from the dead
The whole thing is so utterly insane that it just sickens me. Eileen and I have decided that if war does come the best thing will be to just stay alive and thus add to the number of sane people.
—George Orwell, September 29, 1938
Ten years ago this March a lawyer in my then-office was arrested for uttering the word “why.”
He had just come back from court, then walked a block from the office to join the rest of the staff. We of the staff were gathered on a street corner supporting several dozen people sitting in our small burg’s main street, protesting George II’s lighting the fuse on Operation Iraqi Fiefdom. Shortly before his arrival, state agents had announced that those on the sidewalks needed to leave. Unbeknownst to us, then, even law-enforcement officers in our little town had received the BushCo national memo: the new tactic was to dissolve such assemblies by dispersing first, and, if necessary, arresting, the observers, rather than the observed.
This lawyer had not been present for the dispersal announcement. When he reached the corner, and asked us what was going on, before we could reply, a gendarme brusquely informed him that he needed to leave the sidewalk.
He then asked, as would any reasonable human, “why?”
His arms were immediately pulled behind his back; he was cuffed, arrested, and frog-marched to a waiting cop-bus.
I recall this event often. For the word “why” is the one word that those who promote and pursue war never want uttered. Because following that word to its inevitable conclusion always exposes the Potemkin facade erected to excuse senseless slaughter.
For there is no answer, here, to “why?” Other than: “Madness. Madness.“