Saturday, November 14, 2015

Where darkness descends

Looking for the light
London, ON
November 2015
It's just a quick snap from an otherwise unremarkable parking lot outside a big box store on the edge of town, taken quickly before we hurried inside to get on with the also unremarkable business of shopping for groceries.

Yet on this day, as the world continued to absorb the full horror of what happened in Paris yesterday, this unremarkable moment in an unremarkable place seemed to take on its own urgency. As if the simple act of recording it in the first place was somehow more important now than it had been when we all first woke up yesterday, so blissfully unaware of the next.

At a time when we all felt so powerless to fix the unfixable, I thought maybe a picture could at least give me something to hold onto, something to focus on.

I cannot, and never will, understand the fundamental hatred of others that drives so many to devote their lives to the wanton destruction of others. Of folks they've never met. Who they despise not because of what their targets may or may not have done, but because of who they are and what they believe.

I keep wanting to believe our world is better than this, yet the ongoing drumbeat of terrorism - a brazen, inhuman attack against innocents whose only "crime" was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, followed by global outrage, themed profile pics on Facebook, hashtags of support on Twitter, condemnation from the usual sources, political debate, candlelit vigils, mass demonstrations and defiant vows to prevail over evil, which then transitions into a numb settling into history before the next inevitable attack starts the cycle anew - convinces me we're on a somewhat darker path.

As much as I wish this weren't the case, I have no words, answers or solutions. The wakeup call continues to be made. Friday it was Paris, but it's been heard loud and clear in New York, London, Jerusalem and countless other places, as well, where systematic slaughter of complete strangers because of some warped ideology has become so routine that we're this close to thinking it's almost normal.

It isn't. And we have utterly failed to understand, let alone counter the insidious forces that compel people to cross oceans, towns or even streets, to pick up a knife, a gun or a suicide vest, and to turn killing into their life's work.

On this night, it seemed appropriate to freeze the moment just before darkness descended on this part of the planet. Perhaps we'll be a little wiser to this festering cancer by the time the sun reappears tomorrow morning, but based on recent history, you'll forgive me if I have my doubts.


Judy said...

Unfortunately, it will continue...we go over there and tell them how to live...they come over here and protest in the way they feel is most one wins...

MissMeliss said...

The picture is amazing. Profound, even. It speaks to me as deeply as your words do, eve though it depicts an ordinary thing.

(Though the ordinary seems to become extraordinary when viewed through YOUR lens, good sir.)

You're in the front of my brain today, so I needed to stop by your blog. I'm glad I did. You always help me see the world in new ways.

Michael Manning said...

Carmi: I recall a professor of mine at UT-Dallas who said, "I don't have an answer. But I know there is one". Nations will have to come together and be very vigilant as we work together to find that answer.