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Anniversary Exchange - In the Shadow of Leaves
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Anniversary Exchange
(from the ABC's Foreign Correspondent guestbook)
Name: steve
Visit Time: 19:49:14 10 Sep, 2002 EST
September 11 will be a day that I will never forget. As I sat watching from relative in Melbourne I found myself crying and angry at the appaling loss of innocent life. It makes me angry when I read people justifing these attacks because of American foreign policy...

Name: Mezza
Visit Time: ? 10 Sep, 2002 EST

Dear Steve,
it is disappointing, after a whole year of repeating it, that people can't or won't understand. "Justify" is not the same as "explain".
People were asking (11/9/2002): "Why did it happen?"
Then when you say anything other than: "They are evil; they hate us because we are good.", you are accused of supporting them!
This thinking has killed millions over the last couple of thousand years (if not longer), causing untold suffering, destruction & waste as each side proclaims God or History or Righteousness is on their side. I've considered trying to shut all the dogmatic fanatic types of all ideologies/theologies into the world's largest high-security enclosure to let them beat each other to death with rocks while the people who can live together peaceably continue with their lives outside, but it seems impractical, alas.

Subject: Re: Anniversary Exchange
On Wed, 11 Sep 2002 14:41, Alex wrote:

> I liked that response. Very Henri Barbusse.

> The guy was French. In WW1.
> In Flanders. Wrote a book about people drowning (literally) in mud.
> Wrote, EXTREMELY CLEARLY of the average soldiers hatred of the
> politicos that put them there. Wrote that he wanted to see the
> politicos "locked in a cage naked, killing each other with lumps of
> wood." This was a sentiment echoed by Erich Maria Remarque in "All
> Quiet on the Western Front" ... again lumps of wood.
> Remarques book is very well known because of the film, and because
> of being burnt by Hitler. Personally, I found Barbusse' book to be better.
> Sadly not enough people have read either book, but I found the
> vitriol in your sentiments to be particularly reminiscent of the time.
> I personally, would gas the whole f...ing lot of them.

On 11 Sep 2002 at 16:02, MC Pye wrote:
>> Henri Barbusse?
>> Had a quick look up of his details -- he was born 1873, so in his forties
>> during The War To End Wars. Different to many of the young idealists so cruelly disillusioned during WWI.
[Here is a translation of his most famous book, Under Fire (Le Feu). See also a few notes on the group he was involved with after the Great War, Le Clarté, and his contribution personally to the art of World War I, and as an inspiration for others, e.g. the painter Otto Dix]

>> Interesting about lumps of wood. I originally (quite a while back)
>> had image of the hardliners in Palestine/Israel being walled off in
>> a rocky/sandy quarter, where large lumps of wood are rare & rocks in glut.
>> Have since broadened to fundamentalists of all descriptions, whether
>> communist of whichever faction, Hindu, Christian, 'economic
>> rationalist', etc. Whoever puts resulting truly awful human
>> suffering & destruction of natural world lower than some ideal.
>> Some suffering is virtually unavoidable without having a
>> "With Folded Hands") (Jack Williamson story about ultimate 'Nanny State') world.
>> Why in hell make it worse?
Amongst My First Reactions to sitting, glazed with horror & seeking a path through the pity, foreboding, terror, of the late-night 'adult themed' drama which unfolded across my television screen over the evening & early morning (here in Australia) of September 11th & 12th, 2001

The bitter ghosts of so many ruined cities now have their smoking mirror in the body of the United States. A sunny summer day is split by the hard rain of glass & rubble, a blue sky broken by smoke. How many shattered families in other cities will hold up faded photos, bloodied clothes and say "Do you see how it feels"?

Irony: woman interviewed on the New York street is saying 'we won't kill mothers and children' - do you think she's forgotten or she doesn't know?

But vengeance is a poison pleasure, I struggle to abjure it for the comparatively little injuries done to my land, my city, my home - that way starts the slide back down to tooth & claw; the little rolling stones down the scree slope that build into a tidal wave of rock killing & crushing. Justice is just us.

Here in small-hours Sydney the starry sky has clouded and cold rain is glazing the city. Here we are field mice in the grass while hounds attack a giant boar; our futures can be crushed in sideshow 'collateral damage'. Flicking across television -- CNN, ABC, BBC, radio reports -- is looking at a cracked mirror through a broken window. Heroism has happened today, a glint of gold always in the dirt & blood, a seed of hope like Mountain Ash that quickens in disasters - but life creates enough [disasters] without help. The maze of shadows deepens and we hope in fear that the kind & strong among us can keep their guiding lights to help us go beyond it, not back.

My friends' theories centre either on one of the USA's own anti-government /anti-corporate groups or a Middle Eastern-based one. Well organised & co-ordinated, striking some key points quickly before alerts can go out, then a follow-up to catch crowds, rescuers, &c. Very media-savvy. The recent assassination of the main Afghanistani anti-Taliban leader is now perhaps making a part of this pattern -- he might have been used as a rallying point against whoever is found to be responsible.

Suspect John Hunt/John Howe/Michael Howard/John Howard's visit might end early. Hope he doesn't get ideas - never did find out if that Olympic security Act got its sunset clause despite Ric Birch's personal assurance.

Will try to sleep now, and later work once more on my fossils of human fault & foible, justice struggling to be born.

Moodiness: frustrated frustrated

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