So. The unthinkable. For instance, one detail among others: in the killings on Friday night in Paris, metal bolts were added to the explosives in one suicide attacker’s vest – to maximize damage. I read, and an old image surfaces, of myriads of aluminum triangles strewn on a Middle Eastern street after a suicide bomber blew himself up. His sponsors had also added a thoughtful touch “to maximize damage”.
“I feel guilty,” the young woman said last night. “Just because it happened in Paris, I feel it more, and that’s not right.” What could I answer other than: you feel what you feel, don’t go searching for logic on top of everything else. At least, not at the feeling level. Like it or not, there’s a tribal thing that comes to play.
The unthinkable. Meaning: setting aside the easy-out of “crazies” at work. Not that their world view doesn’t strike me as stupendously crazy, but they don’t think so. On the contrary – in their vision, we are the crazies, the perverts, the ones in need of destruction in order to please their god. The sooner the final battle, the better – in their view.
So. Anything and everything becomes what I can only describe as a political act. Not in the sense of politicos, in the sense of polis, the city, the citizen, the ways of the world in which you live, work, dream, play, love, laugh, argue. The ways in which you share some of the city’s values and reject others, knowing all those values are like dreck to the ones who live, work, dream, play, love, laugh and argue in the name of your destruction. (Love? their vision of their central role in the play, certainly, they must love every delicious bit of terror they inflict on others. Or feel a grandiose sense of self-sacrifice in “accepting” to sacrifice others in a god’s name. It’s not their will, you understand, they’re only obeying the Will of the Godhead in Person. How’s that for convenient?)
Previous experience need not apply? Personal values, commitments, memories, projects… they’re all I own. My take on them needs to be honed, rather, to an even finer resolution.
Revision: what matters, what doesn’t. In real life or in fiction, the day after the explosions, even a chipped bowl or a bit of curtain count in figuring out that equation.
(Almost forgot to mention silliness – a crucial ingredient).