Monday, May 16, 2005

In The Blood

From the December 2001 issue:

"A people like us—a people who have convinced ourselves that myth never actually works—cannot understand when real myth rises up in the world again in all its violent, sacrificial, monstrous, and satanic glory. With six thousand dead on September 11, we know beyond doubt what blood is. But we have forgotten what blood means. The crowds in the streets of Cairo, the marchers in Islamabad, the Palestinians who ululated and fired off their guns to celebrate the slaughter of Americans: they still grasp what blood does and why a mythic culture needs violence for its foundation. Until we remember again what they have not forgotten, we will not be able to respond—with the right infinite justice, or the right finite justice, or even the right mercy. We will keep getting it wrong."

-- J. Bottum, "What Violence Is For"

We've been fighting--or fighting back, anyway--terrorists since 9/11 for longer than we fought in WWII. This prescient piece by J. Bottum makes clear that we're going to need all the staying power we can muster.

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