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It is December 8, 2012, the 32nd anniversary of the day John Lennon died (a date generally forgotten now), and the 11th year of the Terror Wars. I have passed from middle age to old age during these wars, and, with only thirteen days remaining to come to terms with Al Qaeda’s Final Ultimatum, I am now preparing to dissolve into a dew.
Of course, it’s always possible that President Schwarzzenegger, or Secretary Giuliani, or Homeland Security Director O’Reilly, will devise some compromise behind the scenes, though, frankly, I am doubtful. Once the nuclear genie was let out of the bag, sixty seven years ago (the year of my birth), I don’t think we ever could have put it back. You know the old joke, don’t you? Earth is a wonderful place–except for all the Earthmen!
We long ago dispensed with calling it a War on Terror. The preposition and abstract noun were far too cumbersome for our younger generation. In fact, since lowering the draft age to 16, we’ve found more and more of our ADD-afflicted (though nevertheless brave) young soldiers gingerly slurring their words in that way they’re fond of doing: “The Terr’wars, they say, smiling endearlingly.
I’m not sure there’s much value in putting down my final thoughts here, though it gives me a little literary peace. I still like constructing somewhat apt phrases”a stubborn habit from another time, when a background in the Liberal Arts was not cause for investigation. I’m going to bury this in the little time capsule I’ve constructed; an alien in my own time, I can only write for aliens now.
The conjunction of the Peak Oil crisis and the Winter Attacks of ,09 destroyed the world economy and saw the immediate imposition of the long-prepared and expected martial law in the C.C. (Coalition Community, of course; no one talks any longer of the United States, Britain or Israel). When Tehran was destroyed by a thermonuclear holocaust in Febuary, 2010, the C.C. blamed the internal struggle in the Islamic world, the endless conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. Nevertheless, the C.C.’s citizens were assured that “retaliation by misguided Islamists was impossible; that our Star Wars defenses would shield us from the Holy Crescent missiles, and that our ever-expanding Homeland Security matrix rendered the so-called “suitcase bombs science fiction fantasies.
Al Qaeda bided its time for a year, and the C.C.’s WMP (Willing Majority of Patriots) believed we had finally broken the back of the resistance. Some of us with longer memories began to remind the many teary-eyed WMP members among us that we had heard that song before, too often. We were, of course, shouted down; some of us were killed off, “disappeared”, died mysteriously of mystery illnesses, and the long list of “Fallen Heroes” continued to be read on evening broadcasts, except now, of course, PBS devoted a solemn hour as Gwen Ifill read and the numerous faces flashed before us.
Al Qaeda struck last year, on the winter solstice. Birmingham in Britain, Haifa in Israel and San Francisco were struck with the “fictional suitcase bombs”. An hour before the simultaneous strikes, Al Zawahiri appeared on Al Jazeera and on networks around the world. Emotionless, he assured the world that three nuclear attacks would occur within the hour. He repeated Al Qaeda’s persistent demands: that the C.C. withdraw all military forces and civilian support from the Middle East; that Israel withdraw to its pre-1967 borders; that the C.C. desist in its support of Middle East dictators and puppet regimes. Then he added the kicker: A series of second, much larger, “suitcase bombs” had already been placed in C.C. cities. Unless the terms of the Final Ultimatum were met, the bombs would be detonated in exactly one year. Armageddon, he added, was around the corner. And Muslims, he smiled ineffably, would be happy to make it happen.
Of course, a large number of Christians and Jews were also happy to make it happen. The few of us who were secret Secularists (we dared not call ourselves Humanists any longer) had long since realized that the three Abrahamic daughter religions were all based on an obvious death-wish. They all worshipped Death (the way the ancient Hindus worshipped Shiva and Kali), finding their fulfillment in an imagined world beyond.
“Imagine there’s no heaven,” John Lennon had written, “It’s easy if you try,/ No hell below us,/ Above us only sky,/ Imagine all the people/ living for today…”
Nevertheless, it wasn’t so easy to imagine. Certainly not easier to imagine than pie-in-the-sky, 72 virgin angels, harp-playing cherubs, or the Second Temple rebuilt according to Masonic principles!
We have been ticking towards doomsday for the past year, while the factions in the C.C. have debated the wisdom of risking “nuclear winter by immediately laying down a carpet of nuclear bombs all over the Middle East” (O’Reilly), or, evacuating major population centers first, heading for the hills, then laying down a carpet of nuclear bombs all over the Middle East (Hillary Clinton). A Kennedy School of Government Fellow informed Hillary that the evacuation scheme sounded a bit like the Mayans abandoning their population centers soon after the arrival of the Europeans. Michael Moore immediately seized upon this and he has been busy with his new documentary, “The Mayan Countdown.”
Moore has been hawking his new documentary with the ominous revelation that the Mayan Calendar ended on the winter solstice, 2012, exactly the date the second series of suitcases were scheduled to explode.
I have been watching these goings-on with a mixture of aplomb and disdain. I’ve been playing my old LP’s on my old stereo phonograph, glad, as ever, that I invested in the diamond-head needle decades ago, and glad that my solar panels allow me a couple of hours of peace in the evening, in my octogonal study in the woods.
“Imagine there’s no countries”, Lennon sings. “It isn’t hard to do,/ Nothing to kill or die for,/ No religion too,/ Imagine all the people/ Living life in peace…”
I don’t know what flaw in the gene pool made it possible to kill off the best of us, but it seems we’ve brilliantly succeeded. Whom we don’t kill off, we shunt aside, while praising the worst, lionizing false leaders and empty suits, the brutal, vicious and base.
“Imagine no possessions,” he croons. “I wonder if you can,/ No need for greed or hunger,/ A brotherhood of man,/ Imagine all the people/ Sharing all the world…”
So I am saying to you, my aliens, if you should find this–my little introduction to this song; if you find the Long Playing record and can make sense of it, please know: we weren’t all crazy. The best of us were star-like–not in the cheapened word-sense we have made of things, but, really, tiny super novae who grasped the Infinite-Eternal, and then were gone.
You may say I’m a dreamer,
but I’m not the only one,
I hope some day you’ll join us,
And the world will live as one…
GARY CORSERI has published 2 novels, 2 poetry collections, the Manifestations anthology [edited], and his work has appeared at CounterPunch, Common Dreams, Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook and elsewhere. His dramas have been presented at PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org