FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Zombied

My hands are curved, poised above the keyboard. I’m staring at a document, blank except for the cursor that’s blinking to the rhythm of an Annie Lennox song, “Love is a Stranger.” My eyes are focused on this small vertical mark that at other times, could be a soporific. Just not now. Because the Lennox lyrics are harsh.

It’s savage and it’s cruel
It shines like destruction
Comes in like a flood
And it seems like religion
It’s noble and it’s brutal
It distorts and deranges
And it wrenches you up
And you’re left like a zombie

This is love but it could be the tune of our times, as harsh as the world in which we live.

I come to this page, thinking about what usually brings me here—war and injustice. Often, I arrive with the first paragraph at my fingertips. But right now, I’m overwhelmed. There is so much information—too much—and I don’t know what to do with it. I give it a try:

Popular revolts in the Middle East.

Uprisings here to protect workers’ rights.

War on the OTHER in occupied countries.

War on the middle and under classes at home.

Bankster bailouts and bankster bonuses.

Elimination or slashing of programs that aid our most vulnerable.

Extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest.

Unemployment.

Home foreclosures.

Loss/lack of health care.

Corporate personhood.

Voter fraud.

Politicians whose empathy is for Wall Street.

Unfathomable debt.

Unfathomable military spending.

A failed political system.

Despair.

Images loop through my mind, accompanied by adjectives like: reprehensible, unconscionable, destructive, and catastrophic, and nouns like: carnage, poverty, disparity, and death. I can almost smell blood and burning flesh. My reaction to this is primitive. If I were in a therapeutic situation, asked to act my feelings, I might throw a tantrum, pitch a fit, wail like a toddler, and then curl to a fetal position.

I think of historical expressions of hopelessness, those haunting words of Nez Perce Chief Joseph: “Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

I have on my computer a picture of a little girl from Gaza, her body burned by white phosphorous, a chemical sold to Israel by the U.S. for use against Palestinians. I look at the photograph and see Kim Phuc, the nine-year old Vietnamese girl who was severely burned during a napalm attack on her village, the shot that became THE image of atrocity, a picture whose authenticity was challenged by Richard Nixon. What did he think napalm was—a “smart” weapon, targeting only someone with a gun pointed at an American troop?

Today, most Americans don’t see the realities of war. Instead corporate media outlets interview guests who out shout each other, ironically, over topics like civility among Congressmen and women. Or they offer assessments of Charlie Sheen’s behavior.

I think of the adage, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” That communication/negotiation transcends artillery/violence. We understand the righteousness of this, however American exceptionalism now dictates the inverse: WMD are more potent than the pen.

Might makes right. US foreign policy is the lawless law. U.S. interests in any region of the world are more important than the welfare of the people born there, the desecration of a culture, a civilization, the environment, and the savaging of a society.

Missy Beattie is still obsessing. Reach her at missybeat@gmail.com

 

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail