Saturday, November 14, 2015

A lamentation for Paris

Why write if you don’t have answers? It’s like forgiveness I guess, of which I have none right now. It’s like forgiveness in that it’s for the forgiver. Writing is for the writer. A lucky and uniquely skilled few writers have legions attuned to each word, but those must be the writers with answers. After all, who needs more questions, especially from a writer? Readers have plenty of their own. So I’ll write some thoughts on it all just to pass some time with it, to be still with it for a moment. I’ll post it I’m guessing, but for now it’s for now.

Squad terrorism describes this thing I guess. That’s its type, its genus, coordinated and simultaneous, kind of in the Mumbai tradition. Commandos. Death squads. So damn sick. Arranged, but scattered, an assault on bars and restaurants and a young band. So I guess that was it. Youth. Kill a bunch of kids. It seems to be a fierce jab with a spear of so dull a point as to mean nothing. Is this the new version of the new warfare? It’s asymmetrical and now it’s nonsensical as well? Enough of looking for poetry in murder, I suppose.

What is it then? Maybe I’ll try a few answers. Politically it is born of our love affair with the House of Saad and our indirect funding of the tools of oppression against the average Saudi schmuck, who runs for solace to the Saudi mullahs preaching a uniquely Gulf State Wahaabist Islam that extolls violence against the infidel. Historically, it is born of a century of capricious blunders in the Middle East that have not taught us either how to partner with or exploit the region. Economically it is born of reliance on oil. Practically, with Iraq now gone to the dogs, or the Russians anyway, our most potent ally in the Middle East (besides Israel) might be Iran. That’s how inside out the Middle East is right now. East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. But we keep trying. The urge now is for vengeance, but that’s been tried before. We in the US are experts in blind lashings out in vengeance’s name, and it does not work. The one thing that has not been tried, disengagement, is impossible absent a dramatic social shift in the West and a dramatic intellectual shift in the East.

So those are my answers. And they’re not answers at all. They’re thoughts. I recommend you be suspicious of anyone with definitive answers on this. People better informed than me might have the next level past a thought, which is an idea. Ideas are good. The next level past an idea though, is an answer, and as pertains to the Middle East, anything characterized as an answer should be suspect. But, if you’re bound and determined and you’re looking for answers, you can go on Twitter and find more than 140 characters who have it all figured out in less than 140 characters. Most of what I have here is more questions, and a parting thought that apart from its rich cultural heritage, France has a noble history of the greater good eventually prevailing in politics, so let’s hope she can begin to make sense of this and find a way to mend her greatest city. Mon coeur est brisé.

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