by Maniza Naqvi
The total eclipse of the sun, a one in several lifetimes flood, a jester becomes king. Through the emulsion coating of a negative containing memory of childhood—that image protecting me from the searing blindness of light, I watched the moon block out the sun.
At the beginning of summer a National Geographic cover promised to tell us why we lie. Declaring us all liars by doing so. As if we all did this and it was okay and would be scientifically explained to us. The article mentioned all sorts of sweet things. But never Iraq. Never why we all lied and let the lie, lie. The last page of the issue was as if on our tolerance. It was on Himalayan bees that produce a hallucinogenic honey. The honey produces a psychotropic effect that lasts awhile.
Violence is a vortex. A whirlpool. You can join in at the edge of it on one end and pick your side but you will quickly get swept up into the velocity of its madness, the whirling and spiraling. Quickly disoriented and forgetting where you had entered, how, when and why. Only the what will remain. Violence.
What's Not to Like?
We're all in boot camp now with Mr. Trump. He's sandblasting, blow-torching and yelling the safe spaces out of us. Pulling the trigger on the triggers. He's triggering the triggers right out of us. He's lacerating the growing blister full of unspoken pus of self-righteousness, latent racism and hate that is thinly veiled as liberalism in America. Whether he is doing this consciously or not, it seems as if that's what's happening. We're toughening up, able to argue and withstand an opposing point of view an argument delivered loudly without shrinking away and wilting, as if we were all Victorian ladies, fainting and in need of protection. We're no longer concerned about niceties. Or maybe we're exhausted and just not concerned. As long as Netflix and Amazon Video keeps streaming.
Back off creep? That's the creepiest thing she's tried to pull so far. Someone who's been used to the pristine isolation of every luxury –had the world warded away from her should be telling us about personal space. Ordinary people are shoulder to shoulder squished in buses and subway cars on streets and in small houses. What the hell is she still screeching on about? Still tone deaf. Even she's allowing herself to say the word "creep". Um. Wasn't she married to him? The one who never backed off and touched whomever he pleased in his vicinity. Isn't she married to him? Doesn't she get funding from all the creeps of the world? Back off creep.
The Night of the Generals
As the jester begins and ends his day demonstrating insanity, juggling bigotries, flaunting greed, tweeting like a crazy parrot for the world to see; he surrounds himself with men with shiny medals. Fake heroes built on fake news. Total eclipse setting in. The night of the general begins.
Back to the Future Endless Afghanistan
Racism is when we think we can invade another country in order to save them. Racism is when we define that country's people by dividing them into being good and being bad. The good are the ones we buy and who do as we say. The bad are the opposite. And then we kill them. And after 17 years of buying and killing there are more of the bad then the good, as we have divided and defined. But that doesn't give us pause. We don't stop. We don't stop the buying and the killing. We go on! Buying and killing. Because this is who we have been for 17 years. No wait—here in Afghanistan? We've been here 40 years. Forever. Endlessly. War Racism.
How did we get here? Easily, all the basest instincts against the 'other" to justify endless war were stoked relentlessly these past 17 years. We got here by worshipping all things war and military right down to thinking it was cool to wear fatigues and have that crew cut hair and the tattoos. The blood and treasure. The blood and treasure. Hear them chanting blood and soil? Ask yourselves who these young men are–where have they been? Yes, exactly they are that stuff called "blood and treasure". We never get tired of that sloganeering. Do we? Now you see it unveiled for what it really means. The country invested trillions into the weapons industry and the pharma industry to create warriors and the opiates to placate them when they got out of line. The country neglected health, education, infrastructure, housing-and good real decent jobs. Here we are now all religioned up—while Money remains god. How did we get here? Because beneath that thin skinned veneer of being civil, this is who we really are, we are standing on a bedrock of occupation, racism and genocide at home and abroad which we have fomented, aided and profited from and which we have never questioned or acknowledged or atoned for. Because we are forever and always innocent and young and new and we are the best, the greatest, the greatest ever. We are absolutely sure of our righteousness, without question. We are never in the wrong. We have done no wrong. And there is always an enemy. Always. And if ever doubt sets in–we have a few beers and if that doesn't work then there are opiates for that–or movies to watch that make us feel like super heroes. And if that doesn't work either, then there are weapons for that too. We always move, move, move forward–no time to think, question, interrogate ourselves, no need and no way to look back and examine or hold ourselves responsible– a gun in one hand and a pill in the other.
Fa fee fo fum stuck between dum and dummer the young and younger–craving attention and relevance looking for violence. Do I feel safer with 'Antifa'? Nope. We are stuck between two extremist violent white groups Antifa and Neo-Nazi Alt-Right. Hooded and masked and armed. In fact the Klu Klux Klan have taken off their masks and their so called opposers have put them on. How many on both sides are veterans of America's endless war, looking to continue to fight now in who's streets? Our streets.