The mist of violence has cleared and I’m still pretty angry about thugs and guns and the vulnerability of artists. I’m ashamed to admit it but for the first time since the deadly farce of the western world’s war-on-terror, I actually felt a jitter of pro-violence-lust running through my veins as I watched the Charlie Hebdo tragedy unfold on BBC News. Was I the only one to yearn for a hero to save us from the bad guy? Is there no French Dirty Harry out there that could throw a storm on the perpetrator’s souls and rip evil apart with a forty-four magnum only to ask upon completion: Well, punk, do you feel lucky! (Boom!)
“These are artists,” I thought about the dead in that Paris office. They are thinkers and talkers and maybe wankers. They are dudes gifted with a very special communication skill. What happened to them made me scream in my third-eye inner soul, a painful scream. Then I thought of Salman Rushdie. I thought of the inquisition. I thought of Titanic, the German version of Charlie Hebdo, in which, btw, I was once mentioned when I produced my play Birdgames, hence I feel a special connection to satirical smart-ass magazines. But that is most certainly neither here nor there. By Friday my head started to clear and I realised that this act of “barbarism”, as the French Prez called it, might turn out to be something bigger than what we’ve all become accustomed to as we traverse useless-eating lives with consumption and wars of choice. But what kind of ‘big’ could this be?
Protesting with Apples.
It’s time to admit when I get something wrong. This past weekend proved that even I, your humble worst-writer, dear worst-reader, can get something wrong. In my post Poor vs Poor I said that protests don’t matter. After watching the Paris tragedy unfold, I’ve since concluded that there may be times when protests do matter–more on that in a sec. I mean, come on, did anyone expect those crowds in the French capital on Sunday? I remember being in Paris in the 90s and during my trip a convoy of tractor-trailers dumped a gazillion tons of Apples right in the middle of Place de la République. It was followed by what seemed like thousands of regular farmers who were showing their eurowasteland solidarity with the apple farmers and they all marched and closed down roads and metro stations–which were at the time my only source of travel. The experience taught me 1) to navigate through Paris on foot and 2) that in the US general strikes are illegal. And get this. This past weekend, while France was showing the world what humanity is capable of–as opposed to #americant showing the world how humanity (over)reacts–my wife and mother were in the middle of it all. Seriously.
Mom sees Paris.
Although we battled on Thursday in the aftermath of Wednesday about proceeding with our plans, we didn’t cancel the trip that would show my mother Paris for the first time in her life. My wife had been planning it for months as a way to help consul my mother in her mourning. Terror attack here or there, by Friday morning they both were on a train, as scheduled. Even though I was planning to utilise the weekend alone to worst-write, I spent most of it watching the drama unfold and wondering if I sent the beloved women of my life into a war-zone. Luckily all went as planned. Mom saw the Eiffel tower. She got to take a wonderful dinner cruise on the Seine. She shopped on the Champs-Élysées. The only problem they had was, once Sunday rolled around, getting their train back to Cologne. They had no chance of taking the metro on Sunday. The French capital had been shut down by more than a bunch of apple farmers. Luckily, since my wife’s company is based in Paris, she knows her way around the city better than I do. So they had to navigate by foot the three kilometre trek to Gare du Nord. They made it about seven minutes before their train was to depart. In the mayhem my wife even adopted a British couple along the way as they were caught in the same tourist predicament. All in all, it was a great weekend. It was a dream come true for dear old mother.
Which brings me to a hypothesis: Americans don’t know how to protest. Nor do we know how to strike. Why is that? Heck, above and beyond dumping apples all over their capital, the French are even capable of dumping shit on it too. These wondrous acts of French protest, which obviously have an effect on how a country is run, are not conceivable in the United States. Why is that! Is it because the US is a place where its people want to be ruled and France is place where its people want to rule?
The Code of Federal Regulations declares “encouraging others to refuse to work, or to participate in a work stoppage” by prisoners to be a “High Severity Level Prohibited Act” and authorizes solitary confinement for periods of up to a year for each violation. The California Code of Regulations states that “[p]articipation in a strike or work stoppage”, “[r]efusal to perform work or participate in a program as ordered or assigned”, and “[r]ecurring failure to meet work or program expectations within the inmate’s abilities when lesser disciplinary methods failed to correct the misconduct” by prisoners is “serious misconduct” under §3315(a)(3)(L), leading to gang affiliation under CCR §3000. –Source
Ok. A strike for higher wages and better working conditions isn’t the same as mass protest. Or is it? At the least, being able to perform both means that Das Volk at least knows how to come together to say SOMETHING. And. According to latest news reports as many as two million people were in Paris on Sunday. Isn’t that a record of some sort? Does it equal the Arab Spring protests? What about the 2003 anti-war protests where the biggest crowd was in Italy? (Here, btw, is a list of mass gatherings if you’re interested.) With that in mind, allow me to focus on my beloved united mistakes.
How many people protested during the Occupy Wall Street thing? A few thousand? Heck, more #americants gather for ball games then they do for political games. But not all is lost. There was one mass gathering in America’s recent history that might, in some way, equal what just happened in Paris. Ironically it was organised by American Muslims, The Million Man March. At the least, it need be worst-said, Americans do not know how to communicate as a whole but France might have just offered an example of how to change that. And so, the American way, The Dream, once again is forced to ride bitch in the backseat of the world stage. Add to that the fact there were no US dignitaries or politicians in the Paris march! Wow. But I digress.
Vive la France.
Indeed, dear worst-reader, protests do matter. But they only matter if the essence of the protest is about something good. Hence the recent anti-muslim protests in Dresden, which I’ll get to in a sec. I was deeply moved by France’s response to the horror. It was a moment that reminded me when asked what place is my favourite in all of Eurowasteland I usually respond thus: after living as an expat for a quarter century the only place I’d rather be is back home near the Chesapeake Bay. But if you were to ask me what European country I admire the most my answer would be France. Why? Well, that’s another worst-post. But in short. My reasoning goes back to what little I’ve read about revolution, hereditary monarchies, world wars, etc. France seems to have dealt with all the above in a way no other country has. But I suppose that is a can of worms I should try to keep closed for now.
I no speak French.
Let’s summarise how America reacts to the ramifications and/or blowback of politics that is in such contrast to the French. First. There is never any soul searching or anything cognitive when it comes to dealing with our politics and especially our foreign policy. All we ever do is react and we do so in the name of money, oil and empire. The proof is in the pudding. Second. Anyone wondering, hypothetically, of course, what would America do if a bunch of terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of lower Manhattan? Would we protest out on the streets and demand Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité? No. Of course not. We don’t even know what those French words are. Well, maybe we know something about liberty but our version does feel a bit skewed these days. Equality? You mean equality in the sense of race and/or wealth? Yeah, right. And as far as fraternity goes, we only know it as another form of baby-sitting-institution at universities where a nation of infants can be maintained and nurtured to live life in the blissfully ignorant realm of the sophomoric.
Indeed. Dear worst-reader. When America responds to horror we do it with more horror. We immediately reach into our chest of mass murdering gadgets and start a fucking war. We also suspend Habeas Corpus, one of the pillars of our founding as a nation and thereby open an illegal prison camp to house unjustly held “combatants” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We then continue degrading what is already a degraded justice system (because it is owned by neo-liberal politics) and turn over the running of the world’s largest economy to the military with the enactment of The Patriot Act–which, simply by its name, means that the dumb-downed of Nation won’t question it. Then we proceed to begin the single largest government expansion in our history by creating new agencies aptly titled “HOMELAND” and “TSA” which in turn eases the process of militarising the police and making people take off their shoes in order to board airplanes. Oh, and let’s not forget the hoarding of the treasury by war-mongers so that a few can profit from killing hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Arabs thereby exerted full spectrum control over the natural resources of this earth and even squashing the dreams of fledgling countries trying to build their way out of the rubble of the cold war. And then…
Stop. Breath. Pause.
Ok. I’ve spread delectable butter over France and vilified my beloved home enough. As glorious as the French people were on Sunday, the recent horror followed by a magnificent display of human solidarity was hijacked by the scum of the earth. See pic at top of this post. Yes, the ruling elites of Eurowasteland really thought that no one would see what they are up to. The pic above makes it all quite obvious. They are hugging NOT because of the horror created by terrorists but over the power that this will give them. They are hugging in relief that maybe now, finally, they can start to take blind action like the US has done–and thereby start profiting, like the US, from war, death and destruction. Merkel is whispering sweet nothings into the continents luscious melting Brie ears where the white man can finally relax about being white and smell is own garlic armpits as the rest of the world, mostly in the form of immigrants that have come to continental shores because of Europe’s horrific colonising past, can face its wrath. For it must be said, dear worst-reader, Xenophobia is a catch-phrase now that certain peoples of Europe are waking up to certain realities. Whether it’s protests in Dresden, which are for hating people, or strikes in Greece, which are against the casting out of young people from society because old people won’t pay their dues. These people, these politicians, will do nothing but cause more havoc. Thanks to horror. (I guess.)
That’s not saying that I don’t like Angela Merkel or this rather obscure and odd French president. But I do worst-wonder if they are setting up their own Euro Patriot Act right now? The chants of freedom of speech, cloaked as Je Suis Charlie have been already drowned in Europe’s history of hate-mongering. I’ve been living in Eurowasteland far too long and I know what these people are, what they are capable of. Living over here has also shown me exactly where America and other geo-politics have their origins. Whether we’re talking about colonies, slave trade, greed and exploitation, I know where it all stems from. Europe is truly the centre of modern world history. It is also the cesspool where humanities darkest nightmares have brewed and GERMANated (pun intended). Only in the destruction of the idear that is Europe has anything decent ever evolved from it. America is a good example of this–even though it’s currently heading down the same history as its parent. And what about India? Or the various countries in Asia? All former colonies that have found a way to free themselves of pure Euro evil. Which brings me to Das Volk.
As Eurowasteland rulers fill backrooms of government centres to extend power over the horror, they will do so by avoiding the obvious, as Europe has always done. They will not face things like the xenophobia that is part of the horror, that is what made the newest three French martyrs. The reason I call it Eurowasteland is because I am one of the millions and millions of immigrants who happen to make it to these shores. I can say without haste, without remorse, without pause: if you ain’t born here to the white Euro soul, you ain’t gettin’ in. Of course, Europeans would argue that it is possible (to get in). But they only say that because of how aware they are of taxation and income redistribution that pays for it. Yes, dear worst-reader. Even though I am a privileged American immigrant in Europe I am not Euro-blind to reality. And now it’s time to keep an eye on what Merkel & Co. will do.
The Horror. The Horror. The Horror. -Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), Apocalypse Now
Good luck suckers. Rant on.