One reason The New York Times is so valuable – even to those who believe it has a “liberal bias” – is that it opens a window onto the world that would otherwise be shut. A case in point is a front-page article on Monday headed “Hindu Threat to Christians: Convert or Flee.” Forced conversions, of course, punctuate Jewish history, but that they are still being perpetrated – and against Christians, who so often, throughout history, have been the perpetrators – was shocking.
The facts are truly horrendous.
“The forced conversions,” the Times reports, “come amid widening attacks on Christians here [in India’s Orissa State] and in at least five other states across the countryâ€¦.
“[I]n Kandhamal, the district that has seen the greatest violence, more than 30 people have been killed, 3,000 homes burned, and over 130 churches destroyedâ€¦.
“Against this ghastly terrain lie the singed remains of mud-and-thatch homes. Christian-owned businesses have been attackedâ€¦.”
Meanwhile, thousands who would not convert or merely pretended to (shades of the Inquisition) have fled to refugee camps.
There’s more: “[A] Hindu mob in the village of Nuagaon dragged a Catholic priest and a nun from their residence, tore off much of their clothing and paraded them through the streets.
“The nun told the police that she had been raped by four men, a charge â€¦ borne out by a medical examination.” (The leader of a Hindu radical group said, according to the Times, “that the nun had not been raped but had regular consensual sex” – which we strongly doubt.)
This is eerily reminiscent of Kristallnacht, the Nov. 9-10, 1938 Nazi pogrom against the Jews that has been called the beginning of the Holocaust and whose 70th anniversary is fast approaching.
It is disheartening to be reminded that so little has changed in 70 years, that humankind can still act out of ignorance and savagery.