eliot, fawkes, bin laden

abject villainy? a reasonable retrotrend.
there's nothing like social media to hyper-intensely explicate how temporal situations repeat. a friend had this as his status:
was osama bin laden simply
playing a role? (photo: @swanksalot)

a penny for the old guy

shape without form, shade without color
paralyzed force, gesture without motion...
those who have crossed...
to death's other kingdom
remember us - if at all - not as lost
violent souls, but only
as the hollow men
the stuffed men...

this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world ends
not with a bang but with a whimper

- t. s. eliot (1925)

the original "old guy" from this poem was the british anarchist and famous attempted arsonist guy fawkes. the parallels been his life and death and that of bin laden are notable, and he may make a good half-forgotten folk hero someday (much to the chagrin of the nationalistic old guard).

few may agree that these two were good, but many are sympathetic to the notion that they stood against a great (and possibly greater) evil.

to raze a building in the name of a religion is an unredeemably banal action. bin laden and fawkes both got that wrong. but there is a take-home message.

both of these crazies lived in a world in which was safely in the grips of an elitist minority. and this continues: bin laden dead or alive, the world remains safe for the financial elite everywhere - they are safe from economic troubles, safe from terrorism, safe from ever having to work to increase their wealth. they are safe from facing the consequences of their lifestyle on the third world.

what have our famed arsonists and terrorists done wrong? plenty, and almost everything. killing, threatening and getting involved in religion. bin laden, for one, got his anti-western message all wrong. true, neocapitalist practices are a main cause of global starvation and perpetual economic depression in the third world. but killing people will only make him the bad guy. better methods must be engaged.

let's look for a moment at what fawkes and bin laden got right. first, they recognized that nothing they had done had in any way affected the "security" of the worlds they lived in. and then they did bigger things. i might suggest in times like this that you don't have to be crazy to engage in civil disobedience. maybe you just have to be informed.

we have silent hunger strike on our hands the world over, and all the western powers can think to do is to stabilize the oil-producing arab countries. wars in iraq, afghanistan and libya are just good-old police brutality on a global scale.

the world is in protest, and bin laden simply chucked the first brick (and got the cops called). but maybe more bricks need to be thrown. and maybe less people need to die.


  1. Dang dude, you have great prose. definitely inspiring post.

  2. great. kind of vaguely insidious, yeah?