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The Crucifixion of Julian Assange

JOURNALISM / In August, top American journalist Chris Hegdes visited Oslo to discuss Julian Assange's case. Assange has not only risked his career as a brilliant computer expert, but his entire life for the right to let the truth come out.


First met Chris Hegdes up outside the British embassy on August 19 with a silent demonstration and a call to the British ambassador Jan Thompson under the heading "A society that prevents the truth in free speech, destroys its own capacity to create justice". Along with our own Liv ullmann he had come to Norway to demand that the British's destructive treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange must end soon.

“Julian Assange is undergoing a slow, filmed execution. Seven years trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Four years in Belmarsh Prison. He unmasked the dark actions of the American empire, the mass slaughter of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lies, the corruption, the brutal suppression of those who try to tell the truth. The Empire intends to make him pay for this audacity. His fate should deter anyone who would think of doing what he did.”

There are rumors that the British will ignore the European Court of Human Rights

Hedges continued in Kulturkirken Jakob the following day, Sunday 20 August. Pulitzer Prize winner, journalist and ordained Presbyterian minister Hedges had titled his speech "The Crucifixion of Julian Assange". Liv Ullmann read biblical texts, and among other things Tord Gustavsen's jazz piano, lighting and choir made the evening magical.

But a 'Mass' where the 'truth' is held out will surely go against the essence of the Mass and the church, which should first and foremost be Christ-centered, we ask him. Hedges shakes his head and quotes Simone Weil#: “Christ likes us to prefer truth to him, because before he is Christ, he is truth. If one turns away from him to seek the truth, one will not go far before falling into his arms.”

The Pain of the Prophets

Hedges put everything aside and came to Norway during the Nordic campaign in collaboration with Kulturkirken Jakob invited him to hold this mass. The background was the impending ruling in the European Court of Human Rights which can block the British extradition of Assange to a grotesque 175 years in prison in the United States. And in Argentina, Nobel laureates and other activists are gathering with us to support in parallel. In particular, the arrangements this time address rumors that the British will ignore the court completely.

Hedges compares Assange to the prophets of the Old Testament. “Prophets are notoriously difficult people. They are not saints. They are people who feel pain.”

And he goes on to quote Rabbi Abraham Heschel: Prophets put their "life and soul ... on the line", and they have to act according to their own conscience. Assange is "a difficult person". He has not only staked his career as a brilliant computer expert, but has given his whole life for the right to let the truth come out. And he has experienced the pain of the prophets. He must clearly be punished, Hedges believes. Because the American, Swedish and British authorities will stop Assange with prison, death threats and spreading rumours. Slanders such as that he allegedly mistreated the cat, wrote with excrement on the walls, walks around bearded and slovenly, are fabricated lies that use the simplest propaganda in the popular media. And it works.

«Listen over martyrprofeter er lang: Socrates, Jeanne d'Arc, Isaac Babel, Federico
García Lorca, Miklós Radnóti, Irène Némirovsky, Malcolm X, Martin Luther
King Jr., Victor Jara and Ken Saro-Wiwa.”

"The powerful and the rich wage war against the prophet. They slander [...] and silence prophets by censorship, imprisonment and often murder. The list of martyred prophets is long: Socrates, Joan of Arc, Isaac Babel, Federico García Lorca, Miklós Radnóti, Irène Némirovsky, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Victor Jara and Ken Saro-Wiwa.”

This is how Hedges puts Julian Assange in the ranks of heroes of our recent past there
the common denominator is the goal of building a peaceful and just society. He would have received applause from recently deceased whistleblower icon Daniel Ellsberg.

To create peace

"What is the price of peace?" asks Hedges with the radical priest Father Daniel Berrigan, who spent two years in a federal prison for burning his draft for military service during the Vietnam War, in his book No Bars to Manhood (2007):

He replies: "'Yes! Let us have peace', it is shouted, 'but at the same time let us keep what we are used to, let us not lose anything, let our life be as it is, let us be ignorant of prison or bad reputation or broken relationships.'" And because we must embrace this and protect it, and because at all costs – at any cost – our hopes must only travel according to plan, and because it would be unheard of for a sword to give way to peace and break the fine and finely meshed web as our life woven of…

There is none fred, because there are no peacemakers. There are no peacemakers because peacemaking is at least as costly as warfare – at least as demanding, at least as disruptive, and not least as likely to bring shame and prison and death in its wake.”

The hope

Hedges ends with church father Augustin: "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain as they are. We have two choices. We can stand for the truth, for Julian, and set him free. We can find the courage to take responsibility, to take up the cross. Or we can remain complicit in a dark night under a tyranny that will eventually engulf us all.”


Watch the event on video here:


Og (see video recordings and documents) for more
event with information about Julian Assange's case.

John Y. Jones
John Y. Jones
Cand. Philol, freelance journalist affiliated with MODERN TIMES

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