sometimes disagreed with. And Matt had such a wide range of friends, from different nationalities, religions, politics, etc., that none of them agreed all the time. He made people feel welcomed and appreciated when he was with them.‘
Very fine words about this young man.
Many have been written about Jesus too. Unfortunately over 2000 years the central meaning of Jesus has been lost I think. Essentially Jesus was a revolutionary, a person who had vision, who hated injustice, who acted on his beliefs, who wasn’t afraid to take on the powerful and the brutal regimes of the time.
As we all pass our presents around the tree this Christmas and over-fill our tummies with rich food, it wouldn’t hurt to remember that there are literally billions of others out there suffering daily. Not only do we need people like Matthew Hall and Jesus doing their bit to fight injustices. We also need to do our bit too, no matter how big or small.
Merry Christmas 🙂