Old cannon at Minerva Terrace in Hull
Old days mean old ways. There would be no mistaking the target when this cannon was fired; the crew would have simply sighted along the barrel, ignited the charge and the cannonball would have shot out along the same axis. As a crude piece of not-smart weaponry this cannon is a reminder of the darker side of our history, of ‘might is right’ imperialism, of seemingly endless conflict and the brutal ways in which power was deployed to build and maintain a global empire. History was written without regard to those peoples who were defeated and subjugated. Such ‘rebels’ and ‘savages’ were as nothing compared to the ‘conquering heroes’ of Empire. Only in very recent times has revisionism opened our minds to the horrific truth of what was done in our name and to the wholly one-sided portrayal of such expansionist terror.
Of course nowadays more damage is done by those who wield the weapons of finance in order to achieve their aims. Huge global corporations, bankers, media moguls and billionaires exert the sort of heft that politicians dream of but struggle to achieve. It would seem that many of them are simply seduced by it. Are there any limits to what money can buy these days? With depressing regularity massive corporate takeovers, restructuring and outsourcing to cheaper labour markets lays waste to thousands of lives. The global financial crisis has caused and will continue to inflict collateral damage of epic proportions way beyond the banking sector. The greed-based culture of a few bankers has wrought carnage across the globe. Cuts in public services are likely to be savage and enduring. We are all in the line of fire.
What links the cannon to the bankers bonus-pot is a seemingly complete disregard for those who will inevitably suffer the consequences of such arrogant, self-serving and narrow-minded behaviour. And the fact that it is always the poorest and least powerful who suffer most. These are the ones who are always in the line of fire.
It was for them that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.