ETERNAL DAMNATION

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The legendary sermon that Aly, in the guise of the Dominican priest 'Antonio de Montesinos', fearlessly delivered to the Viceroy of Hispaniola, and all his murderous cronies, at Advent, 1511:


I waited, unsmiling, looking sternly out across the glittering gathering, my arms akimbo, until everyone had fallen silent. And then, once my Moorish face had their undivided attention, I pointed vigorously at my breast and roared:
 
"I am the voice of one crying in the desert…”
 
I paused, and you could have heard a pin drop.
 
“The arid desert,” I continued, “of the consciences of you all in this island who exult in every vice despised by God…  the arid desert of those who take no notice and store no charge by their grievous sins… the arid desert of those who through ignorance or malice are destined for eternal damnation!"
 
The Viceroy sat stunned, silent, unmoving, his mouth fallen open, not knowing what to think or do.
 
"I have ascended here to cause you to know those sins,” I went on, “I who am the voice of Christ in the desert of this island. Therefore it is fitting that you listen to this voice, not with careless attention, but with all your heart and senses. For this voice will be the strangest you ever heard, the harshest and hardest, most fearful and most dangerous you ever thought to hear."
 
I thundered thus for no little time, as if I were the god Bromios himself - my words belligerent and fearsome, and I told them they should tremble now, as soon they would when brought before the Divine Presence Himself, and have to account for all they had done.
 
"This voice," I continued, pointing at those gathered one by one, "declares that you are all in mortal sin, and live and die in it, because of the cruelty and tyranny you practice among these innocent peoples.”
 
"Tell me, by what right or justice do you hold these ‘Indians’ in such a cruel and horrible servitude? On what authority have you waged such detestable wars against these peoples, who dwelt quietly and peacefully on their own land? Wars in which you have destroyed such infinite numbers of them by murders and slaughters never before heard of? Why do you keep them so oppressed and exhausted, without giving them enough to eat or curing them of the sicknesses they incur from the excessive labour you give them, keep them thus until they die, or rather, you kill them, in order to extract and acquire gold every day?”
 
"And what care do you take that they should be instructed in religion, so that they may know their God and Creator, may be baptized, may hear Mass, and may keep Sundays and feast days? Are these not people? Do they not have rational souls? Are you not bound to love them as you love yourselves? Don't you understand this? Don't you feel this? Why are you sleeping in such a profound and lethargic slumber? Be assured that in your present state you can no more be saved than the Moors or Turks, who lack the faith of Jesus Christ and do not desire it."
 
There I concluded my sermon, and shut my Bible with such force that it sounded like the detonation of a cannon. As the echoes from the white plaster of the church then faded, I slowly descended from that pulpit with my head held high, showing and feeling no fear of the scum on whom I then turned my back, and who I left sitting on their benches, unsure of what they should do next.    


From  'Aly, Michelangelo's Son', Part 1 'Ayiti'

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