Matthew 26, 14: Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Nobody does it for the silver, surely – never enough pieces to hang a new life on.
And is the Judas kiss the tenderest of them all? Knowing it’s the one and only.
They stopped the car and told the young volunteer his life was coming to an end.
After lengthy interrogation by enemy forces, he had revealed what little he knew.
Released by the British, he was de-briefed by his own side, and advised he’d soon be home. Instead the car turned off so that he could be taken somewhere suitably out-of-the-way, and shot.
Having talked (who wouldn’t?), and being known to have blabbed, he was considered a security risk. But the volunteer was so much a soldier for the cause, it is said that even in these circumstances he accepted his own death as for the greater good.
Looking back at the days of ‘Stakeknife’, the IRA gunman who was really running for the Brits, as revealed in full in last night’s Panorama, the harder question is not what was done, but what, in those days, it was done for.
The war that dared not speak its name, was bound to be a patchwork of double cross and deceit. But where the ex-combatants’ eyes have stayed purposefully clear, how different is their former zeal – legible in their faces even now. How different from doing the deal, doing the deal, which is the only order of today.
Perhaps we need but note there are different kinds of betrayal.