According to the Book of Exodus, there were ten calamities threatened or inflicted by the God of Israel on the Egyptian Pharaoh, to persuade him to release the Israelites from slavery. It worked. The Pharaoh let these people go, and their exodus began.
Whether you think they are figurative or actual, the story is great. They are mostly “natural” disasters:
- water is turned into blood,
- hordes of frogs are unleashed,
- all the dust in the air becomes lice,
- swarms of flies attack people and livestock,
- horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep goats, and even cats belonging to Egyptians are diseased,
- Egyptian men and their animals are covered with boils,
- there is a thunderstorm of hail and fire,
- a swarm of locusts consumes all the farm plants,
- the sky goes dark for three days shutting everything down,
- and the firstborn of the Egyptians are going to die.
Of course the calamities are commensurate with the suffering of the Israelites, the slaves.
The pageant of this brings to mind Chinese New Year’s dragons and Tibetan demons: personifications of evil that become fodder for colorful festivals. Yes, the root story is frightful, sad, devastating. But the memorial can be fun.
Meanwhile, I thought: what are the plagues of our age? More precisely, what plagues has MANKIND WROUGHT on this Earth?
- Pollution (rivers, oceans, our garbage)
- Over-killing of edible animal life (fish)
- De-forestation and destruction of eco-systems needed by other species (reindeer, extinct species)
- Long-term poison in the form of pesticides and radioactive waste
- Hunting giant, noble animals so we can harvest one tiny piece of them (ivory, horns, shark fins)
- Subjecting sentient animals to experiments for their entire lives, for our cosmetics!
- Keeping sentient animals in captivity and confinement for our amusement or as slaves (zoos, circus)
My wish: this becomes a theme for murals all over the world. Somebody holds a contest and comes up with a colorful template that children can execute on any sizeable wall.
Also, somebody hold a contest for a set of masks and a set of costumes that can be hauled out for festivals (Earth Day?), to raise awareness of our need to STOP IT.
Update: The fundraising has begun, in order to organize a contest. PLEASE DONATE, so we can hold the contest. See https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/the-7-plagues-mural-contest