Sometimes, people ask me.
“Why are you being an asshole?”
They ask me that because I’m often terse in my statements, using brutal words.
“I’m not being an asshole” I say.
“Ever heard of the Nautilus?”
And then I remember.
I was a child in a small French town during the war and one day, allied bombed out our neighborhood. I was already used to sirens and bombings but this one was real close this time and my father, for once, relented and took us down to the cave.
“This one is for us” he said.
My family and I and every one from the building went down to the cave. And I could tell people were worried and hurrying. I was just a kid but I could tell everyone was scared, even my dad, so I hung on to my book. I remember. 20.000 leagues under the sea. Captain Nemo.
And it came. Boom boom boom, the whole fucking building was shaking and you’re breathing dust and lights go off and you’re in the dark, total darkness. So you want to say something to your loved ones to let them know you’re alright and everyone is screaming and, on top of the cacophony of the bombs, allied bombs for Christ’s sake, comes also the cacophony of every one trying to reassure their family and it is totally dark and you’re in the abyss and the thunder becomes unbearable, just like the shrill screams of women and the stink of fear filling up the clammy air and before all hope was lost I was imagining that one of those invisible animals, the translucent ones like those living in caves or deep in the oceans, would come and float by me and save me somehow and I could almost see its faint light and there was silence in my head at last.
The thing is, decades later – what am I saying, centuries later – this murdering shit is still happening, just about everywhere. I mean, some fucks in Africa are exterminating each other, hundreds of thousands of them, with machetes! Machetes!!!! You have to kill the guy while he’s pleading for his life, then you slice his wife, and his kids, and his folks. With a machete?
That’s very hard to do, to kill a man while he’s pleading. That’s why it is a lot easier to shoot him from afar with a Kalashnikov or a bomb. And it makes no difference at the end to the folks whether they’re butchered in many pieces or if they get a stealth bomb coming from bumfuck somewhere exploding their home. Technology? Machete? Who cares? At the end it’s exactly the same. But it’s still a lot harder to kill someone with a machete, up close. So the bombing business is doing well.
Anyway, after that bombing, alive still, we were all haggard in a bleak morning of spring. I could see all the destructions; I could tell that those who had taken refuge in the school across the street were vaporized. There was not a single building unscathed but ours was still standing.
But what really struck me the next morning was to come upon two girls about my age I knew a little and they still had their white first communion’s robes on and the robes were bloody red and these two girls were very dead. I only then realized the bombing happened on a Sunday. And I was appalled by the sight of these two young girls in the bloody white robes and I knew right there and then that, if this could happen to them, just like that, no help could ever come from anywhere, man or god.
And barbarism, and barbarity, is still happening, a lot, almost everywhere in the world at one time or another, with a machete if you cannot afford a machine gun.
Back home, in the white occidental world, there’s always a crisis or another. The 29’ crisis, the oil crisis, the subprime crisis, the market crisis and whatnot and everybody is running scared so many crisis there are. And the very people running round like chicken are the richest people on the planet. I guess that’s why they’re so worried, because they feel they have SO MUCH to lose. There’s only one thing you can lose: you live or you’re dead.
Then try to explain to some rich fucks that a crisis, I mean a crisis, is when you have a foreign army coming into your home and killing everyone with a sword. Or when you wake up that one morning in Hiroshima or Nagasaki or Sodom or Gomorra.
Now that’s a crisis!
Yet, at the end, it makes no difference to me either. Here or there, I have met on this planet the best humanity has to offer and I have met the worst scumbags that ever came out of fish shit.
And killings and butchery go on.
And there’s no help coming from the skies.
Aliens maybe, but that’s a long bet.
See, you have to give it to Captain Nemo.
Is he an asshole?
Original picture @ history.com