Oh What a Wonderful World

September the 11th will always be remembered as the day that the USA and the world watched in great horror as two passenger aeroplanes took a huge bite out of The Big Apple – altering its skyline and forever making bearded men of Asian decent the feared rapscallions at airports. It marks a day that will forever carry feelings of hurt, anguish and anger for the families of the 2,996 souls that perished on that fateful day. It stands out as this generation’s “Where were you when they shot John F. Kennedy?” moment. Since then much of the world and its people have changed.

These days so much of our conversations are informed by the news from outlets that serve certain interests, or agendas. Our opinions are acquired wholesale from the Internet and her many Social Media streams. There is no need for us to go directly to the source for our information – unless you consider the videos shot from the action from mobile phones. Even those at times are subject to the usual scrutiny and countless questions. Questions like, “Do these videos tell the entire story, or convenient parts of the story they wish told?” Such questions will forever persist. It was Hermann Hesse who said, “The only part of a story that is true is the part the listener believes” and as listeners of the heavily opinionated stories of others, it is here where we most often find our truths.

September 11th

The problem with the truth is that even though it might not change, it will force change upon other things. This is the problem with all truths – personal or collective. They all require a certain sacrifice to be made in their names. Take the situation in Syria for instance. There are many truths that are being used to justify countless unjustifiable actions. The regime of President Bashar “The Duck” al-Assad have resorted to levelling entire cities, instantly obliterating the communal physical history of many centuries, in the name of stopping an uprising. The rebels have also played their part in this tragedy. The United Nations who are as ineffectual as an absent guardian have stated that since April 2012 there have been nine (9) mass killings in the country – the regime takes it 8 – 1. The truth is this – it has become increasingly perilous, and potentially detrimental to our moral and social standing to point fingers at a single party to this civil war.

The words “moral imperative” have been bandied about so much I think I will convulse and my severely worn out good senses will commit suicide. It is not that I do not understand the severity of the situation. Trust me, I do. The numbers alone are mind-boggling. Over one hundred and ten thousand people dead (110, 000) and two million (2, 000, 000) displaced – I do understand. But while these figures makes me want to purge all the humanity within me so as not to associate myself with the species that is capable of such deeds, I must think that it is this very humanity that might help us achieve some sort of finality to this tragedy. And I do not care for any lines that good ol’ POTUS has us believing have been crossed – we are past the point of complicity.

What scares me the most is that the voice of reason to this whole tragedy seems to be that of a man who, in his spare time, and with cameras fortuitously at hand, rides about bare-chested and deprives those of alternative sexual orientation their rights of fully identifying as valuable members of society. I say scared because I am not for a second going to be fooled into thinking that Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Putin did not have this miraculous alternative plan to the United Nations Security Council’s impasse on military action on Syria up his sleeve all along, or seeing that he’s mostly topless these days – in the back pocket of his military-issued cargo pants. The scary part is how level-headed he seemed while Russia and China were taking it from all quarters because of their refusal to be part of an UNSC-sanctioned attack on Syria. He stood there as stoic as ever – I’ve seen more emotion on a Soviet block of flats. Okay I’ll admit, I was impressed by his somewhat pragmatism – we both thought the same thing, but upon closer inspection I am led to believe for differing ends. I just couldn’t stomach another US/ NATO-led intervention in another sovereign state. And I repeat, I am fully aware of the extent and severity of the situation but at this point for me it’s a matter of “Anybody but the USA” – hell the Germans could have sent their troops in guns blazing, and that would still sit with me a whole lot better than US troops on the ground or drones in the air. Sorry ‘Merica!

What Vladimir Putin has done has raised more questions than provided the welcome relief of a measured (and compassionate) response. Chief among these questions in that of “How long could he hold out with the ace in his back pocket that could resolve other issues if the timing to play his hand was not convenient for him?” That, to me at the least, is a very dangerous game to play. It is a matter of dispensable people in the eye of one-upping his detractors and the moral police. It is calculating in its extreme and I don’t know quite how to feel – not that I am entitled to feel any way or form offended by his actions. Maybe I should say I’m more morbidly curious than anything else.

Here’s another truth; there are people out there who were ready to bet their homes that what we were witnessing were the precursors to the Third Instalment of the World War Series. Through second-hand thoughts and social media, they built their arguments on the irrefutable facts that they have sourced from the Twitter and Facebook live feeds. Another, and more pressing, truth is that once the dust has settled there will be much to answer for on both sides. The reality is that the frequency of infractions from one side will be the standard by which we make our decisions as to who gets charged for crimes against humanity.

The reality is that Syria will take a very long time – if ever – to recover from what she and her people have had to go through. Will we as humans ever learn? That is a question I cannot truthfully answer with any amount of certainty.

What’s your take about this? Leave a comment and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here.

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Watch this space for regular updates in the Opinion category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Menzi Hlongwa

Menzi Hlongwa

Music. Film. Art. Literature. Current Affairs. Culture. I document. Speak out of turn. Think. Engage. Offend. Witness.
Menzi Hlongwa

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