As you probably know by now, I don’t mind making a fool of myself by expressing strong opinions on complex subjects with inadequate information to rely on.
I long ago accepted my status as a bewildered bystander in life’s mystifying parade.
And I am as bewildered now as I have ever been.
A few people may have noticed that I haven’t produced a blog in several days. One reason, of course, is that we have had a death in the family and I have been caught up in the ritual of grieving that ensued.
But there’s another reason. What am I to make of the wretched state of affairs in the world? The affair in Libya, for instance?
I watch the TV screen and see the words:
FRENCH JETS DESTROY FOUR GADDAFI TANKS
And I wonder how many people were in those tanks. Did they have parents, sisters, brothers, children? Why were they in those tanks? Did they have any choice?
I wonder how many will die before it is all sorted out. And what they think they are fighting for.
They tell me Gaddafi is a monster, who is massacring innocent civilians, and my instinctive response is KILL HIM! BOMB THE BASTARD! BLOW UP HIS CITIES AND SLAUGHTER HIS SUPPORTERS!
And then in the stillness of the night, as I listen to the grandfather clock strike the hour, I am haunted by visions of charred bodies and mangled children, screaming women and fleeing crowds who have no understanding of the dispute responsible for the violence engulfing them…
And I wonder why it has to be this way.
Outside my window, I hear cats screeching, another evidence of the failure of living creatures to get along with one another. To live is to fight, it seems.
Meanwhile in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Afghanistan… too many places to list … people are killing each other, torturing each other, raping and mutilating each other…
They are doing it, they say, in the name of democracy, or freedom, or religious conviction… or whatever.
From my murky perspective, it looks as if the Shiite majority in the Middle East is trying to shake off the tyranny of the Sunni minority, which puts the United States between the Devil and the deep blue sea because their staunchest allies in the region are Sunni. But that may well be a mirage. There may be something else at work here, something far more complex, far more sinister, some hidden agenda that is not for me to know.
All I know is that in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Jerusalem and all of the other centers of civilization as we know it, educated, socialized human beings are racking their brains to come up with new and more devastating ways to take human life, more devious strategies to subvert justice and freedom, more rapacious endeavors to enrich themselves at the expense of their hapless victims…
And I think of the warning in the Bible:
But God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Don’t these plotters and schemers know that they, too, must die, and that no one knows the hour of their death?
As some wise man said, you can’t take it with you.
So how do I make sense of the carnage and deprivation that so many of the earth’s people must endure?
As the poet Edward Rowland Sill prayed:
O Lord, be merciful to me, a fool.