The age of superheroes and contemporary anxiety
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.