Friday, July 27, 2007

Notes from behind the Orange Curtain pt. 2

Tonight Madame and I took our son to see an old friend of ours over at a place in Yorba Linda called Java Joe's (mental note: there are thankfully a few coffee houses left doing live entertainment, and if you like folkies, Mark Hermann is well worth checking out). Brendan's a bit out of commission these days when it comes to music - tendonitis is one of those injuries that simply takes a lot of time for recovery. He's in good spirits though, and still hangs out with other local musicians. Hopefully next trip back he'll be gigging again. It was good to catch up.

Haven't checked out too many of the blogs, but did stop by Nezua's and saw his post, Freedom is slavery pt. 2. Seems that the gargantuan US Embassy in Baghdad is at least in part a product of slave labor. I can't say I'm terribly surprised. Nothing the US Empire perpetrates these days really shocks me much - merely fuels a slow-burning anger that simmers beneath the surface. What Nez says here is primo:

We are witnessing, in slow motion, a massive and compound crime against humanity—all under the reign of the Decider. From stolen elections, to the negligence (at least) and cover-up of the 9/11 crime, to the lied-up rush to invade and bomb and kill over half a million people; to torturing humans and lying about that; to sexual horrors and crimes committed against Iraqis in our prisons that are as of yet revealed to the public, to spitting on the Constitution, to secret prisons, Government spying on citizens—and now kidnapping and slavery...this is a collection of evil so massive that the only good I can take out of it is imagine the days after we rebound from this. I hope I am alive to see it. I believe in humankind enough to think that at that time (rayos de luz del Sexto Sol) we will see a new era of people power and truth and a celebration of life, and all her joys. Rather than a devotion to the dark magiks of murder, greed, powerlust, deceit, and sadism.
Hold on to your seats and your hearts. This ride ain't over.
Jaded as I am, I too have just enough of a soft-spot for my fellow humans to believe that something good will emerge from the ashes of our current dark age - we've been witness to the tentative first steps over the last couple decades as folks have sought out and found the means to actually live together autonomously and sustainably, sometimes fighting the machine or mal gobierno (think of the Seattle WTO protests of 1999), sometimes discarding the machine, sometimes both (Zapatistas come to mind). While reading Nez's post, I thought of a dream I had about ten months ago:
I was basically walking, grocery items in hand, and stumbled upon a riot. Think of the images of the late 1990s WTO protests. People were all over the place. A number of men were taking whatever items they could find to smash windows and break down doors to buildings that I suppose had until recently housed the workings - financial and political - of what many of us consider "civilization."
What was most striking was the vibe of the whole scenario, as well as my reaction to what was going on. The atmosphere was not especially angry or intense. I saw no violence to speak of. In fact there was almost a block party element to the proceedings. Near where I was standing, right in the middle of the street, some couches that had apparently been looted at some point in the recent past were being occupied by various people conversing - young and old, male and female, various ethnicities, some quite counterculture in their outward appearance, others appearing as if they had until recently had a stake in whatever system had once existed. There was no traffic noise to be heard, although there were plenty of cars to be found parked. Whatever law enforcement or military presence that I happened upon seemed minimal and stifled. I wondered if they were even still on some payroll or were merely standing around out of habit.
My own reaction to the whole thing was nonchalant - this was apparently the norm (perhaps explaining why I was walking rather than driving as I usually do). I merely went about my route. Whatever constituted "western civilization" in that particular urban corner of America had fallen it appeared, and it seemed as if life went on.
That dream or vision continues to haunt me, of course, but in a good way. Life will go on. It won't be paradise - just humanity making use of the remnants of what had been and moving on to something else. The potential for that "something else" to be mostly good is what keeps me going. It's still winter in America (as Gil Scott-Heron once wrote) - actully winter all over the globe - but spring will come. Those first tentative signs of new life are already there if one merely stops for a second and takes a good look. Until then...

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