It is predictable, of course. Sporadic interface between journalists and their readership is part of the ebb and flow of journalism.
A few days ago I received a sixteen page “Counterpunch” from an avatar without a traceable e-mail address. Whether unknown Talib, loyalists for HizbAllah or anti-West sympathizers the thematic cadence never varies with agitation propagandists.
The collective “We” have behaved badly for centuries. “They” have collected scraps of historical information in a hoarding manner. “We” are going to pay! I have never seen a demographic more intent with the task of archiving grievances.
The Muslim population has created a vibrant cottage industry. Jihad of the pen is active in my e-mail. Written thrashings are expedited because readers are not in proximity for jihad of the tongue. But e-mail is just a click away. You are practically in my living room. Welcome, to my home.
Documents titled “Counterpunch” are the usual death by a thousand paper cuts. But I am not the one being cut. The screeches and howls are acts of self-injury. It just feels so good to cut into the skin. The cut is not deep enough to cause any real muscle harm. But it is deep enough to observe how the human corpus is dependent on blood for daily activities. Jihad is also dependent on a steady supply of the same.
When individuals deliberately hurt themselves to cope with overwhelming emotions like anxiety, anger or intense sadness the generic designation is self-mutilation. The behavior is usually very secretive and somewhat like a sacred rite. So sacred is the rite and necessary for preservation of ego that individuals will cover up their cuts and scars to avoid detection. An interesting note is that individuals prone to these injurious activities rarely feel better after the fact. The action relieves the anxiety of the moment. But to feel better, the action must be repeated again and again. Such people are also more likely to commit suicide because of their deep-seated emotional needs.
In actuality, these self-mutilating archivists of war rarely commit suicide. They introduce others to their craft and are proud of their work. If indoctrination moves along at a nice clip the results can be spectacular. When receiving lengthy documents from readers I always do an initial scan. At a later time I revisit documents and red line various thoughts. Let me walk you through just one of the paper cuts. Learn something from this process. Freedom of expression allows us to exercise our powers of discernment. This is a gift from God.
Sample Paper Cut:
“Launch the Gallipoli blood bath….”
The Battle of Gallipoli was an unsuccessful attempt mounted by the Allied forces in World War I to control the sea route from Europe to Russia. It was preceded by a naval attack on the Dardanelles, the strait which divides Gallipoli from mainland Turkey. As a former Naval Officer I understand the geopolitical implications of controlling oceanic lanes of commerce. Choke point theory is the granular application of the same when discussing dominance within the straits. As the British ships sailed toward the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, countermeasures were already in play. The attack that played out on the main beach and five other LZ (landing zone) was the first modern amphibious assault. Sea foam carried the blood along – a testament to resolve and folly during time of war. But there were many other plates which were also spinning.
We are less likely to ponder the result when Germans released the first large scale poison gas attack at Ypres, Belgium. Five thousand British, French and Canadian troops lost their lives. From sea foam speckled with blood to flash pulmonary edema tinged with blood, war is always a tragic affair. My personal library has a favorite selection: The Anatomy of Courage by Lord Moran. It is an account of the psychological effects of war upon the souls of men. War may be an act of controlled chaos. But none can control the sequela of war. As a flanking issue, the reader asks how it is that “ISIS is exporting oil on the market for $40 million per month?” The oil fields are functional despite months of bombing. Perhaps strategic bombing is meant to preserve infrastructure? Perhaps future revenue streams are needed for a legitimate government? The answer is above the pay grade of most officers. Journalists can merely hope for an “anonymous leak”.
Death by a thousand paper cuts…. and at higher echelons the real decisions are being made. Contingency plans are being updated. Macro-to-micro applications are discussed. Polished brass display feet of clay. But this is the nature of war and the history of man.
Far from the tumult of the battle is the acrid smell which reaches the nostrils of the journalist. I contemplate the obvious. The Western world behaves and thinks differently than our Arab cousins.
The bombing of Pearl Harbor? That was then but this is now. 21st century Americans do not hate the Japanese nor look at them with suspicion. Nazi Germany? We remember, but it is without intense personal hatred. The river cruises and a trip to the European Christmas markets await us. Our paradigm is different, our posture softens, and our grudges set aside because of how we view the timeline. Progress requires optic nerves wired to the front of the head. What does tomorrow hold? What future is available for our descendants?
When receiving e-mails which are death by a thousand paper cuts I simply smile. There is a classic scene from the film, “Revenge of the Pink Panther”. A man outside the doorway lights the wick of a crude bomb and hands it to Inspector Clouseau. As the inspector examines the bomb he casually asks his companions,
– “A bomb? Were you expecting a bomb?”
– No, I was not expecting a bomb. But neither, am I surprised.