The Unbearable Bleakness of Being
Is it the early rains? Being tired of lugging my painful foot around? I think it's the hangover from watching evil run amok in Ken Burns' "The War" combined with the malaise from reading The Bookseller of Kabul, yet another dispiriting account of what passes for life in Afghanistan.
Years ago, I saw the films Osama and Kandahar and experienced a bowel-shaking terror of the Taliban's evangelical Islam. These films' narratives centered on the female gender, and I could not help identifying with the characters.
There is no doubt that the Taliban, and other crusaders for fundamentalist Islam, stand for a travesty of everything human: free will, thought, feeling, artistic expression, the yearning for freedom and equality. Imagine a place where to laugh, dance or sing is suspect. Of course, if you are female in Afghanistan, chances are you will never have any reason to do any of those.
But women are just the ones who are in for the most brutal treatment, as a rule. The message I get when I ponder these pitiful states of being is that when history doesn't go your way, whoever you are, you are really screwed. Things may eventually improve for humankind in general, the brutal war or ruthless regime may end, but in the meantime individuals will suffer to no end.
This is an apocalyptic condition. And those who believe the end of time has a set date, need only read the daily news to see it has already arrived for many people.