This was a letter to a friend. I’ve transcribed it with a few edits but with all the illogic left intact.
I think I reached the Mercutio Moment yesterday morning. Plague on both your houses, etc., etc. I ran out of mental hiding places and enclaves of rationalization.
But so what? Imprecations and anger on the edge of despair change nothing. People with my blood are doing this to other people who probably hate my guts because of that same blood. Whatever religious choices I made back in 1997, I didn’t have a gene and blood transfusion that turned me into an Irish Catholic from Hudson County, New Jersey. But after putting myself outside the “community,” I have played mental defense strategies of wishing to plow under all the Islamic states and turn them into WalMarts–a form of armchair aggression, I suppose. And alternately, I have wanted to sit around and join them all singing Jesse Colin Young songs and “Kumbaya.”
It doesn’t work. And I marvel that men like A. B. Yehoshua and Yehuda Amichai keep and kept their sanity and convictions that hegemony and blood lust are wrong, and that peace is a risk we don’t dare to avoid.
What is it like to live in a state of perpetual war with your neighbors? What is it like to be assaulted from the ground and the air by a sworn enemy? We got a taste on September 11, 2001. Sorry, True Patriots, but Jeremiah Wright nailed it: the chickens came home to roost that day. “They hate our freedom” said the little fool in the White House. No, they hate our hegemony over their countries. They hate our complicity with Israel as an oppressor client state where the Prime Ministers have been Satraps managed by the Court Jew Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney. Even Western Europe…we had them united with us on September 12, then erased all the good will by going after the most perfectly useless target we could have picked, Iraq. It was a move as transparent as a stripper’s Saran Wrap bra: it really was all about oil. Unlike Saul’s war against the Amelikites, this wasn’t even about delivering something like the “justice of God” through an act of revenge. It was rhetoric about freedom and justice, and beneath it was a pool of oil. Lots of oil. And we could not even get that right.
If people get desperate enough, without hope, they are going to fly planes into buildings, blow up the Atocha Station, and bomb sites in England, Indonesia and Mumbai. If they feel desperate enough on the other side of the conflict, they are going to invade an enclave to their north and kill children. The killing has been going on seemingly forever. I’m going to be 65 next month and this started when I was four. No, even before: the massacre at Hebron in 1929 is legendary.
And it’s all about, and always has been about, men, women, and schoolchildren. Armies are secondary to the damage inflicted on the civilian population. The violence is on both sides and it’s apparently endless. For yes: the evil lives on both sides. We have to invoke the theological terms everyone avoids anymore because it is so uncool to profess belief: evil and sin. They are real and they exist. They are among us. People are at one another’s throats right now.
And I have no suggestions, only this feeling of total hopelessness that someone has given us all the mandate to clean up the mess other people made, and we don’t know how to do it.
Amichai wrote a poem called “Wildpeace.” He died before he could see another hope dashed. Wildpeace has become, yet again, wildfire.