Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tuesday Night Music 5 3 11

what indeed

The big news is inescapable. Flashing over screens and plastered across newsprint. Celebrated or condemned, the message is the same. The monster is dead. The monster is dead.

Osama bin Laden is dead.

It was our afternoon, as we were several time zones away, in Dubai, UAE. A student came in and asked if I'd heard. Planes had flown into the Twin Towers in New York. Hadn't I seen?

No I had not. The internet was a mess -- slower than usual, ever for Etisalat. But eventually I got the story, and when I got back to the apartment tower I was able to watch it on the exercise room's TV.

There were no words. There never are. You see something like that and something in your brain shuts down. All you can feel is sadness, then loss, then rage.

Very dangerous rage.

What have we done with that rage? Some good things. Many more that were bad.

Some things we can be proud of. Too many we'll never be able to apologize enough for.

Osama bin Laden is dead. The monster is dead. But another monster grew up in his shadow - a slobbering little echo of him, created by notions of rage and revenge, sent shambling into the world to do black and awful things in our name.

Gitmo. Iraq. The more intrusive parts of the Patriot Act. Islamophobia justified. Hate turned to patriotism.

Patriotism used as the ultimate excuse for all the above.

Is this the face of war? I don't know. I would like to think a brave and proud people could conduct themselves better than we have for the last decade.

But I also know we could have been much, much worse. Maybe that's the saving point. Maybe that's what we have to be proud of, even in the face of so many bad things.

So many dead. So many on both sides dead. And for what? For this moment, when we can hold up a photo and smile?

Justice is being done, right now. The lady's got the monster, and he's going to know what hell means at her hands. He's fucked forever, now.

Those of us still here, though - we've got some decisions to make. We've got to talk about what we do next, and how we do it. We need to see about leaving some places. We need to think about being in others.

We need to change some rules and get back to basics, now that a large factor of that day's terrible architecture has been laid to rest in the briny deep. We no longer can say "he's still out there, somewhere, laughing at us."

We can no longer justify the war with hate.

I listen to this song every so often, when I think of sadness and death and the senselessness of the battlefield. Even the most righteous of struggles is still a struggle, even the most noble of wars is still a war.

"Murder - Man on fire.
Murder - I've seen the eyes of the living dead."

It's Tuesday night, this is Black Sun by Dead Can Dance.


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