My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

the dead

So I woke up this morning haunted by images of dismembered corpses. At first I thought I'd been dreaming about zombie movies again, but it was just more terrorists. This has been happening daily in Iraq for months, but somehow we're shocked that it's spread to London. What's really surprising to me is that it took so long. It's not like a commuter train, or a highway (imagine a couple Oklahoma City style truck bombs going off in a rush hour traffic jam) or any other public parade of people can really be safe.

But as part of the global city here, I'm starting to feel a little bit picked on here. It's becoming apparent to me that we all have a lot in common, as compared to, well, those other people. I mean, we're cosmopolitan, tolerant of human differences, less religiously observant, more mobile and worldly, less likely to support war and cultural conservatism. Urban Americans didn't back George Bush's war in Iraq. Londoners similarly opposed British participation in that effort. The people of Kabul opposed the Taliban and don't like Osama bin Laden much at all. Baghdadis didn't support Saddam Hussein and mostly don't back the religious extremists in power now either. So who's responsible for all this murder and mayhem? Who backs either imperialism or terrorist extremists, depending on what country they come from? Rural, backward, xenophobic, religious fundamentalist rubes. People who don't know anything beyond their own little village way of life and think everyone else should be just like them or else they're wrong and bad. Hicks. Sad little people who want to be respected like their ideas and values are just as good as anybody else's even though "values" are mostly hate and fear because they don't know anything about anyone else.

Part of me knows this is offensive but I just don't care anymore, I'm just angry. I don't ask that you be just like me or share my values, I just want you to go away and leave me alone. You do your thing, I do mine, but I just don't want to hear about it. I don't want to be saved. I just don't care. I've got nothing personal against religious people, some of them are my friends and family, but I'm not going to adopt your beliefs no matter what you say, and blowing people up isn't going to change my mind or intimidate me, it's just going to make me think less of you and your so called values. What kind of God would rejoice at the bombing of a bus, or an abortion clinic, or an insurgent-occupied city? If the rubes of the world want to kill each other to show how tough they are and how big their God is, there's nothing I can do about it at this point. But leave my people out of it.

Enough anger for one day. Here are some pictures of our garden to chill out to.

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Here's the mysterious Trope and some purple pansies.

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Okay, so they're not all the same breed of Vinca. But I think they're cool looking.

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I put this border in myself the day the pope died. Check out the flourishing herbs. The basil is especially impressive and makes a good pasta bake.

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This was cool. I planted an onion that sprouted on the shelf. It grew into a really interesting plant. These guys used to grow wild before there was a city here. Chicago means roughly "place of the wild onion."

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The jungle corner under the garage stairs. Notice the hydrangia on the left, it was bedraggled when I bought it, a post-Easter bargain, but I liked the color. It's going to bloom again soon.

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This spiny desert thingy grew back from seed - we had this type of plant in this pot last year, and a new one appeared with very little help from us.

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The same thing happened with these snapdragons, of which this is not a good picture. We were about to plant something else in this pot when we saw the sprouts. Isn't nature cool?

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These guys appeared out of a crack in the cement, just under where the snapdragon pot spent most of last summer on the porch. Apparently Chicago is a good climate to grow snapdragons from seed.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the monster rhubarb bush right now, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it's mighty impressive. We also have some mint, which we use for mojitos.

There I feel calmer. Don't you? Sorry I offended you dangerous delusion that you speak for an all-powerful, infallable God (the two would be mutually exclusive, to my way of seeing things). So please, put the bombs down.


Bob said...

I'm pretty sure that the spiny thing is a portulaca. It is one of my favorites.

Trope said...

The question is, if you moved the rural extremists into the city, would they become more open-minded? Is extremism a cause, or effect, of the rural life? And how on earth do you explain all those city-dwelling guv'ment types who brought us into this stupid war in the first place?

Yes, Bob, it is a portulaca! We actually have two different varieties--one really does look like a "moss rose," the other is just spiny.

Elwood Grobnik said...

It depends on how they are integrated into society. Most people, when introduced into an environment where they must confront diversity and new ideas become more "liberal" - you see this a lot with college students. By contrast, people who transition to a more homogeneous setting tend to grow more conservative - families who move to segregated suburbs.

However, the mediating factor here is segregation - homogeneous neighborhoods, housing projects etc. can produce closed-minded extremism. Sadr City in Baghdad is a great example. Nearly everyone there is a formerly rural poor uneducated religious Shiite. They're not integrated at all into greater Baghdad.

It's not a straight cause and effect relationship, but our environment profoundly influences who we are. In a globalized world, people still living in human monocultures tend to lack understanding of and empathy for people who are different.