Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Big Picture

Do you know what the big picture is? The big picture is beautiful, it is elaborate. When it is completed, it will take your breath away. The big picture today is Palestine, but you can't see it. Nobody can even tell if that patchwork of riotous colour and paint strokes even looks like Palestine. But so long ago was it since anybody had looked over that work in progress, that even that memory was uncertain. You only have somebody's word for it. In the meantime oh patient believer, you must wait. You will get tired of waiting, you might even think about complaining, but don't. Every now and then, the painter turns to you and asks you to be patient, asks you to wait. He says he understands your pain, your suffering, but that the painting will be worth it - so astonishing will be its beauty. But don't you dare cry out, don't you dare decide you will wait no longer. He will crush you under his heel, cursing the mother that carried you. He won't even let you see how far along he now is, or what he has painted since he took over painting this "Big Picture". Yes, he took over from the last painter, for he had died of anguish and despair, never having completed it. That painter too had taken over from another. Nobody remembers the first painter, or who started the picture, but it was there now.

It was there and we have to wait, and it is there and a painter must paint it. Have you ever heard of a painter without a painting? Or a painting that didn't have a painter? The two were logically necessary of each other. The existence of one impossible without the other. Today the painter is merciless, he strikes the long suffering audience with his sticks. His attack dogs gnash their ferocious teeth and tear into our flesh. Get back in line! He cries out hysterically. Get back! The people don't listen. For each person his dogs pull down another two people step forward. As they finally push him and his dogs back, they turn the canvas around and gaze upon the painting. An instant later, their jaws gape open in horror, for they see what this painter has been doing. The man had appeared outwardly to be confident, painting with broad strokes and then peering thoughtfully at the result. Like those before him, he promised the painting would be finished soon, that the 'big picture' would be complete soon and they can all celebrate in front of its sublimity. But what they saw now was anything but a work in progress. Instead, they saw a terrifying image of slaughter and death. The painter had painted over the old picture, and a new image was forming slowly. He had been painting them! Their torment, their patience, their suffering and death. He had even painted them as his dogs tore them to pieces. In the end, the "Big Picture" lost its meaning as an end to be accomplished. For what good was a painter if he no longer painted? Instead, he had found new meaning in their suffering, and with their continued suffering, he could continue to be a painter forever.

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