The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the category “terrorism”

Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

originally published August 22, 2014

Artist: Mobstr/location: London

Sa

Genius. My greatest sorrow and frustration in life was that I was able to recognize it; appreciate it when I saw it; easily discern between the very good, the great and the brilliant; and yet, I, myself, could not produce anything of such caliber.   I could see the tricks and techniques the masters used to imprint their work with their unique creative flair. I was able to read between the lines and marvel at a turn of phrase or an especially apt metaphor. I noticed the nuanced underpainting and the way it brought life to the subject. I could hear the subtle change of key that lodged a melody in the head. And yet was not able to reproduce any of it.

I did not begrudge them their success. They deserved it. I only wanted to whip aside the curtain to see how they did it. Was there a trick? A skill I could learn? Techniques I might master?   The answer, I found was yes to all those things, and yet, the whole was far greater than the sum of its parts. There was something inside those people, something I didn’t possess. No matter what I did, somebody else did it better.   More naturally. More easily.

Perhaps if I’d had no aesthetic sense; if I’d not be able to catch that flash of brilliance that separated the journeyman from the prodigy, it might not have pained me so much. But I was able to see it and each time I did, it reminded me that I lacked what came so easily to them.

I plugged away at what I did best. I was moderately successful. I was able to earn a living, but few outside my immediate circle sang praises to my talent.

They stood at the pinnacle and I was left to worship from below.

I suppose this was the main thread of my life: To envy what I could never be; to live in the disappointment of not being able to be better than I was.

______

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!

 

 

Artist: Mobstr/location: London

 

The Martyr

first posted June 29, 2014
 
 

Wa

I martyred myself for a cause and took some of the enemy with me.  In the end, however, I accomplished nothing except to bring more pain and grief and misunderstanding into the world. Alive, the cause seemed all-important, absolutely worth giving my life for.  I was promised my reward in the afterlife. But the only reward is understanding that what I did was no more useful to the advancement of my cause than a small coin is of use to monumental poverty.

I believed at the time my death would be useful. It would show the enemy that the power and might of our beliefs far exceeded theirs. Our deaths would prove that our determination would prevail; that we could not be stopped. We wanted to put fear into their hearts.

We accomplished nothing except to alienate ourselves further and make compromise impossible.

Of course, one cannot allow oneself or one’s people to be subjugated. This is something which must be fought at all costs. It is always the righteous fight. It is only the method which I now question.

But  subjugation and enslavement, in one form or another, is just the way of the human world.   This is a given in every age. Somewhere, there will always be those who are powerless against a stronger, more formidable oppressor.

I am not sure what it means. Maybe subjugation exists so that we may attain nobility by fighting against it; that we may dedicate our lives to something greater than ourselves; so our bravery and faith may be tested; so we might be a part of a history that bridges the ages.

 

Note:

Wow.  This one surprised me.  I had no idea where it was coming from or where it was going until the end.  

The Rule of Anarchy

Originally published March 26, 2015

Kha

In the time and place when I last lived it was impossible to tell the righteous from the evil.  Sometimes,  your enemy could be kind or generous or offer you aid in your time of need; and sometimes your own friends and family betrayed you.  Trust was a luxury in which no one dared indulge, not even in love.  Allegiances fluttered like leaves on the trees; showing first  one face and then suddenly, with a slight change in the wind,  exposing their their pale, veined undersides to the sun.

I worked hard to avoid aligning myself with either camp, but this proved nearly impossible.  I pretended to be feeble-minded so they would not demand too much of me; so they would not press me too often into service for their cause.  If I could not be relied upon to do their bidding, I would not be asked. Or, if I were asked and I failed,  I would not be thought a traitor.

But what was a traitor?  A traitor to what? What was left to betray? Nothing was black or white, up or down, right or wrong. Everything was a muddy dun-colored pile of string. You could not tell from looking if it was comprised of one long one strand or a hundred short ones.  But it did not matter if it was it was all connected or not.   In the beginning,  it had all been of one piece. Chopping it apart did not make the parts manifestly different from each other.

They all liked to believe they stood for something unique but there was no difference. People ostensibly chose sides but in reality, loyalties were too easily bought and sold for sides to have any real meaning. People stood with whomever could best provide what they needed most at that moment…food,  protection, shelter, weapons.

There was no law…not of government, not of God, and not even most natural laws of man. Society did not exist, only quotidian anarchy.

This was all I ever knew in that life.  My ruse of playing the fool worked to keep my out of any political tug of war and away from accusations, but it could not save me from random violence. I was killed by a bomb, along with the guilty, the innocent and the undecided.

_____

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Evil, One Click at a Time

New!

Cog-in-the-machine

Yu

I did what I was made to do. I never questioned. If you’d asked me at the time if I was choosing my actions of my own volition, I would have said yes, but I see now that I had no choice. I was a cog in a machine much greater than myself. I was turned in place by the other gears grinding in unison towards the common goal.

History says we behaved like animals; that we treated others like animals  but that was not true. Animals do not torture and abuse and murder their own kind.

My humanity was stolen from me and before I could recognize the depth of that loss, it was too late.

I wasn’t born cruel, but then cruelty is often a matter of perspective. I wasn’t the kind to think things through too deeply.  I was smart enough in many ways, but morally I was lazy. I trusted those in positions of greater authority to tell me what was right and wrong. It was simpler and less mentally taxing to see things as clearly black and white, good and evil.

As long as I obeyed those in authority, I felt no moral compunctions about what I did; suffered no sleepless nights wracked with guilt. I never questioned that I was on the side of right.   And in this way, it was easy to bring me (and others just like me) to heel, to do the bidding of the powerful whose true motives I never knew.

Those in authority are in those positions because they understand that to consolidate, maintain and focus their power, they must appeal to that most basic need in others:   to be on the side of Right; on the side of God. Once convinced, a follower can be made to do anything. Soldiers will only fight and kill if they believe their cause is just.  An army cannot survive on doubt.

But enemies cannot both be on the side of Right.

During war, right and wrong are relative. They are not determined until the fighting and killing are over. Human morality is judged upon the results.

On this side, morality is judged by different criteria.

 

—–

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days.  Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward.  Would greatly appreciate sharing on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)  Thanks!

A Stolen Life

First published 11/23/14

boy soldier

Ki

Looking back, it seems as though I went directly from suckling at my mother’s breast to being a soldier. Oh, I had a few years of what might be called childhood, but given the conditions, they were not happy or carefree. Violence and war and atrocity were all I knew. Fighting and killing came to me quite naturally.

Every male I knew over the age of 9 had been conscripted into the ragtag group of fighters known as The Army.   The older boys, the ones in their teens, were our leaders. None of us had ever had any real adult male supervision. Our fathers and grandfathers and uncles were long dead by the same violence we perpetuated. Some — bastards by rape — didn’t even know who their fathers were. There was no one to teach us how to be men so we followed our baser instincts. We were not much better than animals.

We had no genuine ideals or any concept of what we were fighting for. If there had once been  a noble cause at the root, we had long since forgotten what it was.  By the time I carried a gun, my only goal was self-gratification and self-preservation. None of us had any reason to believe we would live past twenty, so we thought only about what we wanted in the moment.

We were usually high on drugs and liquor. They were so easy to get, we considered them part of our rations. This, in conjunction with the raging hormones of young men, made a volatile combination.

We took what we wanted at gun point. There were few who could stop us. We raped as casually as smoking a cigarette. None of us had any idea how to be tender with a woman. Such behavior was simply not in our emotional vocabulary.

There were often deadly fights even among our own soldiers. What did it matter if you killed someone or someone killed you? Death was ubiquitous. We were inured.

When there is no meaning to life, death, too, is meaningless.

One day, out of our minds on various intoxicants including sniffing kerosene, we came upon an encampment — women and children and a few old or crippled men who had fled from their decimated villages. They were protected by some soldiers from the other side who were better armed than we were but far fewer in number. We killed many of them. The rest fled.

And then had our way with the women.

School girls were raped by boys no older than they were, and in many cases younger. A small group of soldiers found one girl whom they all seemed to favor, and each took his turn with her. She covered her face with her scarf in humiliation. They were cruel.  They were brutal. They treated her with less consideration than a wild dog.

And then it was my turn.

I unfastened my shorts. I was already excited from watching. I climbed on top of her. Her scarf fell away for a moment. Was this my sister?! I had not seen her in a few years but she looked like her. What had happened to our village that she was here? Was our mother still alive?

She seemed to recognize me too, and a pleading look passed across her face but she said nothing.

My thoughts on this matter were fleeting. It didn’t matter who she was. The fate of my birthplace or my mother or my family was not at all relevant in that moment.

I raped her in turn, same as the others, then moved aside to allow the next in line. I walked away, joking with my friends, and didn’t give her a second thought.

Never in my short life did I feel a moment’s remorse for that incident. I never felt a moment of remorse about anything I did — not about the innocents I tortured or killed for reason or simply for laughs; not about the destruction and devastation I’d help wreak on my country. I did not mourn the theft of my youth or my family or my humanity. I regretted nothing because I knew no other way. There was only the most immediate future.

When I was about 15, there was an explosion in our weapons store.  Many were injured or killed.  There was blood everywhere — my own and others.   I looked down to see my legs had been blown off.   I lay there immobile,  my life flowing out of me, my blood mixing with the dirt. I knew I was dying but what did it matter?  If it weren’t from this,   it would have soon been from something else,  something just as gruesome.

I see that without spiritual guidance, without a voice of morality, it does not take more than a single generation for civilization to fall away; for humans to turn back into animals.

Vigilance is the backbone of humanity.

 

____

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days.  Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward.  Would greatly appreciate sharing on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)  Thanks!

 

 

 

Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

 

originally published August 22, 2014

Artist: Mobstr/location: London

Sa

Genius. My greatest sorrow and frustration in life was that I was able to recognize it; appreciate it when I saw it; easily discern between the very good, the great and the brilliant; and yet, I, myself, could not produce anything of such caliber.   I could see the tricks and techniques the masters used to imprint their work with their unique creative flair. I was able to read between the lines and marvel at a turn of phrase or an especially apt metaphor. I noticed the nuanced underpainting and the way it brought life to the subject. I could hear the subtle change of key that lodged a melody in the head. And yet was not able to reproduce any of it.

I did not begrudge them their success. They deserved it. I only wanted to whip aside the curtain to see how they did it. Was there a trick? A skill I could learn? Techniques I might master?   The answer, I found was yes to all those things, and yet, the whole was far greater than the sum of its parts. There was something inside those people, something I didn’t possess. No matter what I did, somebody else did it better.   More naturally. More easily.

Perhaps if I’d had no aesthetic sense; if I’d not be able to catch that flash of brilliance that separated the journeyman from the prodigy, it might not have pained me so much. But I was able to see it and each time I did, it reminded me that I lacked what came so easily to them.

I plugged away at what I did best. I was moderately successful. I was able to earn a living, but few outside my immediate circle sang praises to my talent.

They stood at the pinnacle and I was left to worship from below.

I suppose this was the main thread of my life: To envy what I could never be; to live in the disappointment of not being able to be better than I was.

 


 

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

Artist: Mobstr/location: London

 

The Martyr

first posted June 29, 2014

 

Wa

I martyred myself for a cause and took some of the enemy with me.  In the end, however, I accomplished nothing except to bring more pain and grief and misunderstanding into the world. Alive, the cause seemed all-important, absolutely worth giving my life for.  I was promised my reward in the afterlife. But the only reward is understanding that what I did was no more useful to the advancement of my cause than a small coin is of use to monumental poverty.

I believed at the time my death would be useful. It would show the enemy that the power and might of our beliefs far exceeded theirs. Our deaths would prove that our determination would prevail; that we could not be stopped. We wanted to put fear into their hearts.

We accomplished nothing except to alienate ourselves further and make compromise impossible.

Of course, one cannot allow oneself or one’s people to be subjugated. This is something which must be fought at all costs. It is always the righteous fight. It is only the method which I now question.

But  subjugation and enslavement, in one form or another, is just the way of the human world.   This is a given in every age. Somewhere, there will always be those who are powerless against a stronger, more formidable oppressor.

I am not sure what it means. Maybe subjugation exists so that we may attain nobility by fighting against it; that we may dedicate our lives to something greater than ourselves; so our bravery and faith may be tested; so we might be a part of a history that bridges the ages.

 

Note:

Wow.  This one surprised me.  I had no idea where it was coming from or where it was going until the end.  

The Rule of Anarchy

Kha

In the time and place when I last lived it was impossible to tell the righteous from the evil.  Sometimes,  your enemy could be kind or generous or offer you aid in your time of need; and sometimes your own friends and family betrayed you.  Trust was a luxury in which no one dared indulge, not even in love.  Allegiances fluttered like leaves on the trees; showing first  one face and then suddenly, with a slight change in the wind,  exposing their their pale, veined undersides to the sun.

I worked hard to avoid aligning myself with either camp, but this proved nearly impossible.  I pretended to be feeble-minded so they would not demand too much of me; so they would not press me too often into service for their cause.  If I could not be relied upon to do their bidding, I would not be asked. Or, if I were asked and I failed,  I would not be thought a traitor.

But what was a traitor?  A traitor to what? What was left to betray? Nothing was black or white, up or down, right or wrong. Everything was a muddy dun-colored pile of string. You could not tell from looking if it was comprised of one long one strand or a hundred short ones.  But it did not matter if it was it was all connected or not.   In the beginning,  it had all been of one piece. Chopping it apart did not make the parts manifestly different from each other.

They all liked to believe they stood for something unique but there was no difference. People ostensibly chose sides but in reality, loyalties were too easily bought and sold for sides to have any real meaning. People stood with whomever could best provide what they needed most at that moment…food,  protection, shelter, weapons.

There was no law…not of government, not of God, and not even most natural laws of man. Society did not exist, only quotidian anarchy.

This was all I ever knew in that life.  My ruse of playing the fool worked to keep my out of any political tug of war and away from accusations, but it could not save me from random violence. I was killed by a bomb, along with the guilty, the innocent and the undecided.

_____

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

A Stolen Life

boy soldier

Ki

Looking back, it seems as though I went directly from suckling at my mother’s breast to being a soldier. Oh, I had a few years of what might be called childhood, but given the conditions, they were not happy or carefree. Violence and war and atrocity were all I knew. Fighting and killing came to me quite naturally.

Every male I knew over the age of 9 had been conscripted into the ragtag group of fighters known as The Army.   The older boys, the ones in their teens, were our leaders. None of us had ever had any real adult male supervision. Our fathers and grandfathers and uncles were long dead by the same violence we perpetuated. Some — bastards by rape — didn’t even know who their fathers were. There was no one to teach us how to be men so we followed our baser instincts. We were not much better than animals.

We had no genuine ideals or any concept of what we were fighting for. If there had once been  a noble cause at the root, we had long since forgotten what it was.  By the time I carried a gun, my only goal was self-gratification and self-preservation. None of us had any reason to believe we would live past twenty, so we thought only about what we wanted in the moment.

We were usually high on drugs and liquor. They were so easy to get, we considered them part of our rations. This, in conjunction with the raging hormones of young men, made a volatile combination.

We took what we wanted at gun point. There were few who could stop us. We raped as casually as smoking a cigarette. None of us had any idea how to be tender with a woman. Such behavior was simply not in our emotional vocabulary.

There were often deadly fights even among our own soldiers. What did it matter if you killed someone or someone killed you? Death was ubiquitous. We were inured.

When there is no meaning to life, death, too, is meaningless.

One day, out of our minds on various intoxicants including sniffing kerosene, we came upon an encampment — women and children and a few old or crippled men who had fled from their decimated villages. They were protected by some soldiers from the other side who were better armed than we were but far fewer in number. We killed many of them. The rest fled.

And then had our way with the women.

School girls were raped by boys no older than they were, and in many cases younger. A small group of soldiers found one girl whom they all seemed to favor, and each took his turn with her. She covered her face with her scarf in humiliation. They were cruel.  They were brutal. They treated her with less consideration than a wild dog.

And then it was my turn.

I unfastened my shorts. I was already excited from watching. I climbed on top of her. Her scarf fell away for a moment. Was this my sister?! I had not seen her in a few years but she looked like her. What had happened to our village that she was here? Was our mother still alive?

She seemed to recognize me too, and a pleading look passed across her face but she said nothing.

My thoughts on this matter were fleeting. It didn’t matter who she was. The fate of my birthplace or my mother or my family was not at all relevant in that moment.

I raped her in turn, same as the others, then moved aside to allow the next in line. I walked away, joking with my friends, and didn’t give her a second thought.

Never in my short life did I feel a moment’s remorse for that incident. I never felt a moment of remorse about anything I did — not about the innocents I tortured or killed for reason or simply for laughs; not about the destruction and devastation I’d help wreak on my country. I did not mourn the theft of my youth or my family or my humanity. I regretted nothing because I knew no other way. There was only the most immediate future.

When I was about 15, there was an explosion in our weapons store.  Many were injured or killed.  There was blood everywhere — my own and others.   I looked down to see my legs had been blown off.   I lay there immobile,  my life flowing out of me, my blood mixing with the dirt. I knew I was dying but what did it matter?  If it weren’t from this,   it would have soon been from something else,  something just as gruesome.

I see that without spiritual guidance, without a voice of morality, it does not take more than a single generation for civilization to fall away; for humans to turn back into animals.

Vigilance is the backbone of humanity.

 

 

 

 

Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

Artist: Mobstr/location: London

Sa

Genius. My greatest sorrow and frustration in life was that I was able to recognize it; appreciate it when I saw it; easily discern between the very good, the great and the brilliant; and yet, I, myself, could not produce anything of such caliber.   I could see the tricks and techniques the masters used to imprint their work with their unique creative flair. I was able to read between the lines and marvel at a turn of phrase or an especially apt metaphor. I noticed the nuanced underpainting and the way it brought life to the subject. I could hear the subtle change of key that lodged a melody in the head. And yet was not able to reproduce any of it.

I did not begrudge them their success. They deserved it. I only wanted to whip aside the curtain to see how they did it. Was there a trick? A skill I could learn? Techniques I might master?   The answer, I found was yes to all those things, and yet, the whole was far greater than the sum of its parts. There was something inside those people, something I didn’t possess. No matter what I did, somebody else did it better.   More naturally. More easily.

Perhaps if I’d had no aesthetic sense; if I’d not be able to catch that flash of brilliance that separated the journeyman from the prodigy, it might not have pained me so much. But I was able to see it and each time I did, it reminded me that I lacked what came so easily to them.

I plugged away at what I did best. I was moderately successful. I was able to earn a living, but few outside my immediate circle sang praises to my talent.

They stood at the pinnacle and I was left to worship from below.

I suppose this was the main thread of my life: To envy what I could never be; to live in the disappointment of not being able to be better than I was.

 


 

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

Artist: Mobstr/location: London

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