Bombings! Mass shootings! Bloody massacres run amok! The news is full of it. I can’t bear to look. I can’t look away. Compelling horror! Heartbreaking pain! Will this nightmare never end? How can I awaken from it?
“Who ARE you?” I ask.
“What do you WANT of me?” I beseech.
“Why this awfulness to all that is held dear?”
“I am the Extreme Dark Side of your soul” is the reply I get. “I am all that you find repugnant, unacceptable, and therefore refuse to acknowledge or admit or notice; I am the collective of all that is disenfranchised, cast aside as not worthy of your attention, or of your image of yourself. I am a magnet for all those who suffer at your hands. Even your media shuns me. Did you think that if you just didn’t pay attention that I would go away? I will not go away for I am a part of you. I am that which you alienate and shut out. Now I am angry. I am armed. And I seek revenge!
“You have denied me your sentiments, your empathy, your care, your media attention and your compassion for decades; so now I have come of age with no feelings for you or for anything or anyone you value. The western world doesn’t care about me, and I no longer care about the western world.
“Ever since the US invaded Iraq in the name of “Liberation” the ensuing chaos has effected everyone’s lives. You broke us at our core. You brought down our leader, you dispersed our army, you destroyed our history preserved in our museums – you tore apart the Fertile Crescent, the birthplace of civilization! You show us no respect, yet you expect us to respect YOU!
“We are a proud patriarchal culture. We have strong rules and strong roles. This invasion and long war has been devastating, especially for the men. Those who survived the bombings and constant shootings and drone attacks find themselves unable to adapt to the necessary changes demanded of them. Our women also feel at a cultural loss, wanting western rights they never had before, our children now want to adapt to western ways. We have no money, no jobs, no place to live, no structure, no role-models. Our culture has been decimated. Civil war broke us, along with the loss of our homes, government, army and infra-structure. You broke us, but you didn’t help to rebuild what you broke. We hate you for that!
“I hate what you stand for: your rapacious greed, your crass consumer mentality, your lack of respect and compassion for those who are different, who think different, who have different ways, and to whom the worship of a different God is everything. I will make my hatred felt. I am anger and pain and suffering personified … and glorified! I have nothing to lose, for I care for nothing and no one except the purity and glory of the Islamic state. I feel NOTHING for western culture. By your sentimental standards, I have no heart, no soul. I crave only revenge and power. And I will have it at any cost.
“I, your Extreme Dark Shadow, have been weaned and trained by the BEST: your violent video games where killing and explosions are viewed as sport and entertainment. Violent films imprinted on my innocent mind and the minds of my children. The random violence of your drone attacks upon entire families, sacred ceremonies, weddings, sites of worship, hospitals, with generations killed and maimed. Violence and death is now a way of life for all those around me. I am re-born of violence: YOUR violence upon me and my people. I have been stripped of everything but violence, revenge and pride. Violence is my mantra. Suffering fuels me. Martyrdom is Godliness. I am unstoppable because I have been reduced to my creed, and belief system. The more you kill me the more I multiply. You destroyed our land, our homes and our culture, all that we held sacred. Now we will ruin you and yours! We will take over your news, we will dominate your TV and the headlines of your media. We will be in your FACE!
“Actually, there are some things about our two cultures that are not that different: war makes your economy richer. You sell arms to any and everybody. We get your weapons and use your weapons to kill YOU! You see? It’s all the same win/win mentality. We each benefit! We are also the same in that we both seek power and world domination. You call it Democracy, which is just another word for oil. Everyone knows that. We call it the Islamic State.
“While you were preoccupied with the numbers on Wall Street, my numbers grew daily from all the people of the world upon whom you have imposed a life of suffering and exploitation. From out of the devastation arises a new entity: that of ISIS!. If you want to put a face on it you have only to look in the mirror! I am the Extreme Dark Side of your soul. I am all that you refuse to see or acknowledge or own. I am the Dark fruit of your actions to conquer and destroy. I am the truth that hides behind your hypocrisy of images and lies. You expect my values to change while yours remain the same? It doesn’t work like that. My values will not change until your values change for we are locked in a chain link.”
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In searching for answers to my questions, I got a little closer to what is going on here, and to the realization that this is a complex situation that calls for deep understanding and a great sense of humanity, for the pain and bloodshed from it is Real and it touches us all at our core.