A weekend of death

Protesters rush to put out a car with a fire during clashes with armed men at the Abbasiyah area in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, July 23, 2011. (AP / Khalil Hamra)

Protesters during clashes with armed men at the Abbasiyah area in Cairo. (AP / Khalil Hamra)

It was a weekend of death, maybe death was just in the air, floating around like an evil cloud just looking for a demented mind to carry out its cruel intent.  Death’s first choice was a self describe patriot seeking to bring truth and righteousness to his home country.  The killer in Norway has made a statement, sort of, his lawyer speaking for him is offering some rationale.  He hates Muslims and wants to rid his world of all those professing a belief in Islam.  But, first he needed to rid the country of the cultural marxism (okay it is not a term we are terribly familiar with, but it seems to imply the mixing of races and religions)  – the first step in a revolution he proposed to lead. He did start a revolution, but not exactly the one he planned, his was the first shot in a revolution of revolting murders.

In the state of Washington, a man bent on “getting” his wife, went to a dance club and shot his wife, her dancing partner and then for good luck everyone else he could before being wrestled to the ground.  In Texas a man with the same mission – punishing his wife – went to a children’s birthday party, ushered the children outside and precedent to kill as many of his wife’s relatives as possible before killing himself.

In Cairo after months of seemingly peaceful demonstrations the spirit of killing dropped down on a crowd (estimated at 10,000) demonstrators wending their way out of Tahrir Square to the ministry of defense.  They had chosen the anniversary of the army assuming power in 1952 to call for the army to step down, not just replace on general with another, but a civilian government.  As they made their way along,  chanting slogans, they encountered barricades put up by the army, but with no army in sight.  Instead plain clothed military and police, loyalists and thugs (a word the surfaces every time there is violence, as in the “battle of the camel”) bombarded and attacked them from the buildings and surroundings with rocks, homemade bombs and knives; several hundred are reported to be injured.

In Syria, 1.2 million people are said to have been in the streets demanding a change in government; 30 people are reported to have been killed in Damascus alone.  Of all the incidents, Syria is the least surprising, someone is killed every time there is a demonstration in Syria.  But for the rest? A birthday party, an evening of dancing, a summer’s day a youth camp and a seemingly routine demonstration in Cairo – what lead to violence and death in those cases?  Death was in the air like the dementors of Azkaban – sucking the joy, the life and the souls out of hundreds of innocent people. Anyway that is the way it feels as if joy had been sucked out of our collective souls by an inexplicable horror.

There were of course lots of other people who were killed over the weekend as there are every day of every month in every years; after all there a seven billion people on the planet.  We should be used to tales of carnage and death, they are common enough, especially in the Middle East.  Death is the headline from the Middle East, nothing gets reported as easily or as often as killing and death – the media fell in love with counting bodies in Vietnam and has never given up its infatuation.   There is a difference (but not to those who died or to their families) for me between the people who die in a country where “war” is declared and opposing armies are openly out to kill out the opposition and take full power – there is a difference between that and the kind of mind numbing slaughter of this weekend.  Although both are depressing and seem suck hope out of the world.


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