A Distant Violence

Can you hear it?  Does the howling of far away agony fill your heart with despair?  Do you tremble – sometimes in rage and sometimes in fear for a world gone wild?  Do you tire?  Does the unrelenting insolence of the pain lead you to exhaustion?  These are the symptoms of a distant violence; they are the truths of a world on fire.

From the euphoria of the Arab Spring has emerged the harsh reality that things are not so quickly changed – or with such ease.  Institutions that never existed are unable to protect the recently liberated from each other.  Violence begets violence as the illegitimate rulers fight their own people for control – and the blood shed daily is not enough to bring a halt to the massacres.  

Across the world we are faring little better.  South of our border, the most violent of continents generates an un-ending parade of widows and orphans.  Governments that are craftily seeking retaliation, retribution, and revolution use the violence to keep the pressure on – knowing the first to tire are always those without the white-hot fire of hatred inside.  

Our weary world is experiencing a time of unprecedented change.  It is not change for the better.  Many of the changes simply replace one set of haves with another.  The overthrow of the brutal despots of old is followed by an unending line of newer, perhaps shinier ones.  The common principles that our forefathers set in place so long ago are tearing.  Assaulted from all sides by a tireless foe, and unprotected by the onetime presence of stalwart defenders, they are cracking, creasing and caving.  It does not have to be so – for they remain true.  But truth without defense is like a fortress abandoned to the elements: where time, wind and weather will ultimately prevail.

As rule of law is extinguished in an orgy of death and destruction, that distant violence has caused a tsunami that is starting to lick at our own shores.  Without a stalwart defense abroad, many at home wonder if perhaps the principles which we so enthusiastically defended for two centuries weren’t in fact just another in a long line of imperial pretensions.  Without so great a defense as we have had in the past, our people fall prey to the soothsayers who say that perchance there is another way.  Maybe the individual, universal, inalienable, irreversible and un-renounceable rights which served as the skeleton for the greatest of societies are themselves only a step on the ladder of social evolution.

This is a dangerous doctrine; forged in the foundries of our burning world.      

We must be careful, lest we allow this distant violence go un-answered.  If we do not meet it boldly, help extinguish it with patience and perseverance and guide the individuals to themselves emerge upon the principles that Fukuyama called “the end of history”, ours will be a more dangerous world; and we will bequeath only one birthright upon those that follow – more human misery.

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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