What is the problem?
Since last night, Friday, November 14, 2015, when I saw the news about the slaughter in Paris, I’ve been wondering. What is the fucking problem?
Paris is a terrific city. I have lived in Paris, off and on, during the past decade. Two or three months at a time. I know the city pretty well and I know the neighborhoods where the ISIS attacks took place. When the news feed came up, reporting the terrors, I was exchanging emails with a few landlords because I’m planning to return next fall/winter for a few months. I don’t speak very good French but I dig the city, it is comfortable, crowded, beautiful and I feel at home there. I love French literature, architecture, history, food, culture, etc. I am a member of the Amis du Louvre, supporters of the museum, and I renew my membership card every year.
There is no way I would call myself an expert in anything French, I just goddamn love Paris where I have good friends who are now experiencing one of the most horrifying events in their lives and in Europe since World War II. Museums are closed, there is still blood in the street, people are scared and in shock, my own acquaintances are safe, but so many normal citizens were wounded and killed and the city and people are changed forever.
I’ll admit that I’m as ready as anyone to take revenge. Last night I was enraged and could have killed. It’s in my nature; my first reaction to the murder and assault of innocent people is to avenge them. I’m no hero, but I’m as pissed off as I’ve been since 9/11.
This morning, after I’d gone out for coffee and talked to a few friends, I am calmer. Less fury, but still gloomy and desolated. What can I do?
There is no use for religion, god, prayer, belief or magic. That’s my only commitment. Prove to me that any of that exists or is useful and perhaps I’ll pay attention, but until then, for my own safety and preservation, I cannot take devotees seriously. Belief, commitment to fantasy, voluntary ignorance, is dangerous and deadly and there are examples every day, both in the Mideast and in America’s Midwest. I’m an antitheist. I do what I can, in my small way, to disparage and dismiss and, I hope, destroy religion, faith, and delusion. Anyone who doesn’t approve can fuck off. I need my dignity and self esteem more than I give a crap about their rescue fantasies and desire for better parents.
Individuals who perpetrate holocausts, terrorism, torture, bloodletting, are not smart. No, they’re not. This is not some clearly thought out political ideology or utopian dream. It’s not about making the world a better place, solving hunger, fixing the environment, or caring for the homeless and displaced and sick and frightened populations of the world. It is superstitious ignorance at a global level and it’s getting worse. It appears that the focus of the monsters among us is total devastation. For what?
Meanwhile there are huge armies fighting in multiple countries and nothing is improving. Veterans Day comes and goes and we’re all up in the support and love and patriotic jingoism, but still, a perpetual war is raging, people are dying, and nothing is improving. We killed Osama? Good, hope you feel better. What’s changed? Yesterday the news media reported we “may have killed Jihadi John”. So? Something is different? Are you more secure and happy? I’ve got no problem about targeting dangerous assholes, but what changed?
What is the fucking problem?
Is it really as simple as a misplaced, misinformed, ignorant religious creed and dogma? Is it about Palestine and the West’s support for Israel? Is it Oil? Money? Patriarchy? Is it because “they hate our freedom”? Or they want our women? Is it honestly about making cartoon representations of Mohammad?
Do not tell me about how bad America is, either. I get that. We’re a flawed nation, but yesterday some douche said, “We do worse stuff all the time.” Well, fuck you douche, stay away from me. You are a collaborator. Do not excuse these recent events by trotting out some straw dog argument that it’s OK because the monsters have been hurt and have reasons for their animosity and killing. Bite me.
Oh, and drop the feelgood shit about “everything happens for a reason” or “we never get more than we can handle” and “god’s will” and “rich and varied ethnic heritage”. No. You are wrong.
This bullshit has been going too long and has escalated over the past ten years. So what is the problem? Plenty of groups have identified themselves, they have websites and twitter feeds and publish manifestos and make phone calls and use the Internet and social media to brag and recruit and take credit. We know how to get in touch, right? IS, ISIS, ISIL, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram; somebody has their goddamn phone numbers. I mean, before we get all gung-ho and start carpet-bombing (and last night I would have said, “Fuck yes!”) let’s find out what’s the frigging difficulty.
This is World War III. It can be the forever war. There may not be an answer and it may never end and this may be the wretchedness that defines the next several centuries. So someone, please, tell me, what is the problem? If it’s not resolvable in the real world, if it truly is about stupidity and fantasy and hatred, then we can all cut loose and the people of earth can begin a campaign to decimate themselves at a faster rate. I’m good with that.
I’d just like to know: Currently, this minute, what is the fucking problem?
What have I missed?
Someone, please, make a phone call, take some notes, tell the truth and let me know. And if you’re a disciple, defender of the monsters, collaborator or believer in a divinity, please block, delete, unfriend, erase me from your database. You may be part of the problem. Whatever the fuck it is.