Wednesday, June 13, 2007


"Cry havoc," are the words that Shakespeare puts into Antony's mouth as he predicts bloodshed and ruin. It appears that the Middle East has adopted them as a mantra.

The Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah have embarked on such a breathtaking spate of self-mutilation that describing it as a civil war seems almost insufficient: this, ladies and gentlemen is a conflagration.

I'm watching CNN right now, and I just saw a man go sprinting by the camera, firing an AK-47 with stiff, unnatural-looking arms down the street at a group of other people waving flags. A man shoves a child out of the way as the gunman passes, maneuvering the youth towards the other side of the street. He keeps his body between the gunman and the child; hunched and panicked. Now I'm looking at what can only be described as a pitched battle; dark-clothed fighters moving towards the enemy with the curious, crouching gait of soldiers as they pour round after round into an unseen enemy.

Hamas, the Islamist faction, appears to be winning. They wear a lot of black. Fatah fighters also wear a lot of black. I'd say that it must be difficult for them not to shoot their own people, but they seem to be managing just fine.

Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq are ferociously attacking each other's places of worship, demolishing mosque after mosque after mosque. I can't tell the sides apart on TV. I'd say that it must be difficult for them not to blow up their own mosques, but they seem to be managing just fine.

This is chaos; bloody and furious and entirely mindless. Past a certain point, there really isn't any cognitive activity involved in violence like this, just a perfect certainty cemented in the brain by adrenaline and terror and desperation that the whole world needs to die today.

There are times when we propose clever solutions. There are times when we critically analyze the problems and issues that lead to hellish violence like this. I can't; not just yet. I'm still too busy digesting the enormity of what amounts to three (3) civil wars happening at the same time in the most incendiary place on Earth.

I am, in fact, pretty furious myself.

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