Living in the age of permawar

Mohsin_hamid_credit-jillian_edelsteinMohsin Hamid at The Guardian:

You occasionally think living in Pakistan is an advantage. Since so much is obviously unsayable, you have developed a heightened sensitivity to the ways in which power operates on speech, not just there but everywhere. It is like living in a desiccated nook on the cliff wall of some dry, desert valley. Looking out from your nook you can see the forces of erosion at work. Erosion reshapes everything. One day soon, though hopefully not very soon, your nook, too, will be gone.

You see from your nook that humanity is afflicted by a great mass murderer about whom we are encouraged not to speak. The name of that murderer is Death. Death comes for everyone. Sometimes Death will pick out a newborn still wet from her aquatic life in her mother’s womb. Sometime Death will pick out a man with the muscles of a superhero, pick him out in repose, perhaps, or in his moment of maximum exertion, when his thighs and shoulders are trembling and he feels most alive. Sometimes Death will pick singly. Sometimes Death will pick by the planeload. Sometimes Death picks the young, sometimes the old, and sometimes Death has an appetite for the in-between.

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