by jay janson
This American expat defector to Majority Mankind watched the traditional Fourth of July fireworks display against the New York skyline lit up in an evening sky made red with clouds of white-grey smoke arising from the sites of the explosions with traces of falling flaming yellow embers as ever new varied colored tracers were shot up toward the heavens.
It reminded me of watching years ago on TV the captivating, in macabre beauty of light, shadow and sound, the spectacular US night time bombing of Baghdad. Baghdad, that ancient exotic marvel in the cradle of human civilization, Mesopotamia, ‘the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers,’ where the first cities on Earth were created. A bombing initiated supposedly because Saddam Hussein, once President Reagan’s supported ally in invading Iran for eight years, and earlier helped into office as maximum leader of Iraq by CIA, had refused to step down. Shades of the incomprehensible. A political entity only two and a half centuries old of sundry nationalities founded by English and other European colonists, bombing away intentionally the infrastructure of irreplaceable treasures of the history of Man’s earliest discoveries in science and art.
As I watched the flashing lights and listened to the booming explosions, not of missiles and bombs, but fireworks, I could not but feel the terror of the citizens of an innocent city hit over and over again, and not just for a half-hour of fun, but over days of mortal fear for one’s children and oneself.
As the show reached its climax and the explosions doubled and cascaded rolling like thunder, I remembered Noam Chomsky describing what it was like to witness the US carpet bombing of the Plain of Jars in Laos, and how the name “Operation Rolling Thunder” had been given to the aerial bombardment campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from March 1965 through October 1968. America cruelly carpet bombed, or saturation bombed, Cambodia and Korea as well.
When a single especially loud firework banged like a clap of thunder amplified by the canyons in between the streets and avenues of Manhattan, something inside me shuttered as I fought back thoughts of how one could possibly be brave and tolerate being close to a bomb or missile detonation. Fear of loud noises is innate, and as uncontrollable as the innate fear of falling.
As the war sounding fireworks rumbled on, the mindbogglingly long list of countries wherein citizens experienced the frightening swoosh, crack and boom of US heavy weapons delivery from land, sea and/or aerial assault or covertly planted explosive devices only since end of WW II, names began clicking off automatically: (Would not want to be undemocratic and leave any of my people out), Greece, Korea, Guatemala, Congo, Iran, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Sudan, Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and now Syria. And not a fair representation, for some nations like those of the Korean, Iraqi and Indochinese suffered inestimable days, months and years of heavy genocidal bombardment, and the Congolese, Guatemalans, Haitian, Mexicans have never stopped suffering the consequences of US military interventions.
Ho hum, fireworks onlooking and listening celebrating neighbors are finishing their beers and turning away as the last small arms fire sounds peter out. Can’t help wondering if a few others might have also been reminded of that day we watched Baghdad burn so beautifully – wondering if any have uneasy feelings about America eventually being brought to justice for so much firing on the poor overseas, as Martin Luther King Jr. cried out, “for maintenance of unjust predatory investments.”
Interestingly, a recent careful study has found that only twenty-one of today’s nations were never invaded by the English. How many nations have escaped any homicidal criminal activity by the cousin Anglo empire that replaced Britain in control over much of the world – since it became the single superpower for the great profits earned during and after facilitating and participating in the building of prostate low-wage Nazi Germany to number one military power?
One can only imagine the angry reaction of Fourth of July revelers, had this writer voiced his impressions of American fireworks in celebration of an independence which Americans deny almost every other nation from US commercial financial hegemony backed by the most expensive high-tech fire power in history.
Having lived most of eighty-two years outside of American exceptionalism, have come to recognize it as bizarrely unnatural and conducive to desperate living and forced I’m-Okay-ism/ Americans suffer being the first victims of the ultimate commodification of the human spirit and commercialized living.
One might think that it would not take a dimes worth of intelligence to figure that in this age of instant personal world wide communication and finger tip commuter access to universal knowledge leveling the playing field between the white colonializers and the non-white conlonized, neo-colonized and bombed, that it is inevitable that America will be brought before the law, and justice served for her victims in compensation and remuneration for wrongful death, destruction, fraud, enslavement and theft of natural resources. Oh yes, the British, French, Belgians, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese did get away with mass-murder so far, but there is no statue of limitations on genocide and national theft. There will eventually be an all around adjustment, if our specie is destined to not self-extinct. But Wall Street owned America, practicing permanent war, must perforce be the first to be prosecuted for wanton crimes against humanity and crimes against peace, as once were the Germans and Japanese and recently various leaders of colonized majority Mankind by their First World betters.
For whatever airs of superiority former fellow Americans have been sold on giving themselves, life just wants to be normal ordinary, read magnificent, as a temporary individual manifestation of the inexpressibly wondrous specie homo sapiens within a natural joy of existence on a particular planet of an insignificant sun among billions in a minor galaxy of the universe.
And that natural joy of existence is to be found, from yours truly good fortune, throughout majority Mankind, albeit still victimized by the white empires of the first world. America! rejoin us if you can.