My friend Carolyn writes, "Like others here, I'm shocked, saddened and very very angry about those who tried yesterday to intimidate us here in London. Fat chance, mate - my parents' generation came through the Blitz, my generation lived through the 1980s IRA bombings, and the current generation isn't about to cower in doors just because a bunch of middle east terrorists hopes we will."
I'm wondering if those cowards to who chose to attack unarmed civilians in The Tube of London this week have ever been to Westminster Abbey. You go down to a lower level, we'd call it the basement here in The 'Kan, and it's filled with the tombs of poets, playrights, kings, artists, and war heroes. As you walk through these extraordinary marble carvings (did he die at home?), magnificent tributes by any standard, you're aware that the English value, greatly, those who have defended the Kingdom. Of course, the tribute increases incrementally if you happen to have any royal lineage. But it's clear the English hold the people that battled for whatever time on behalf of The Crown on equal footing with those who created literary masterpieces that all English-speaking school children of the world still study each year. Work product that will remain for one more millenium equals one good battle in one of the many skirmishes England has waged through its existence. And from the looks of the basement there at Westminster Abbey, the Crown has been sideways with pretty much most of the world, at one time or another.
The people of the UK are proud and fiesty. Their response to the dastardly events of the week is mentioned again and again as 'resolute'. As inspiring as all of this is, I rue their entrance onto the front lines of the battle that Osama bin Laden himself has drawn and directed: creating a gulf between the Muslim world and the globalizing West. This is the battle that we, the other English-speaking people now fight, want it or not.
The Muslims battle a civil war themselves--with the extremists operating as a death cult, Al Qaeda having metastasized itself and operating now as franchises, and the moderates moving with King Abdullah II of Jordan in trying to reclaim their faith from the death cult franchisees--even though not one significant Muslim cleric has issued a condemnation of Osama bin Laden.
Margaret Thatcher spoke of the proud tradition of the English-speaking people in standing up to tyranny and oppression. And this is true: we will clean their clocks. But in the process, we will turn our backs on some of our most fundamental beliefs and take them all, extremists moderates alike, on a ride that will change them forever. This is what we English-speaking people do.
Pete, the buff member of the Chow Nation, and Cleo, the black member of the Chow Nation, often conduct fierce exchanges over who is the main dog. Pete says he's the biggest and that everyone needs to call him Sir. Cleo says he's the blackest, was there first and besides, everyone knows that black kisses count double. One or the other will prevail on any given day, but always after prevailing, the triumphant aggressor will turn around to Sylvie Ruth and Red Dorothy and say, "What's next?"
Red Dorothy always replies, "What's next indeed."
The 'Kan EWA