Wednesday, September 20, 2006

the smell of sulfur

well I suppose he's probably just another latin american tinpot dictator, and he comes dangerously close to slandering witches, but elected venezuelan president hugo chavez made a delicious speech at the united nations today.

"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday. "And it smells of sulfur still today."

"As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: 'The Devil's Recipe.' "

Chavez held up a book by Noam Chomsky on imperialism and said it encapsulated his arguments: "The American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its hegemonistic system of domination, and we cannot allow him to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated."

...The U.N. was founded in an era of two superpowers, he said. "The Soviet Union collapsed. The United States empire is on the way down and it will be finished in the near future, for the good of all mankind."

He also said the U.S. government was the "first enemy" of its people.

"Their freedoms are restricted through the Patriot Act. They are sent to die in Iraq for no reason. The people of the United States are being deceived," he said.

Um, amen is all I can say.

Monday, September 11, 2006

five years later

five years ago, a beautiful day like today. what we saw, experienced, lived through, was awful. loss, pain, horror, bravery, courage, the gamut of the best and worst of people was expressed that day and the weeks that followed.

what do I summon up now, september 11, 2006. hard to touch the grief...remember what it was like that week when we all cried for days, the memorial in union square, the faces of the lost plastered everywhere, the inner thoughts so private so painfully shared. somewhere I have saved the newspapers of that week still too painful to reread. saved is the red cross paper cup handed to me on the manhattan bridge as I walked home with the thousands. it's an unneeded reminder, a souvenir I can't bear to look at directly.

but I also summon up anger. anger at the know-nothing red-state tourists who pose and gawk at something they can't begin to understand. anger at the politicians who use this tragedy not to right wrongs but as currency in their own savage crusades. anger at the arrogance of americans, unused to such violent intercession acting like this tragedy was more painful than the thousands of tragedies inflicted by those waving our flag yesterday, today, tomorrow on people not so very different than our flesh bone blood but worlds, oceans, lifetimes away.

how many september 11ths has the u.s. inflicted on iraq. how many lost husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, children, friends...blameless victims of tragedy wielded blindly, intently, by bureaucrats with murderously steely eyes and deadened hearts.

so stupid. so wasteful. so sad.

all empires fall. people, they cry.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

in God we trust

"some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." --Psalms, 20:7

it occurs to me (and I'm no Bible scholar) that if one sees this lovely psalm as the origin of the phrase "in God we trust," that this oft-coined phrase, excuse the pun, has a much different meaning than its coiners, I think, intend.

there's a lot in the old testament to be questioned, but here is a distinctly pacifist notion I find quite profound. don't trust in the machines and beasts of war, but rather, in the inspiration of spirit. is the world really that simple?

then there's that recent headline from the onion. "WAR-TORN MIDDLE EAST SEEKS SOLACE IN RELIGION."
that will bring you back to earth.