After the last scream… and gunshot… and battle cry… the dust had settled back down, covering the plants and leaves, and the gaping eyes of the dead bodies strewn all about.
Nehemiah helped me slowly up on my wobbly legs while he tended to the bullet wound that had merely creased the top of my left knee. It hurt. But the pain was not nearly as intense as the relief that somehow I had survived this madness.
A rangy, tall, wiry Brit, Nehemiah was much more battle hardened. Not just here in Africa, but a little bit of everywhere. It had taken me a while to figure it out. But after one combat ‘training session’ where he had tossed me about like an epileptic amusement ride I had more than a four gin-and-tonic enlightened moment: He definitely weren’t no engineer for Philips, as he had led me to believe.
“At least not a civil one,” he had said in that smug British undertone.
The flies had begun to swarm, along with the little children aimlessly searching to recognize someone among the dead and moaning.
The panorama assaulting my senses was a horrible screech. Almost like out of a riveting war movie. But it was far worse than any cinema could portray. It is the smell of battle that haunts you. You can never breathe so easily again without inhaling what you so desperately ache to exhale.
Where did all this craziness, this meanness come from? I wondered aloud.
Nehemiah’s steely eyes consumed the bloody vista before searching the soul behind my lifeless brown orbs.
“From people like you and me,” he offered while spitting disgustedly into the dust. “From hundreds of years of you and me and all the rest messing with their lives. We created this mess. We all create our own messes.”
I got to thinking about this the other day while everyone was contorting about Russia’s President Vladimir Putin reclaiming Crimea from the Ukraine.
Another fine mess we find ourselves in. Or, then again…another Crime(a) more or less…
Now I don’t care whether you hyperbolically think this is another Alsace Lorraine igniting another World War. Or, just old-school Putin and many of his fellow proud Russians merely tired of being dismissed and humiliated to second class citizenry by the U.S. led NATO and the rest of the haughty West.
I mean they don’t want NATO missiles lining up like concertina wire on their borders. Just like we don’t want their missiles pointing our way from Cuba. Or Venezuela. Or Vietnam. Or Nicaragua…
Yet meanwhile Europe ain’t gonna do nothing, just like it didn’t do anything to enforce the Versailles Peace Treaty signed after WWI to keep Germany from ever rearming itself. And furthermore, while Russia may be in deep need of money, Western Europe is more in need of the Russian Bear’s only real revenue source – gas and oil.
And we in America ain’t gonna do much more than shake their piggy banks.
What would be the point? It’s all just another illusion. And – at least—this time around Putin ain’t giving Crimea back to Ukraine like Khrushchev did in 1954.
And all the while our foolish world leaders think Putin is so difficult to understand. A riddle. Because he doesn’t do what the other mostly bankrupt world leaders want him to do. Or think he ought to do to belong to their club.
And mostly because he simply took his ball and turned it into a bowling ball.
Remember, Putin is the guy that “W” Bush said he looked directly into his eyes and “found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy.” Sounds like England’s Chamberlain who returned from a pre-war visit with Hitler proclaiming he is someone we can work with.
But of course!
All we need to know about Putin is that he became what he is the old fashioned way.
Besides being a colonel in the KGB and a former deputy mayor of Moscow he never held a non government job or created a legitimate private business. Yet now he is reputedly one of the richest men in the world – worth an estimated $60 billion. Of course all of it garnered quite honestly (but of course!) while his fellow countrymen — outside the oligarchy – still struggle to pull themselves up by working hard for their leader.
Hmm… Kind of reminds you of Dick! Chaney. And Bill Clinton. And Ronald Reagan… and such. All guys that stomped into public office in penny loafers and strolled out in Gucci’s.
In other words Putin personally doesn’t need ‘our’ money. He’s already stolen plenty. And he, like the rest of world’s hooligans, just don’t give a shit.
Furthermore, Putin always had this thing about judo.
In case you don’t know a great deal about the martial arts, the basic Aiyotsu of judo is not about attacking someone with brute force. It is more of a brute defensive technique of channeling your adversary’s aggression against him.
In other words, as one of our less than august members of our less than majestic U.S. Congress remarked: We are playing marbles while Putin is playing chess.
Nevertheless, Putin is just another thug, like the other thugs running other countries, including the Washington gangsters ruining ours. Much like Stalin he hates his country peasants while beating and kicking and killing them to move his erstwhile empire away from the abyss of the world’s dismissive indignities.
What’s more he also stays busy moving his ‘supportive’ masses away from minding that he is also stealing what the drunken politburo hooligans didn’t already rob, rape and pillage.
Again, it is much like Washington where the rich are enriching their rich donors while the rest of us are merely being distracted. Like my dear ol’ bourbon sippin’ Pappy used to exhale: The reason our politicians are so easily able to rob, rape and pillage is because the rest of us are too busy watching football!
Alas, alack. For some uncanny reason we ‘fellow Americans’ seem to be able to clearly discern what duh big bad bear Putin and his oligarchy are doing, but we can’t seem to fathom why he doesn’t want to be just like us – you know deeply into debt and quiet desperation.
Although I worked in Russia for three years I am certainly no apologist. Yet isn’t it a fact that we ignored our previous commitment to Russia and pushed right up to her border by incorporating the Baltic into NATO.
And I may be wrong here, but didn’t we rip Russia’s ally, Serbia, apart with military means to create Kosovo, another place, like Russia’s claim to Crimea, that is still not universally recognized…
Etcetera… etcetera… etcetera.
These and so many more are messes we all helped create in one way or another: Iran, Syria, Panama, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Korea… we’ve all stained our teeth in their mess halls.
And now Obama and the rest of the boys are squawking to and fro like Chicken Little that the sky is falling.
It ain’t falling; it just cries from time to time.
To handle the Ukraine situation Obama should have just let our alien Secretary of State Kerry continue to bluster in public. At the same time the Prez should have gotten a back door message to Putin that states:
Congrats – black’s pawns takes white’s castle. One Crime(a) is too many. Anything more and I won’t just be shooting marbles… Meanwhile white’s bishop takes black’s knight…You need to practice your Aiyotsu before your Elo rating drops off the Big Board…
Hmm… I just love it when I talk dirty judo AND chess.
Putin may be a thug, but like all thugs he is just another insecure, smarmy little solipsistic bastard with an over-sized self image and an undersized dick. You don’t spank him in public. In public you just drink and get him drunk. And then show off his sagging breasts. Believe me, beneath the surface of every macho man is a little boy crying to belong to the gang.
Meanwhile, back in Africa all those wounded years ago, Nehemiah was somberly explaining that our dead assailants weren’t ‘mean’ people.
‘No,’ he explained, ‘like a crocodile they aren’t mean – just primitive.’
Which pretty well sums up my last ex-wife. As well as Putin. And most of the rest of us. From day one – whether you believe in 6,000 or 6 million years – man has always been competitive, violent and territorial.
It’s all pretty primitive.
And whether we may or may not mean most of the things we do, the trouble seems to be we just can’t help ourselves. We are drawn that way. Just ask the American Indians. The Russian Cossacks…The Armenians… the list is stupefying.
We create laws and treaties to be broken. And we break laws that are conundrums and rationally inexplicable. I mean, isn’t it bizarre that one may never transgress a single law and still be a bastard.
Indeed, our primitive nature continues to rule.
Which, when I am sober these days, causes me to spew inanities. Such as:
Politics is merely the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
The world is a mess. But it is a mess of our making. So, if you’ll be good then I’ll be bad. Because in politics nothing is contemptible… or moral.
A fool and his money are soon elected.
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. And in Putin’s world he suspects that he is right more than all the time.
It’s all a revoltin’ development. Which is why I need to go back to drinking — heavily. Remember you can’t do nothing about the weather, or people like them and us, except pour a bigger drink.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…