Thursday, July 07, 2005

The World is as We Shall Build It

This Morning's Attack on London

Aster instant-messaged me this morning, bright and early, at least for the Eastern Time Zone, from London.

"Hey," she messaged. "Don't you read keep up with world events?"

At that time I made the connection. London commuters being blown up by some faceless extremist group. Very good friend currently working in London.

Shit. Double shit. And I thought I was a sensitive guy.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"I'm fine," she wrote back. "Stuck in the office. My mailbox is full of people checking on me."

Thank God.

London's one of the world's urban benchmarks, drawing millions per year for business and pleasure.

Around the world, thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, are getting e-mails, voice mails, phone calls, and text messages from friends, lovers, children and parents letting them know that they're okay.

And some people are getting phone calls from coroners or hospital workers. Worse still, there are folks who aren't getting any word at all about their loved ones.

For all of our technological advances, for all of our art and literature and song, what happened in London this morning is a reminder that we are still the most brutal species on this planet. We are, as someone smarter than I once said, the only species that kills for pleasure. We're also the only species that also kills for God, for Country, and for everything in between.

While there are those who will undoubtedly play variations of armchair quarterback for months with this tragedy (with some playing armchair Ghandis and some playing armchair George Pattons), there remains but one truth above all else.

People are dead and they died senseless deaths at the hands of their fellow men.

We've been doing it since our dawn as an upright animal. We've done it through men like Pizarro, Custer, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and Papa Doc Duvallier. We've witnessed it in newspapers, books, and other media; the brutality of Idi Amin and the Derg, the teenage generals in Liberia who removed the ovaries of girls for good luck charms.

We've witnessed whole nations driven to madness. The machete-wielding mobs in Rwanda. The bloodlust of Britons for vengeance with the bombing of Dresden. The French "See No Evil" policies towards the ruthless dictatorships in their former colonies and the resulting atrocities, and, of course, the major black mark on my own country's record, the near genocide of the indigenous population of the U.S.

Stalingrad. Buchenvauld. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Carthage.
Nanking. Gettysburg. Verdun. Somme. Gallipoli. Srebrenica, Bosnia.
Jerusalem. All these places serve as giant grave markers for the millions
butchered in the name of man's stubbornness in the face of non-violence.

Today's events, as with the events of 2001 in New York, with the Oklahoma City bombings, and other events in my short lifetime, serve as brutal reminders of the sheer evil mankind is capable of committing.

I refuse to pick out one single scapegoat for this tragedy; one could blame al-Qa'ida, or the Qu'ran, or George Bush's policies, or failures in British intelligence, or Europe's failures in addressing its postcolonial mess, or some anti-G8 group. Hell, one could blame the whole thing on Napoleon and the Easter Bunny. It doesn't change what happened, and no amount of vengeance will fix it.

What will? Learning to love one another and to live as brothers and sister would be a decent start. Learning to be kind, to accept compromise over totalitarianism, to make the world free from evil might be another foundation.The world is as we shall build it. It is either to be our unmarked grave or our masterpiece.

There are people who didn't make it to work today in Great Britain and all over the world.

Asti was one of them who did make it, safe and sound, to her company's offices.

Thank God.



KFigment said...


The ZenFo Pro said...

Hey, it almost sounds like a Hallmark Card, but thanks.

Anonymous said...

Right on, man. Excellent post.

You are right inthat there is not one particular reason to be pointed to ... there is a combination of factors, and a ton of history, leading to what was done. Pointing to one group or one event is only scratching the surface. I think we do it just to find comfort in reason - feeling we know as opposed to being lost in the unknown.

But that still gets us nowhere, other than to foster further hate. Which leads only to further brutality, and we continue in the circle once more. Love is the key ... a respect for life borne solely of love for its value. We're all the same - and far too often we forget that.

Thanks for your words in this post - they hit home, and ring loud and true.

Smurf said...

wow...on another note... I am doing my research paper on UBERMENSCHE vs Christianity and as I was doing a search on Google for "Ubermensche," your site, where I commented about "Klan OAP being found guilty:... your site came up second from the top! (Just thought I would let you know... I thought that was pretty cool!)
Love ya,

Smurf said...

I am glad Ashti is safe! That is such scary stuff. A close friend of mine had finished up her minor in German in Germany and was touring Europe when 911 happened. I remember her calling me from Berlin, I was a "travel agent" at the time and she wanted help getting back to the states... she was so scared. I think all of this is such a tragedy.

I have a question.. after 911, when Bush gave the address and said he was going to take a stand against terrorism, that it was going to be a long hard road... at that time were you for or against it. I may not like all the violence... I may not like the death... but there is one thing about Bush that I like and might make me sound like a giant jerk, but I respect the fact he didn't back down on the promise he made almost 4 years ago now.


The ZenFo Pro said...

No, you don't sound like a giant jerk, but I do disagree with you on Bush not backing down. The only place he's backed into is a corner.

I actually have always maintained the position that declaring a "War on Terror" is just plain stupid. Its as stupid as Clinton, Chirac, and the other Security Council leaders arguing over the definition of genocide during the Rwanda crisis.

Its a war waged without any accountability using traditional weaponry and battle tactics that's doing nothing but getting people killed on all sides.

I believe there are justifiable wars. Wars for independence, wars to stop killing. A nation must be able to adaquately defend not only its people but its ideals as well. Bush's stand against terrorism betrays national principle to create a false sense of security. Instead of defeating the enemy, its making enemies where none existed previously. War must be used as a last resort, always. Thousands of years of human conflict tells us that.

I refuse, however, to jump on the bandwagon saying the invasion of Iraq was a mistake or kicking the crap out of Afghanistan's dicators was a bad thing. The populations of those countries had been begging for the chance to be free for decades. But why NOT Angola? Saudi Arbia? Why aren't we fighting for the liberation of Sudanese? And why have we not held Europe accountable for their former colonies and the mess they're in? Why do we provide aid and trade to countries without any sort of civil liberties for its peoples?

You cannot declare war on a warfare tactic. It was a kneejerk reaction that we will be paying for for a long, long time. Rather than first evaluate and then formulate a true stategy, we've now wasted billions of dollars and numerous lives making the world a paranoid, unstable mess.

Smurf said...

That is true... terrorism is a mindset and can one really wage war on a mindset? I still am not sure if one can back down the sad thing is our president made a public statement WORLDWIDE almost 4 years ago now. Honestly, I think that if we were to just pull out and stop... many Americans and other people worldwide would be fine and actually happy about it... HOWEVER... if we were to just pull out...the message that would give to the terrorist groups...would be that Americans don't follow through. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It's a hard thing. People are dieing daily for a war on a mindset? Is and will it ever make anyone stop behaving that way? Only time will say.. you argument is VERY VALID!!!

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I was walking through the streets of London as I do most of the weekends. The mood in central London is can feel sense of loss. One of the blasted tube station is just next to the hotel I stay. I am one of the luckiest who made it through because I was 30 minutes earlier at the tube station. Now, I see everyday, fresh flowers and cards scribbled with thoughts for victims and loved ones at the station….very touching notes.

Yet, life goes on and all looks to be returning to normal amazingly. But for those who have been directly affected, normal won't return for a very long time.

Thank you for your thoughtful words.….

Aster (Asti)

The ZenFo Pro said...

You're very welcom Asti!