Demonic Tales from Beyond are No Longer Fiction: A Lament for Us All

by NORMAN SIMMS September 6, 2014

I think I have watched enough television news and u-tube videos:  Men being beheaded, women and girls sold into slavery, prisoners buried alive, Christians crucified, and Jews on city streets in Europe and America being spat upon, vilified and punched up. 

I can no longer see the world as I once did, or at least tried to see it: as a place amenable to discussion, debate and negotiations.  It once seemed possible to imagine that things would get better, if not tomorrow or next week, at least within a few years, even if not within  my own life time.

 But no more. 

Unless our leaders wake up, unless our intellectuals and journalists wise up, and until all of us stop sitting around and waiting for something good to happen, it will never happen.

Is this alarmist?  Of course, it is.  We are living in a nightmare.

Is this extreme? Yes, but unfortunately not exaggerated. 

Yet it is not just a matter of political differences and ideological confrontation.  It is a question of whether we can continue to believe in the efficacy of western civilization, of Judeo-Christian morality, of basic common decency and shared humanity.  Or whether we have finally to recognize the existential dangers and dig in to resist: but not merely in a passive way, in an active, collective set of actions, to assert our right to live as we know we should.

Stand up and act like human beings, like civilized men and women.... as  though we actually had faith in ourselves once again.

It is time to set aside petty differences.  Let the fine, subtle nuances of our common beliefs rest for a while and let us unite in a concerted way to protect all we hold dear to our hearts and souls.  There is time enough afterwards to deal with the questions of how best to better ourselves.

For there is more at stake than merely staying alive and safe in the face of those forces let loose into the world that declare openly their wish to destroy our towns and cities and nations, to kill those we love and those we can tolerate.  The challenge is to what we can see as true and real and substantial in our common experiences versus things that have always seemed unimaginable, unspeakable and inconceivable.  What Joseph Conrad's Mr Kurtz shouted out at the end of his reason in The Heart of Darkness-the horror! the horror!

Our Hollywood fantasies and television fictions have tried to frighten us for entertainment with zombies and vampires.  However, such imaginary monsters are nothing compared to the likes of ISIS and Boko Haram and Hamas.  Edgar Alan Poe's tales from the crypt and beyond are too refined to match the images and tales coming out of the newly proclaimed caliphates in northern Iraq or Nigeria.  Alfred Hitchcock's films are too soft and soothing put next to the videos of journalists and missionaries abused, humiliated and executed in a cold heartless act of fanaticism. 

What can we do when respectable magazines like TIME or newspapers like The New York Times, networks like CNN and BBC, or professional medical journal like The Lancet are willing eagerly to disseminate the most outrageous lies, slanders and errant nonsense about the Blood Libel, harvesting of organs, child-devouring Jewish monsters? How many times must the lies about little Mohammed Duras being deliberately shot by IDF soldiers, or acts of genocide in Gaza, or another piece of self-evident nonsense be exposed, retracted, denied-but never with the same intensity with which those myths were circulated and repeated ad nauseum?

Is it too hard for the West to lift itself up out of the Slough of Despond, the lethargy of self-willed ignorance and the endless moral vacation from responsibility?  Have we all forgotten how to confront evil, speak of it as it really is, and decide to get rid of the wickedness that erupts from the lowest depths of depravity?  Have the two-hundred kidnapped Nigerian girls been comforted by hash-key signs? Do the terrorists tremble when government leaders waggle their fingers and say: Naughty, naughty! 

Enough of red lines drawn on computer-generated maps.

Enough of fine-sounding speeches and rhythmical pieties. 

Enough of bogus promises and warnings to do precisely what is never done.

Though I am at the very last edges of hope that there will be anything positive and strong done to stop the madness from engulfing the world, there is not even today the luxury of despair.  We cannot hide in our dark closets to weep or withdraw ourselves into the shadowland of empty dreams.  Not to do something is bad enough.  To pretend that orotund oratory will rescue us from oblivion is worse. 

The nightmare is already too real.  Much too real.

Norman Simms has just published the first volume of a new book, Jews in an Illusion of Paradise: Dust and Ashes (Cambridge Scholars Publisher.  Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK).  It is available from the publisher as well as and other online bookseller sites.  The second volume may be out before the end of this year    

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