Masada In Waco This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Years ago when Rome held lands in Judea during the reign of Emperor Nero, the Roman government hated the Jews. This cult of Jews did not share the beliefs of most Romans, and they would not submit to the oppression of the Romans. Thus the Jewish war commenced, and all of Judea eventually succumbed to Roman rule except for a fort called Masada. In this fort, men, women, and children stood behind their charismatic leader, Eleazar. Though surrounded by the Roman army, the Jews possessed many years' supply of food and more weapons than men.

Nonetheless, the Romans built a huge siege machine that battered down the walls of the fort. The Jews knew their end was in sight, and they each committed suicide after setting their inner fortress on fire. The Roman army charged the fort only to find corpses, and they realized that this cult was more virtuous than they. The Jews had died honorably rather than falling at the hands of an oppressive government.

Change a few names and these events are those of Waco, Texas. We applaud those inside Masada, but we condemn those inside the Waco compound. Yet both are the same. The Jews of Masada and the Branch Davidians were "fanatics" deemed "dangerous" by those in government. They were labeled cults and called a threat to society, something that a government must conquer. However, the facts show them to be peaceful peoples who simply wanted to practice their religion. They hurt no one until they themselves were hurt. They took up arms only in defense of their lives and their property. The Jews and Davidians were hunted down and killed merely because they were personae non gratae to a government that wielded absolute power over its citizens.

Few will agree that our democracy mirrors the empire of Rome. But, if our protection of religious freedom and of the ability of minorities to voice their opinions are so advanced, then why did this tragedy occur? We as a nation wrap ourselves in the tradition of libertarian democracy, yet we fail to care about the idea of limited government and separation of church and state. Romans lived in an empire in which the state was king. Since history is cyclical, 1940s Germans, 20th century Soviets, and now post-FDR Americans all have lived in a land where the state is king. What a sad day it is in America when Rome's mistakes mean nothing to us. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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moonlitnite said...
Apr. 17, 2011 at 8:55 pm
what happened in Waco?
 
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