Monday, March 14, 2011

The Planet Has Shifted

I sit now in the 90th street bedroom of Dawn and Linda, my old and dear New York friends who will so generously share their home with me for these five weeks. Paris and all that poured in from its marble facades and gold tipped arches, from its fortress of one kind first, the Louvre, now an all embracing arch of a fortress of another kind, the bastion of French national culture or at least one past version of it, the other Paris where the non nationally idealized live, the stern elegance of its national centers--all beauty, all permanent, all confirming the Grand Nation-  history in edifice, pride of monument--I realize I write from little real knowledge and I am still foggy from all the traveling, so I best talk less and think more. La Professoressa will live as a bachelor back in the London flat for these five weeks, a young red head again, striding down the cobblestones of Bloomsbury.

It was on the morning that we were leaving our small room in the Hotel of Balconies on a side street of the Odeon Metro stop in the St Germain du Pres district, our bags packed, that I first saw the tongue of ocean that swallowed up the low lying towns of Northern Japan. Outside I could hear some early morning footsteps of Parisians starting their day, every thing seemed to still, and yet I was watching something so huge, so terrible that the position of our planet will never be the same. And in another besieged part of our human world, Qaddafi turned his guns, our guns, loosed his planes, our planes, dropped his bombs, our bombs, on the young revolutionaries who were still thinking that the countries of the west who had supplied the killer with his arsenal would stand with them, would be their final shield between a psychotic leader --and now, the victors sweep the bloodied signs of their murders from off the sand strewn streets, hang banners of victory--much like Bush's vain glorious slogan splashed across the gun turrets of an American war ship on the brink of Iraq's terrible years of suffering, saying it had all been a national delusion. So quick to sell our weapons, to garnish favors with the killers to feed our appetite for oil, and yet so slow in our paralyzing deliberations, so trite in our speeches about Democracy as the great gift of these "backward" peoples, to  whisper in the ear of a dying youth--your comrades will live and so will your dream of another kind of nation, we are here now.

Arms dealers and democracy--some scams blot out the ethical face of whole nations, some national hypocrisies are as huge as that engorged tongue of debris that relentlessly swept away the fragile monuments to the daily lives of Japanese farmers, homes and children, elders dreaming of their bench in the sun. The planet has shifted.

1 comment:

  1. JOANIE!!! You're here!! I would love to see you and do not have your current email address for some reason- I think you have a new one. I am: