My mom phoned me to ask if any of my friends had been hurt by the London bombings. I told her not to worry, that my drunk-ass friends there get bombed regularly. But seriously folks, I told her I hadn't really called around hunting for tragedy. The death toll wasn't that high and I assume I'd hear about any bad news should there be any. Now I'm a southern drag queen who loves her momma and I know that she was genuinely concerned about my many English friends. But there is a tendency to wallow in tragedy. There is certainly nothing wrong with expressing shock and horror over it, mourning the dead and memorializing them. It's only fitting.
I live near St. Vincent's Hospital where many of the 9/11 victims were taken. On a nearby fence, commemorative tiles have been hung by the families of the dead/wounded and well-wishers. I often see tourists pause to read or photograph them. A pottery shop around the corner cutely called OUR NAME IS MUD has even hung tiles coaxing people to their shop to create tiles of their own.
I have no problem with any of that.
BUT IS GRIEF THE ONLY EMOTION WE CAN FEEL AT ONE TIME?
Instant, unexpected loss of a loved one must cause chaotic, long-term grief for the victim's family and loved ones. I'm excusing them from the following diatribe so as not to appear insensitive. But for the rest of us, I think random mass murders should lead to feeling something else. Are we going to wallow in tragedy and do nothing to try to rectify the situation which is causing it? Wouldn't finding the root of the problem reduce the likelihood of it happening again?
For the root, we need look no further than the White House. Bush has stirred up a hornet's nest with his unjust crusade of a war in Iraq and one of the hornets just flew to London with it's deadly sting. WE ARE CREATING TERRORISTS! One of the bombers was 18 years old! Not subject to the pro-war news/propaganda in the US, muslims in every land are horrified by tales of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and the recent one where detained, suspected insurgents were cooked to death in a metal box in the desert heat. Randi Rhodes mentioned it on her blistering AIR AMERICA broadcast yesterday, though I doubt if it got much coverage with this blasted spaceship dominating the headlines. But the tale of humans cooked to death must spread like wildfire in muslim news outlets or truthful non-muslim ones! If terrorism is the enemy, then why are we creating more of them with outrages like torture or this unjust war itself?
Don't get me wrong. In my constant slamming of Dubya's foreign policy--as opposed to his great domestic ones??!!??--don't think for a second that I condone muslim extremists with their barbaric, hateful attitudes towards women and gays. (I like to get stoned, but not with the actual stones thrown at me.) But as much as we like to joke about the fanciful promise made to the suicide bombers about the virgins they could screw in heaven, the truth is that some of them are crazy and will continue to attack us no matter what, but it's also true that WE have done our part to drive them crazy, and we continue to inflame them. We've been riding rough-shod over any country in our way or which has something we want for decades and the ill-will we've created is coming home to roost. Unfortunately, bombs set off by cellphones don't discriminate between war-mongers and peace-niks. Or even muslims, for that matter.
One emotion that goes hand in hand with the deep mourning of a large-scale bombing is fear. And even though the government did not raise the threat level after London's incident and stated that no new intelligence warned of new dangers on our shores, for the days following the attacks CNN has treated us to "security experts" who are lead by questions like "Could an attack like the one in London happen here?". Duh, I think a much worse attack already has--like, remember 9/11? Anything to keep us scared, so that we'll keep backing Bush out of fear for our lives? For some reason, the blank-faced moron with that kiddie's goat book in Farenheit 9/11, with his inept security which bungled warnings of 9/11 and his inability to sufficiently tighten airport security to stop even those amateurs who flew around the country with concealed metal objects to demonstrate how unsafe the airlines still are, THIS IMBECILE MAKES US FEEL SAFE?!? WHY?
Maybe we should try listening to the terrorists. We can't even seem to win a war against the terrorists who never were in Iraq, a poor country which couldn't even shoot a WMD anywhere near us if they had one, yet they are able to continue to confound our well-trained forces. (Ever think we mght not want an exit strategy because then we can't "protect" Iraqi oil? What's a few American soldier's lives in exchange for all that rich, black gold?) So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. A novel approach, but perhaps not as outlandish as it sounds. For some reason, after 9/11, everyone else was thinking "What do we do?" while I was thinking, just as I am after the London bombings, "WHAT THE FUCK HAVE WE DONE?"? To make them attack us like this? Hey, they aren't playing fair, but neither are we! After 9/11, Osama Been Forgotten stated that the attacks would continue until 3 changes were made.
1.That the US should stop supporting Israel's war efforts against Palestine.
2.That US troops should get off of Saudi holy land--this is akin, I guess, to us permitting an army of jihad warriors to be stationed outside St. Patrick's Cathedral.
3.That the US should lift the trade sanctions on Iraq so that among other things, Iraqi kids could obtain much-needed medicines. The sanctions were put in place because of supposed WMD's which it turned out weren't there--uh, but they still may turn up!
I AGREE WITH OSAMA ON ALL THREE OF THESE DEMANDS! I denounce his diabolical methods of making them, but it may have been his only way of getting us to pay attention to 3 big mistakes we've made in our foreign policy. And if his demands are reasonable and the alternative to meeting them is devastatingly cruel, why not admit that we, the US, is wrong?
Don't you dare think I'm saying we deserved 9/11 or that London deserved the bombings. I wouldn't even wish a fiery grave in a collapsing sky-scraper on Paris Hilton. But we've GOT to feel more than shock and horror and grief. We've got to feel enough inquisitiveness to ask HOW CAN WE STOP THESE ATTACKS? And honey, the answer isn't attacking and occupying an oil-rich nation which is unconnected to Al Qaeda and cooking it's citizens to death! Even if we have no sense of rectitude our self-preservation instincts should have kicked in after we're done grieving. Or we will all be doing a lot more grieving for the rest of our lives. No government, super-power or not, can fight everyone with a cellphone.