Vive La France: Liberte', Fraternite', Hypocrisie….
It’s almost funny—almost—watching everybody get all excited and up in arms about the crimes of Paris, as if 129 dead were the World Trade Towers all over again, when it’s just another slow day in the Mideast where the real war is a typical day in the life. I mean: this is nothing compared to the carnage in Gaza, Palestine, last year, when Israel “mowed the lawn” (Netanyahu’s words) with more than 2000 Palestinian bodies, stacked like cord wood or kindling, take your pick, it’s ‘ashes to ashes dust to dust’ every day of the week for the average Palestinian who’s committed no other crime than being born…
…and expecting an ounce of dignity to go with that status of life in the West Bank or the Gaza strip, or any one of a thousand other marginalized political entities, once proud, now reduced to rubble, the world’s advance stopped dead in its tracks, and right on the verge of fulfillment, right on the edge of a dream, a dream of motors and machines and numbers increasingly exponentially, GROWTH, capitalistic growth never-ending. But that’s far away, from Paris, at least; I only mention it because there really was no ‘Muslim problem’ before 1948, not since 1697, anyway…
There is now. Islam doesn’t skimp on dignity. Where do you think Spain got all that macho ‘honor’ b*llsh*t? That’s why talks with Israel go nowhere; they’re based on style more than substance, what they SAY more than what they do. Once Palestine publicly grovels, then Netanyahu will deal, or so he says, but not before. But no one should have to forego their dignity; it’s not too much to ask, and crucial to the spirit of equality. Ah, “equality,” there’s that word again, the one that says so little and means so much, that feeling that’s important, that feeling that offers life where there is only death in the streets.
Why does all this matter to us in America? Because we’re the police for the old regime, capitalism, and the guarantor of its survival. Because when civilizations collapse, we will be the hardest pressed to survive. Evolution favors the smallest most adaptable units. That ain’t us, not with with our Cadillacs and sugar shacks and the democratic principle that made this country great: “one man, one car.” Americans come with a vehicle attached, and that isn’t negotiable. Everywhere else, it’s optional.
We’ve gotten fat, lazy and complacent. Even when I was growing up in the 60’s there were riots somewhere every week, first over black civil rights, then over the Vietnam War. I remember thinking at the time: “This is weird. This can’t be normal.” But it was, at least at the time. And it created an equal but opposite reaction: the psychedelic peace-loving protesting violent Sixties (and back-to-nature Seventies). Some people got caught up in all the turbulence and never came down, or never came back. Communism was the boogie-man then, long before Muslim fundamentalists.
Almost a million people died in the French-Algerian war of Independence, and God only knows how many more in all the French wars of conquest, launched for no other reason than that it was there, ‘it’ being the world, their oyster, their virgin for the de-flowering, a one-off plucking of petals, that almost all Western countries got in on, with little or no thought of the morrow, even less of the feelings of the oppressed peoples. ‘Are they really human, do you think?’ That was the question du jour to be sipped with tea. Now it’s payback time, and as we know: payback’s a b*tch—a batch of contradictions.
I think it’s important to note two things: firstly that the world in which we live is unsustainable, AND secondly: that to much of the world, the US is the terrorist threat, not ISIS. Even in the countries neighboring ISIS, they are not perceived to be the main problem; it’s Syria, or Iran, or Israel, or any other such country. In one well-published poll a decade or so ago about which world leader was most-feared, George W. Bush was in the top three, with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.
The current situation is different, with Obama less offensive than Bush to the rest of the world, the other two long gone, and ISIS and al-Qaeda with no infamous figureheads. On the issue of sustainability, I think it is worth noting that these (ISIS) are not the guys causing global warming—we are. We’re the ones destroying the planet—not them. In fact, however hideous their vision of the world might be, it does likely include survival of the species. Ours likely doesn’t.
More importantly the terror that ISIS sows just might be enough to cut back the runaway capitalism that won’t be dealt with otherwise—seriously. Now that’s a sad commentary, but it’s likely true. I seriously doubt that that the average American will give up his car because of global warming. Once the planet is on the road to sustainability, then we can see what’s left to resurrect of our respective culture(s). Me: I’d really like to get back to my excursions in the poetic mythosphere. I don’t like politics. But I like hypocrisy even less. Persevere. And good luck out there…