Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The human bomb: The destructive principle inheres in us, whether we know it or not—this is the persistent message of the tragedians.

A MUST READ from André Glucksmann:

For half a century, we fashioned our peace, both external and internal, according to Sartre’s fragile axiom: “The atomic bomb is not available to just anyone; the crazy person [who unleashed Armageddon] would have to be a Hitler.”

Great confusion understandably resulted when this certainty disintegrated before our eyes, exploded by human bombs in Manhattan. An annihilating power is available today, or will soon be available, to just about anyone; the destructive will of an enemy without borders, equivalent to Nazi dreams, targets civilians: this combination amounts to a do-it-yourself Hitler kit. How can one make sense of, how can one neutralize, a human bomb?
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The worst of the storm has barely passed, and one is busy “moving on”—renovating dead-end roads, regilding the clocks of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. We turn away from reality and its truths, which are neither easy to live with nor pleasant to talk about. Before long, repression is complete.

Will repression overtake us again as we get further from the revelation of 9/11? “
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We have entered another world. The threat of a new Ground Zero, small or great, advances behind a mask. The human bomb claims the power to strike anywhere, by any means, at any time, spreading his nocturnal threat over the globe, invisible and thus unpredictable, clandestine and thus untraceable. The terrorist without borders makes us think about him always, everywhere. Without an accidental delay on the tracks—just a few minutes—the pulverization of two trains in Madrid, at the Atocha station, would have claimed 10,000 victims, three times more than in Manhattan. Then there was London. Whose turn is next? Each of us waits for the next explosion.
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In Iraq, then, what rages is a war of terror against civilians, not a war of independence against an occupying foreign army and its indigenous military supporters. Vietnam is far away; those who miss Woodstock forget that the world has changed in 40 years.
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The fight to avoid the Somalization of the planet is just beginning, and it will probably dominate the twenty-first century. If they resist the sirens of isolationism, Americans will learn from their mistakes. Europe will either resolve to help them or abandon itself to the care of the petro-czar Vladimir Putin, who stands ready to police the old continent, while preaching antiterrorist terrorism, with his devastation of Chechnya as a case in point. The borderless challenge of emancipated warriors allows us little leisure for procrastination.
Read the whole article.

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