Suicide Pax: Afghanistan! (a fantasy in four-part disharmony)

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Hamid Karzai and me

I had it all planned out: this would be perfect, for myself and for the world. For myself, of course, the advantages of checking out of this cheap hotel early are obvious: 1) no old age, 2) no more taxes, and 3) I can’t find anything I want to read, anyway. But that’s too easy. I want to make a statement. To go out like a dog under a car’s wheel has no class, no style, no eminence worthwhile, just mort a credit and settle the score with a Visa card that won’t be used any more, do final reckonings later, no insurance anyway, so why not?

We’ve all heard of suicide bombers, but what about suicide peacemakers? Positively inspired by the Buddhist priests who self-immolated to protest the Vietnam war in the 60’s and those who protest the Chinese takeover of Tibet to this day, and not so positively inspired by Islamic martyrs and wannabes who take others down with them (not cool) in Palestine, Iraq and wherever life’s cheap, I figure it’s time the Western Christ-born throw in their two cents.

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My room, my guard

Here’s the plan: With Afghan elections looming large in 2014, US-Allied forces looming lame and the prognostications for the future increasingly alarming, I decide I’ll go see if I can bring things to a frothy head, all by myself, and maybe make a statement for the world at the same time. After all, there are no travel restrictions to Afghanistan—never have been, as far as I know.

So, as I imagine it: all the religious and political armies would be lined up on different sides. If Kabul were by chance to have a central public square, then that would be perfect, and all possible warring parties could have their own side: Taliban, Americans and Afghan allies… who else? Maybe Jews for a religious monotheistic trilogy, and… and… Communists, maybe? Afghans were a de facto part of the USSR for a decade or so, weren’t they? No, we’ll have capitalists instead of Jews; there’s a certain symmetry there…

Okay, great, so we’re all set: four sides of a public park are all ‘squared’ off (yes!), with guns drawn and loaded, at truce if not peace, fingers at the trigger, cocked and loaded on hashish, if not liquor. And I stroll right into their midst and start with the most obvious elephant in the room:

“Hey, you there, Mr. American! Why are you so far from home? How are things back in Peoria? What are you doing here, anyway? Do you think if you kill one more Muslim that your life will be better? Then kill me. I’m Muslim. الله أكبر”

There is no response from the Americans. They look dumbfounded. So I turn to the Taliban.

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Bling in wartime

“Hey, you, Mr. Taliban! Are you enjoying your tour of duty? How is the war effort going for you today? You’re Muslim, right? Do you think that if you kill one more Christian that your life will be better? Then kill me. I’m Christian. And may God’s love be with you.”

Ditto the Taliban. They barely take their eyeballs off their rifle scopes. So I turn to the Communists.

“Hey, Mr. Communist! How is your movement going, toward world socialism? Seems a bit slow lately, doesn’t it? Do you think that maybe if you killed just one more capitalist, that your fortunes would improve? Then kill me. I’m a capitalist. Invest in the future!”

There is no response from the Communists. So I turn to the capitalists.

“Hey, Mr. Capitalist. It’s a fine mess you’ve made of this world. So what are you going to do now? Do you think if you’d just killed maybe one more Communist, then everything would be perfect in the world? Then kill me. I’m Communist. The world belongs to the proletariat!”

There is no response from the capitalists. There is no response from anybody. They all look at each other, and then look around. Then so do I. “So, what are you waiting for? Won’t killing me solve all your problems?” I wave my arms for emphasis. For a minute there, I almost thought that they’d lay down their arms and embrace each other, if not me. The suspense is killing me, pun intended. “Well?”

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Plotting market strategies

One by one, they lift their guns and point them at me. Still, nobody does anything, as if they’re all waiting for some invisible signal from somewhere. Then it happens. A shot rings out, then another and another. I start to feel them, ripping into my body, one at the time, then faster and faster. I can feel them coming and some even going, entering with a little ‘plink’ then exiting with a little ‘plonk’, as if my body were sucking the bullets in and spitting them out, like watermelon seeds on a hot summer night’s picnic in Mississippi.

It feels good in a certain way: penetration, like sex, taking it, taking it all in, taking it deep inside me. It’s making me hungry. And all the attention is flattering, in a strange kind of way. So this is the thrill that masochists get, the thrill of pain, torture, distress at the hands of others. Is this what it’s like to be a female, or black?

No, this is what it’s like to be a Buddhist, taking it in but not giving it back. I manage to stand for a long time, ‘standing my ground’, so to speak, trying to convince myself that the bullets can do me no harm; but they can, of course. Finally I fall. The bullets stop—and the blood starts, steadily pooling up on the ground.

RRRrrrinnnggg.  Huh? Who could that be? I look at my cell-phone. I know that number.

 …to be continued…

 

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