I thought it might be reasonable to share some of the news from Europe, for those of you who don't have my fortunate access that includes Deutsche Welle, which is now broadcasting six hours a night on 68 (sorry, not on local cable), the BBC off the school district channel (58), ITN in London streamed on the Internet, and of course I still read the Irish Times.
Ah, the joys of the Central Library. Anyway, as you can see the after-effects of my trip to Ireland haven't yet worn off, but more important, the Europeans have opinions about our circumstances which I find more experienced and healthier than our own media. Why, at this very moment Deutsche Welle is showing a documentary "Das war die DDR", a completely gripping history of East Germany (okay, it's mostly bent-over old shits in committee meetings)...but I digress into sarcasm.
The British, lost tribe of Israel (remember the Freemasons, Isaac and Ishmael, POW!) that they are, they're ready to fight just for the hell of it. All domestic squabbles are forgotten, and Northern Ireland is just another unpleasant distraction, like the continuing destruction in the West Bank. "Would you kindly CUT IT OUT, mate? No more of this shooting the Catholics in the BACK and all that." The English also have far more anti-Muslim unrest to contend with than the U.S.; they just cooled off last summer's anti-Muslim rioting by the "Teddy boys" all across the industrial Midlands, and now it's begun again. Just as the urbane Londoners couldn't comprehend the hoof-and-mouth disaster in the country last March, they seem surprised by the open racism being expressed around them. Yeah, we've got nothing on them there. Remember that picture I sent you last time? There's plenty more where that came from. Wait'll the war toys start showing up in the Happy Meals. The English are also pushing hardest for the strongest trans-Europe extradition rules, so it would be as easy to transfer a criminal from anywhere in the EU as in the US. But it's all committee meetings, no flag waving in Europe, let's get back on track, there's room for a lot of McDonald's in China, and a lot of Mercedes. But they kindly set aside some rice for the Afghanis. You also get the feeling that the English still have an old score to settle with the Pushtuns from the Nineteenth Century. They emphazise the Russian speeches in their media coverage, and I think everyone knows the Russians have a score to settle (and Chechnya was just a dry run). You don't hear any of that "but don't blame the Muslims" coming out of Moscow.
The Irish are naturally torn between their stubborn sense of liberty, their own losses in New York City (almost 200 Irish citizens, the equivalent of a disaster almost the same proportion in Ireland), their long association with New York, and their distaste for agreeing with the English about anything. But I'm biased, as I've received their generosity personally. The Germans are almost enjoying this hunt for terrorists. Maybe they recall fondly all the fun they had doing it against their own homegrown version in the 70s. They also seem authentically annoyed that any terrorists could plan such a thing within Germany itself (the Queda apparently coordinated the attack in Hamburg this last year). The integrity of their intelligence and military forces are questioned right at the top of the news; also this week they took charge of the NATO peace-keeping division in Macedonia, the first military command they've held since 1945, and that nervous pride suits them. Poor, poor Germans, it makes me want to find an earnest German out in the street somewhere, comfort them and pet their hair, now, now, don't worry about us, we don't blame you, and by the way, sorry about Dresden. Let's all make nice and make the world safe for global commerce, that's it, get all the world leaders together for a "big hug", a group hug in the U.N. Security Council, moderated by Oprah Winfrey and the Teletubbies...
Sorry for getting carried away. All the European media shares sympathy for the Afghan plight, especially the German media; many thousands of Afghan refugees are in Germany including their entire national football team (playing in some minor league just outside Frankfurt ;-)) . They've also shown considerable footage of Kabul which you don't see with Tom Brokaw. It is incredible looking...my first impression was of Matthew Brady's photographs of Richmond, Virginia in 1865, just smoke and broken walls, comparable to the pueblo ruins of New Mexico, left to rot for a thousand years, or the flattened center of Hiroshima in 1945. On a lesser scale it even resembles the wreckage of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, but without any rescue workers or heavy machinery disturbing the carnage. I think we need a new word for this event...something pathetic on a global scale. Sigh.
On a lighter note (is he kidding?), for those of you who live near the Zen on Hyperion, what the hell was all that noise tonight? Drunken screaming and tires squealing, those fucking kids! Don't they know there's a WAR on? Anyway, just to confuse us even more, this opinion by Charles Bukowski, way back in 1969 when most of us were too busy playing with blocks to care,
ON THE FIRE SUICIDES OF THE BUDDHISTS
"They only burn themselves to reach Paradise." -- Madame Nhu
original courage is good, motivation be damned,
and if you say they are trained to feel no pain, are they guaranteed this?
is it still not possible to die for somebody else?
you sophisticates who lay back and make statements of explanation,
I have seen the red rose burning and this means more.
Sleep tight and remember, this is the safest (and essential) time to travel! Pick that exotic destination and go! If the world misses one thing about us, it's our annoying tourists. "HOW much is that?"
30 September 2001