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Why should Barabbas not have been
a hero figure, greatly admired
by those who called for his release?
Perhaps a liberation fighter or perhaps
Billy the Kid? And had Barabbas
not been pardoned, had he been
crucified, who among all those
Christians weeping at the foot of the cross
would have given a damn? Of course
his crucifixion wouldn't have had
symbolic resonance, wouldn't have been
a symbol for sin. The soldiers
banging the nails in, breaking the knees
would have been just
soldiers, doing a job. The skies
wouldn't have darkened, the veil
of the temple would have remained
untorn, Barabbas' family
wouldn't have had the joy
of taking him once again
into their arms.
Platonic tolerance and Stoic fortitude
might have remained
and Jesus might have died,
an old Rabbi greatly honoured
in his bed. So that, it seems,
so that the dead might rise and the gates
of Heaven open and the world we know
be born, Barabbas
had to live.
But if Christ's death served to destroy
the old world, the gods, 'all that
Trojan brightness', wouldn't
Barabbas's death have served
(invisibly - unnoticed by anyone)
to save it? Wouldn't Barabbas have been
the saviour of a world?