In the 15 century, the Spanish monarchy formed the Tribunal of Holy Office in order to direct the unrest of the people away from the throne. The Tribunal was charged with “cleansing” Spain of heretics; the Conversos being the first scapegoat of many. Fear was the main pillar on which the Inquisition was built; and it was this that led to the growing separation of the Christian, Converso and Morisco communities. After the Conversos were driven out, the institution turned towards Moriscos (Christian converts of Muslim descent) and later, the red Indians in America.
This cleansing took place via great autos in every town where the Inquisition officials were sent. The tortured mental state of the people is evident here, who relished attending these public autos as much as they feared them. People were encouraged to indulge in social gossip and confess should they come across any signs of heresy; causing families to turn against one another.
Fear and torture were common tools used to get confessions from suspects. The properties of suspected heretics were confiscated by the Inquisition, which then also charged a hefty sum to the already bankrupt families for the paperwork. Prisoners lounged for years in rotting dungeons in the towers built specifically to house suspects as the reign of the Inquisition spread globally. It is clear that the Inquisition was more about power than religion. It is possibly the very hypocrisy of the Inquisition itself which lent credibility in its dealings with the people it victimised.
Green’s Inquisition encompasses the 315 year reign of the Spanish Inquisition, from the time of its inception until its eventual demise. Aptly titled “The Reign of Fear”, this beautifully worded psychological drama depicts to perfection the primitive instinct of society to turn on itself in fear.
One does not have to look too far to see where Green was so skillfully (albeit covertly) trying to point. The world as we know it today is surrounded by hair-raising incidents of (religious and ethnic) persecution. It does not seem to matter whether the perpetrators belong to the highest sectors of society or not; continuously oppressive circumstances are bound to release the inner barbarian most of us “civilized” individuals are so good at hiding from the rest of the world..
There have been a host of such bloodcurdling incidents in the past couple of years; with the numbers increasing at such frequency that it feels as though the world has gotten used to the idea of bloodshed.
The brutal killing of two Muslim brothers in Sialkot caused the world to halt in its tracks in the second half of the year 2010. Perhaps what made it worse was the fact that instead of stopping the policeman from beating the two boys to death and then continuing the horrific beating on the two dead bodies, the crowd around the four of them watched silently; as though perversely enamored of the spectacle. Most were too busy making videos to upload or send to the media to step in and stop the brutal bashing that resulted in the cruel death of two boys from Sialkot. Though the culprits were later sentenced to death, the two boys so cold-bloodedly sent from this world can never return.
The torching of Christian houses in Joseph Colony in March this year is testament to the destruction that is possible at the hands of an inflamed mob bent on revenge, regardless of whether the actual perpetrators of the crime and the people punished are one and the same. Witnesses of the event recount how a raging mob armed with clubs, automatic weapons, and incendiary chemicals ransacked Christian houses forcing the families to flee for safety. The one family that stubbornly refused to stand down in the face of such hatred was locked inside their house by the enraged mob and burned alive.
The massacre of Muslims in Myanmar this year had the world crying tears of blood. The horrific killings of more than 200 Muslims on that fateful night on March 21 will always be remembered as the night the soil ran red with blood as the world looked on mutely.
The killing of a young African American boy, Trayvon Martin, in Florida preceded one of the biggest racially heated, high-profile cases in the history of the USA. Thousands took to the streets in protest after the perpetrator, George Zimmerman, was acquitted in July this year by a six member, all-female jury made up of five Caucasians and one Hispanic.
In India, many Hindus and Sikhs have been persecuted by their brethren for converting to Christianity. Some even had the “audacity” of becoming preachers of the Christian faith; causing general uproar amongst their villages and towns, leading to reactions that were as heated as they were brutal. The recent killings of Christians in Sinai are testament to the deep-seated hostility that is rising in people today.