Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Powerful Arms of Nature, or Else God

What a heartbreaking story.

MEXICO CITY - Five Mexican children were killed when a large metal cross they were praying at was struck by lightning in central Mexico, local media reported Monday.

Five children between 9 and 16 years old died and several others suffered burns when lightning struck a white-painted metal cross set on a hill in the town of Santa Maria del Rio early on Sunday, according to two newspaper reports.

“The lightning went straight into them and killed them instantly,” local Red Cross chief Eduardo Suarez told the daily El Norte.


A photo showed charring on the cross’s turquoise-painted cement base, although the cross was still standing.

Several families had been participating in a midnight ceremony as part of a local religious festival that centers around the cross.

This is a tragedy recounted image by image: the excited children squirm; the solemn adults bow their heads; the prayer begins; the storm gathers; Armegeddon.

Because that's how it is for those who loved the lightening victims. For those parents and those families, no other Armegeddon exists now.

And what of the terrible, brute irony suffusing this story? The worshippers became the stricken; their beloved symbol, the flaming sword that took their children. Children of an ancient culture that, in these mad and modern times, clings ever more staunchly to its rituals.

Children who mattered and whose loss under any circumstance is tragic.

(Hat-tip to blogenfreude).

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