Friday, November 20, 2009

The age of superheroes and contemporary anxiety

I have not read comic books since I was a nerdy teenager tampering with writing computer programmes and believing I was some kind of genius- would- be- hacker. 
But this year a republished 80s graphic novel story caught my eye. I missed it because at the time it was issued my favourite magazines and papers had started to trickle down in the bookshops in Tripoli.

So when I was filling up my basket with all sorts of books on one of my trips this year the beautiful colours on the cover  " The Watchmen " caught my eye . So I could not resist... it then lay  for months on a shelf in my room when it finally got picked up to be read on a flight where I knew there would be no movies.

The flight went like a dream and I spent the night completing the book at the hotel instead of doing my homework. Gripping plot!

Reading the book I  felt nostalgia towards the Superman era when as a child, part of me wanted to  believe he was real. But unlike Superman, the Watchmen at the end of the day were very much human and that is their appeal and that is also what makes us slightly uneasy...

We all love heroes and I think we Arabs more than others perhaps adore them, I think many of us are probably waiting hoping deep down inside for a superhero to redress the wrongs, free Palestine, unite the Arabs and generally create a miracle. This story shows that heroes whether human or not actually have limited powers just like the Greek Gods and if we believe that they are omnipotent then we are in for trouble.
However,  I enjoyed the story on another level as well.. I had forgotten that back in the 80s the world was griped by a bloody superpower proxy war which started technically with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan  against the backdrop of  the India - Pakistan conflict. I forgot how much Afghanistan and Vietnam were very much present for Americans and by proxy the rest of the world had to suffer too.  I did not realise how much the ordinary American people feared communism to the extent of paranoia and hatred. How much they were afraid that a nuclear war on them would take place ( and they still do but a bit less now,  forgetting they were the only nation who had ever used nukes on humans ) and how much this fear had warped the thinking. How much they were seeking WMD to give them a tactical advantage.

Reading the Watchmen I realised that this fear is very much true for people on the street and that the media,  politicians'  ego and ambitions and business corporations are the main culprits and the root of all evil.
This 'comic' transported me for a few hours back in history.
The handling of Afghanistan 20 years ago has put the wheels in motion for  this century's worldstage  anxieties. The scarriest bit is that no one has learnt the lesson and that it is still business as usual. When will we realise that a hero does not simply appear to save us while we wait at the bus stop of life.  The hero is within each one of us ready to pounce and seize the day when we are ready to shed our fears!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

'Investing' in Northern Ireland

I wrote this post lamenting hypocrisy in the Western world with regards to the IRA case. As expected only non - Europeans and non-Americans supported my opinion.

I would have been pleasantly surprised if someone from those two categories had come forth and said yes I agree with you Highlander, the United States IS hypocritical in its stance towards this issue and the involvement of its own citizens and organisations in the terrorism that the IRA perpetrated decades ago; and the Irish need ALSO to bear responsibility for these atrocities, because they are both the PRIMARY sources of funding.

Only reader Craig said: " It's very odd. I can't find any mention of the compensation payments the Irish made for IRA terrorism? I even tried a variety of Google searches. Nada. Every hit comes back talking about Libya. I find it completely baffling that the British would demand compensation from a secondary source when they haven't gotten any compensation - nor appear to have even sought any - from the primary source."

That's not bad as comments go :) at least he acknowledged something ( but against the Brits), I'm not sure if I should give him the benefit of the doubt that by 'Irish' he meant Irish-Americans :P most probably not and though I'm glad he noted the above I still wish the British Government had the guts to ask American citizens for compensation for the victims of IRA terrorism funded by their money and have a delegation from Northern Ireland visit the US and Ireland to talk about this and show them how their material support has hurt people. I mean they can get the names of every individual who transferred money, like they do when I transfer more than 50$ outside Libya and it has to go through US banks before going to the florist in Britain with whom I ordered flowers for a friend's party!

Instead we have to suffer this ignominy and alone pay the price for the other two countries who were the major contributors to the conflict ! see below:

Just hot of the news: "A delegation of politicians has just returned from Libya [.]The team presented a proposal that Libya participate in a humanitarian programme for peace and reconciliation for the benefit of all affected in the United Kingdom, particularly in Northern Ireland.
The proposal includes substantial business and infrastructure investment and wide-ranging community development projects aimed at bringing closure for those who have suffered in the past, including resolution of existing claims by UK citizens involving Libya."

We will probably end up paying more than Italy's measly 5 billion $ (over 25 years) for actually decimating the Libyan population, ridiculous indeed .

Can you tell I'm 'upset' :P