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March 20, 2011

Bad Moon Rising

There’s a big bad moon shining right into my study, right up to the legs of my chair, right now reaching like a ghost to infect my blood with dread, with the fear for what I’ll wake up to tomorrow and even the fear that I won’t wake up tomorrow, unreasonable but instinctive.

My grandfather, in our numerous discussions over the chessboard, shared his hope for a future world governed by world law and a world police force to enforce basic principles, agreed to by all countries—the dream of the League of Nations and the United Nations and whatever better, stronger organization might come later. A great dream.

Today we’re sitting around wondering what’s really happening down in Libya, what somebody might do about it, and suddenly it’s WAR. Madman Gheddafi says he’s gonna bomb the hell out of Sicily like he’s doing to his own cities, so everyone’s on edge. And the echoes of Iraq-Afghanistan-Vietnam-Korea are haunting. And ethics shouldn’t change with vicinity, yet it’s war on our door. We wait, impotent, to see how this risky adventure turns out. No one knows now. Obama doesn’t know. It could all fall apart and crash like the Towering Inferno of Babel. Or innocent lives saved. When the cops confront a suicidal psychopath they know that ‘kill or be killed’ is a likely outcome. But can we just turn away? (As a man who has slept in his car and volunteered at the soup kitchen to get a square meal himself, I do trust Obama not to engage in military action for personal gain, though there are oil wells involved. At least that's different from Iraq.)

I’ve been watching NHK Japanese TV in English for a week. We’re finally getting the news about the people, not just the science or the politics or the economics. They now show crying. They no longer say that everything will be okay. People are dying for lack of medicine, heat, clean water, etc. People are running scared with no destination in mind. I’m sick of constructed scenes of self-control, sick of forced calm, I’m sick of lies told to avoid panic. "Situation normalizing" my ass. Pain, immense crushing pain, unbearable suffering, shock, radiation notwithstanding, that’s all there is. Go ahead, cry. Cry for a year if you want. It shouldn’t be easy to live when everything but life is gone. Hiroshima/Nagasaki revisited. Break down, collapse in a heap, we would all do that. No one can expect the Japanese to care for themselves without help. “Stiff upper lip, look on the bright side, the show must go on” is bull.

Then there’s the embarrassing local squalor. Berlusconi and his prostitutes, his prostitute girls and his prostitute political cronies, his prostitute laws to abolish The Law, to abolish public schools, hospitals, social services, environmental controls, the parliament, the courts, the constitution and fair and free elections. It’s hard even to imagine his ideal world, his mondo porno, would we all be forced to do the striptease? Would anything work? Would trucks still come to haul away the trash? Would he allow us a bowl of gruel if we’re good worker ants in his factories? He said once that he doesn’t ever expect to die, but if he does, who does he think will carry on his folly? The answer is in a book by George Orwell called 1984. This is Italy 1984, now and always.

So, after a week of scirocco winds, we’re blinded by the sand storm of lies, false information, idiotic expert hypotheses, propaganda, conflicting scenarios, threats, insults, loud rumbling sounds, muffled cries for help, invisible death particles of unknown potency, and we stumble around lost when all we want is to find the eye of the storm. The ‘I’ of the storm. But it keeps moving, dodging us. Trickster never sleeps.

Happy trials, Martin

Bad Moon Rising – John Fogerty

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.