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In Catalonia, there’s a summer drink that combines beer with lemon soda. In Barcelona, it’s called “clara.” Further South, it’s dubbed, most charmingly, a “champu,” as in Head and Shoulders. Champu is quite good at eliminating the dandruff inside your skull.

It is late summer, and I’m in Cambrils, drinking my second champu in Hawaii, a beach bar. The tables around me are mostly empty. I face the ocean. There are few bodies on the sand, and fewer in the water. It is peaceful here.

In 2001, Mohammed Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, of 9/11 fame, were in Cambrils, however, and just 2 1/2 weeks ago, five Muslim “terrorists” were killed by police a few hundred feet from where I’m sitting.

It is said that at 1:15AM on August 18th, these Muslims drove their car through a police checkpoint outside the yacht club, then ran over six people, three of whom were cops. The three civilians were an old couple, and the woman’s sister. The wife, 61-year-old Ana Maria Suarez, died.

Exiting their car with knives and an ax, four Muslims were killed immediately by police, while the fifth was gunned down 270 meters away, but not before he had stabbed a civilian and taunted the cops, it is claimed.

A cellphone video shows an unarmed Moussa Oukabir, 17-years-old, acting rather hysterical, but you would be too if you had just witnessed four of your friends murdered. Shooting him many times, a cop executed Moussa.

Interestingly, Moussa was located by a helicopter. El Pais, “El quinto terrorista ha sido abatido poco después cuando ha sido localizado desde un helicóptero por los policías.” It was already in the air, get it? It seems they had tracked these five Muslim youths to Cambrils and killed them. That evening, these kids were caught on a service station’s camera. Buying snacks and sodas, they appeared quite relaxed because they had no idea what awaited them.

After Trotsky’s skull was cracked by an ice pick, the 60-year-old still had enough sense to order his bodyguards to not silence his assassin, “No, he must not be killed. He must talk.” When it comes to Muslims these days, the running order seems to be, “Kill them all so they can’t talk and contradict our bullshit charges against them.”

How many Muslims are needed to drive one suicide car? Five, of course. What’s the best, most lethal vehicle for the purpose? The compact Audi A3, naturally. What’s the best time to stage such an attack? 1:15AM, grasshopper, when there are almost nobody on the Paseo Maritimo. Finally, what should you wear for such a momentous and self-defining occasion? Fake suicide vests, stupid, because they serve no purpose besides giving cops an excuse to perforate you immediately.

I go to the spot where Moussa Oukabir was murdered to find women pushing strollers and kids on bikes. Life is back to normal. Outside the yacht club, there’s a cop with a submachine gun, however, with two toddlers within four feet of him. Seeing the armed man, the girl points. They create a false problem, then bring the solution, which you welcome because you don’t realize that it will be used to solve you.

Astonishingly moronic, the five Muslims in Cambrils made all the worst choices possible, but the rest of their “terrorist cell” weren’t any smarter, it is said.

Eight hours earlier, a van had killed 14 people and injured 130+ more in Barcelona, and the purported driver of that van, 22-year-old Younes Aboyaaqoub, had rented the vehicle with his own credit card. Very stupid. He also left his IDs in a second van, meant as a get-away car.

From 9/11, Charlie Hebdo, Paris’ Bataclan Concert Hall, Berlin’s Christmas Market to Barcelona, etc., Muslim mass murderers seem expert at leaving behind their identity papers. Otherwise, the official narrative can’t be broadcast immediately. Wait a week or a month for a proper investigation, and the public won’t have any idea what you’re talking about, fixated as they are on a Kardashian pumped up buttocks or Messi goal.

In the Catalan incidents, a Muslim who was neither in Barcelona nor Cambrils still managed to leave his identity papers in an incriminating van, it is said. Driss Ukabir had the wits to turn himself in, however, before he was gunned down in the street. Similarly framed, could you be that decisive?

Roberto, a 42-year-old Cambrils resident, reflected, “People are saying how stupid these guys are, because once you drive onto the Paseo Maritimo, you can’t get out! It’s also strange how all five of them were killed, because Spanish cops aren’t like that. You almost never hear about a cop killing anyone here.”

He paused to sip from his glass of Rioja Reserva, pronounced it excellent, leaned back, “All along that street, people were kept inside restaurants and stores until five in the morning.”

“On Las Ramblas in Barcelona, people were kept inside until nearly midnight,” I added.

Jonathan Revusky, “That’s probably because they need all that time to clean up the moulage. Imagine someone tripping over some moulage kit, from the Acme Corporation. That would be some major fuckup, wouldn’t it?”

Trained as an engineer, Roberto has traveled to Iraq and Cuba on business, and now makes most of his money as a musician and singer of bolero classics. “People talk of Europe being overrun by Muslims, but Europe has always been multicultural. Look at the Austro-Hungarian Empire and how many nationalities it had. What Merkel has done in Germany is incredible. She took in a million, a million and a half refugees, and there has been no major problem. It has been a great success, a miracle.”

Roberto’s father is Castillian and his mother, German, so he grew up speaking German also. His maternal grandfather, a Nazi, was killed during the last days of World War II.

On another night, I talked to Francisco, a 69-year-old retired professor of philosophy and English. The Padres resident said, “The new slogan is ‘no tengo miedo,’ but of course, I’m afraid, and many of ex-students are also afraid. When I was teaching, I could see the anger in my Arabic students’ eyes. Feeling socially excluded, of course they’re angry. To tell you the truth, I don’t much like Arab culture, how they treat their women. There are too many psychopaths among them, but of course, there are Spanish psychopaths also.”

Francisco’s favorite country is the United States, “When I came to New York the first time, I was jumping up and down, out of joy! I went to Florida, California. I overstayed my visa, got a job everywhere I went. I was a waiter at a Jewish fraternity. I did drugs with them. It was the 60’s, man. We need another counterculture revolution! There is too much corruption these days. Your average Spanish politician makes 7,000 Euros a month. That should be the minimum income, for everybody!”

Every so often, Francisco would grab his right side, “Oh, it’s my liver,” or his left knee. Two chicas at the next table drew his too naked glances. The restaurant owners are a couple whose husband is Spanish, and the wife, Chinese. One of the waiters is from Venezuela.

 

The Arabic version is here. Below is the unedited, English version:

Firstly, how do like to introduce yourself. Are you a Vietnamese or an American writer?

-Since I write in both English and Vietnamese, I can rightly claim to be an American writer, and a Vietnamese one. Having published ten books in English, however, I’m primarily an American author. As a racial minority, I must be careful to not be marginalized. My latest book, Postcards from the End of America, is an insider’s account of a collapsing United States. Here, I speak as an American, for all Americans.

Your art encompasses many different mediums–at one point you did paintings, you’ve done poetry, fiction, photography, and not to mention your political essays and translation work. How did you get involved with so many different art forms? Which art form is your favorite to work in?

-I wish I could have one more life, so I could have another chance at painting. As a young man, I was consumed by poetry, and though I still believe in it, it is with a much cooler, and perhaps sadder, emotion. I have a new book of poems, A Mere Rica, a wordplay that means, To the Rich Mother. I’m finishing a novel, Trace Vapour. Except when I’m home writing, I’m always photographing. I just returned from eight days in Mexico City, observing and photographing. Street photography makes me more socially adventurous, an antidote to the isolation of writing. I work from an inner compulsion, and my favorite art form is whatever I’m currently engaged with.

You have translated many works (for you and for others). How does the process differ between translating someone else’s work and translating your own?

-I’ve published one anthology of new Vietnamese fiction, and one on poetry. I have also translated international authors into Vietnamese. My one collection of poems in Vietnamese includes works written directly in Vietnamese, as well as variations from my English poems. Translating other people, I’m very strict, conscientious and a willing, self-effacing slave. As a translator also, surely you’re aware of its many pitfalls. Unlike a writer, a translator can flaunt his incompetence in two languages!

Could you talk us about Vietnamese literature and its main issues?

-Vietnamese literature is quite diverse, but if one must generalize, one can say that there’s a deep awareness of history and the more tragic aspects of life. Being born into a small country that’s nearly always threatened by outside forces shapes the collective psychology. The national epic poem, Tale of Kieu, is about a prostitute. Vietnamese know full well that life is a series of often bitter compromises. In Hanoi twenty years ago, I often heard, “Biết rồi, khổ lắm, nói mãi!” It’s from a 1936 novel by Vu Trong Phung. Loosely translated, it means, “I know already, I suffer much, you talk too much!” The Vietnamese ability to laugh in just about any situation can baffle foreigners.

You worked in many jobs and moved to many countries. Could you tell us about the impact of all that on your literary experience?

-As an adult, I’ve lived in the US, Vietnam, Italy, England and Germany, and I’ve visited many more countries. Every society has evolved from an utterly unique set of beliefs and experiences. In the West, the idea that borders don’t really matter has infected many minds, especially those that are relatively untouched by experiences, books or travels, but this madness shall soon pass. Crossing many borders, I know that they are sacred. Much blood has been spilled over every inch.

Is there an influence of the Vietnam War on your writing experience?

-The Vietnam War has taught me that history must be contested, geography is fate, courage is often wasted, cowardice and perfidy are often rewarded, giving birth to a child may be the ultimate cruelty and mass violence is a spectator sport.

By reminding the Vietnam War. Are you now fighting another war against American capitalism?

-The United States has a frightful record of sowing chaos and destruction in countless places, and though it has routinely failed to win wars, its military contractors always make tons of money, so all is well, according to the American ruling elite. War is America’s main business.

Could you tell us about your photography experience that you wandered through the streets of America to portray the displaced and the angry people, what were you aiming for?

-Starting my project in 2009, I already knew the US was in irrevocable decline economically, socially and politically, and this is confirmed with each visit to a new neighborhood, town or city. Everywhere, Americans tell me they’re making less money and struggling more, and this shouldn’t surprise, since most of American manufacturing has been moved overseas, for the cheaper labor. In any American home, there’s hardly anything that’s still made in the USA. With my political writing and photography, I’m documenting this societal unraveling with images and stories from actual people. Talking to them, I learn of their worries, frustrations and dependence on alcohol or drugs to get through a day. Last year, 900 people died of drug overdoses in Philadelphia, my home city of 1.5 million. That’s an insane number.

You are a political writer and you have many political essays. Do not you think that politics can spoil literature?

-Absolutely not. I fully believe that writers should be public intellectuals, and it’s unfortunate that they’ve become increasingly marginalized in all societies. Walt Whitman, George Orwell, Czeslaw Milosz, Milan Kundera, Mahmoud Darwish and Michel Houellebecq, etc., are great primarily because they’re political writers. Now, it’s not a question of being “correct” politically with every issue, but a writer should grapple with the gravest crises afflicting his society. If he doesn’t, who will?

You are a rebel writer and often uncommitted with the protocols that your fellow writers are keen on, why?

-Most American writers are employed by universities, so they have to watch what they say. Even as a student three decades ago, I learnt that American universities were very conformist, and the situation has gotten much, much worse. Since I’m not a professor, I can speak my mind without fear of reprisals or losing my job. I publish all of my articles for free, and am dependent on monetary contributions from ordinary readers. I don’t write for my fellow writers but taxi drivers, housewives, bartenders and plumbers.

The US media is controlled by just a handful of corporations, so opinions are actually very tightly controlled, despite the existence of many television stations, magazines and newspapers. The better I become as a writer and thinker, the fewer mainstream venues are available to me, but my readership has actually increased, thanks to the alternative media online.

In one of your stories, you used to point out that books protect their reader from the destruction of wars. How does that happen?

-In this story, I depict an illiterate who carries many books around as status symbols and talismans. At the end, his entire village is destroyed, but this fool is saved, literally, by “at least ten thousand books.” Beyond the joke is my acknowledgment that words can dignify, if not quite redeem, even the most horrific experiences. Though mostly impotent to alter events or even our own puny fate, we can at least convey, if only fleetingly, our struggles and horrors.

Do you know a lot about Arabic literature? How did you find it?

 

Born in Nghe An, he quit school after the 9th grade to start working full time at 15-years-old. He got a job in Saigon, then Phu Quoc Island, the southernmost part of Vietnam. He visited Hanoi and remote Dien Bien Phu, right on the Laotian border.

At 18, he agreed to pay $15,000 to be smuggled into the European Union. The first installment was only $500, however, for which he was flown to Moscow, where he stayed in a house for a month, seeing nothing of Russia, until he and other illegal immigrants were driven to Lithuania, with the intention of entering Poland.

Driving down the road quite openly, they were pulled over by cops, thus he ended up spending a month in a Lithuanian prison, then deported to Vietnam.

Thuy, “Western jails are fantastic. I had my own room, three meals a day, delivered right to my door, and I didn’t even have to do my own dishes. The food was great. I gained ten kilograms [22 pounds]. We had exercise equipment, time to play soccer. I’d gladly have stayed in that jail for an entire year.”

The smugglers refunded his $500, so it was like a vacation of sort, a three-country adventure, counting Belarus, “If they had taken our money without bringing us to Europe, who would use their service again?”

Next, he bought someone’s identity for $20,000. Using this man’s scholastic credentials, he enrolled in a Spanish university then flew to Barcelona with the man’s doctored passport. There, he stayed but a week, seeing nada, before flying to Paris.

In the French capital, he does construction work on an all-Vietnamese crew, for which he’s paid 90 Euros a day, under the table. He lives in a one-bedroom apartment with three other Vietnamese, one woman and two men. Sharing one bedroom, they sleep on two beds, with the three males arrayed on one, “We’re all related, with the same last name and from the same district even, Dien Chau.”

Central Vietnam is known for its poor soil and people, but Dien Chau, with its dusty, potholed streets and spartan stores, is particularly dismal. In Paris, he lives in the 13th Arrondissement, among many Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodians, Laotians and Thais. I remember some hideous high-rises there, but also one of my best Vietnamese meals ever. Ah, the caramelized pork and eggs!

Each Sunday, a hundred Vietnamese, easy, hang out in a 13th arrondissement park, where they drink beer, sing karaoke and buy food from ambulant peddlers, all illegal, of course, though reasonably discreet. There are similar food purveyors in ethnic neighborhoods across the USA.

“Everyone has a good time. Even some Frenchmen join us. Many of the Vietnamese also speak French. Sometimes, we get carried away and sing too late into the evening, so somebody will have to call the police. That rarely happens, though.”

Working his tail off, he paid off his smuggling fee four months ago, and even bought a 790 Euro cellphone. He wears Adidas, sports a quiff haircut. Life’s good, “The best thing about living here is that you don’t have to worry about anyone harassing you. In Vietnam, when you see a cop, you get very nervous, but the French police are here to protect you. All you have to do is work hard. No one will bother you.”

He has never encountered any prejudice, “Everyone is very nice. Two doors from us, there’s a Muslim family who often bring us food. If they make something nice, they’ll share it with us, and we also bring them food. If we go to the beach, we’ll buy some shrimps or lobsters for them.”

This, despite any of the Vietnamese being able to carry on a conversation with their Muslim neighbors, “Next month, I will start my French lessons. It’s in the evening, three times a week, and costs 200 Euros a month.”

When he gets a chance, he roams around by train or bus. His housemates are not so adventurous. “They just stay around Paris. They think I’m wasting my money, running around, but why not see everything? I have even gone to Berlin, where I have a cousin. I stayed there a week.”

With the global economy still levitating preternaturally and visa-free crossing of many borders, particularly in Europe, we’re living through peak travel. The globe will never be so accessible again.

This week, he asked for five days off, so he could visit Toulouse, Marseille and Cannes, “I’ve been to Marseille twice, but I want to see it again. Last night, my train arrived from Toulouse, but my cousin wasn’t there to pick me up, so I decided to sleep at the station. Around four in the morning, I got robbed by two Arab guys. One guy grabbed my throat, roughed me up a bit, so I gave him my phone and wallet. I’d rather lose my stuff than my life. What I lost, I can make back in a week, but if I had resisted, they might have really hurt me. This is the first time I’ve ever been mugged, but it’s no big deal. You can’t just sit home.”

A few hours later, he met me and Jonathan Revusky on the Place d’Huiles by the Marseilles Old Port. The 21-year-old was sitting outside a closed Le Ginseng, where his cousin’s a waitress.

Staring at a menu on the wall behind him, I made small talk, asked how long he had been in France. Just a year and a half, he said. We moved to nearby Le Cigalon, had a cutthroat beer, chatted.

Enjoying our conversation so much, he accompanied Jonathan Revusky and me to Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, just half a mile away, though steeply uphill. In that 87 degree weather, I was huffing and had to park my lardy ass a couple of times. My new young friend didn’t break a sweat.

Looking at my slumped form, Jon said, “Is this the same Vietnamese that defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu?”

Inside the church, he knelt down and prayed, then bought a crucifix and a Virgin Mary statue for 13 Euros from the gift shop. His cousin had apparently lent him some money. It’s good to belong to a network. He has relatives in England and Poland also. He dreams of going to England, “I hear that life there is really great.”

His name is Thủy, which means water. “You’re meant to flow everywhere,” I said.

“Yes, that’s me,” he laughed.

Devout, he goes to mass every week, at a Vietnamese church in the 17th arrondissement, two metro lines away. He’s planning a Vatican trip. “Many people dream of seeing it at least once in their lifetime. I will actually see it.”

The best view of Marseille is from the northern end of Le Pharo, a park. From that vantage point, you’ll have at your feet the 17th century Fort St Jean, the 19th century cathedral, with its domes, twin spires and banded marble design, and the Old Port with all of its fishing boats and yachts.

“What more do you want?” I marveled. “I can sit here for hours and just look at this.”

Thủy, “And it’s even better when you have a good conversation!”

Deeming the Old Port a terrorist nest, the Germans and their French collaborators raided it in January of 1943, arrested roughly 6,000 individuals, then deported 1,642, 782 of whom were Jews. All the remaining residents of the Old Port, around 30,000 people, were cleared out so it could be dynamited, then rebuilt. In May of 1944, English and American planes bombed the Old Port and killed 1,752 people.

Thủy has no fear of being deported, “I know a guy who’s been here ten years, illegally. As long as I don’t rob or kill anyone, the police won’t bother me, and if I get sent back, I get sent back.”

After we had parted ways with Thủy, Jon observed, “That kid is like the protagonist of a picaresque novel. He’s a contemporary Huckleberry Finn! I can certainly understand the restrictionist point of view on immigration, that people like this should be sent back, but when you meet a kid like this, you really have to be inhuman, to turn off a certain human side of one’s being, in order not to feel some empathy with him.”

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: France, Immigration 

For the price of a Motel 6, Jonathan Revusky and I have three floors in Florensac, a village of 5,000 in southern France. This house is older than the USA, for sure, with raw wooden beams in the ceilings, stone floors, twisting stairs, odd angled walls, and an entrance to the bathroom so low, the owner had to pad the top casing, lest her guests be knocked out cold.

A small couch has a café crème floral design on a faded indigo background. Plopped on top are three cushions of red, red and Prussian blue. A tall casement window stares down at it. Matisse’s ghost must be here. Hi, Henri.

We arrived just in time to catch the Pat Cryspol band performing outdoors for free. Trumpet, trombone, saxophone, bass and drums. In the night, dozens of people, mostly old, were dancing. Dozens more sat at long tables to watch and, when the mood struck, sing along. Près de la grève, souvenez-vous / Des voix de rêve chantaient pour nous / Minute brève du cher passé / Pas encore efface, etc.

After two plastic cups of sangria, bought for two Euros each, we tried a pitcher of rosé for five. Though terrible, it couldn’t ruin our mood, for it was wonderful to see a community enjoying itself. An old lady encouraged Jon to sing, too. For one number, all the dancers formed a large circle, held raised hands and turned clockwise, then vice versa. A boy and a girl, no older than ten, asked if they could clear our table.

Next to the concert area, there was an inflatable slide, shooting gallery, bumper car rinks, merry-go-round and other rides. Cotton candies, churros, hot dogs, pizzas and fries were being sold.

Two police cars, four cops and a bomb sniffing dog guarded one entrance to the amusement area, but real terrorists would have had no problem causing havoc there, not to mention so many other targets, just in Florensac itself. It’s merely theater and social conditioning, my dear chumps, from the same people who brought us 9/11 and the endless War on Terror.

We met a Poland-born retired professor who’s living in Germany, “I had a house here for twenty years. I come back often. Florensac is wonderful. It is peaceful, and there is never any problem.”

We were sitting at a round wooden table under a maple tree. His wife and daughter were also present. College professors are conditioned to pontificate because, well, they’re always surrounded by blank slates. I addressed him, “In the US, many people think that Europe is being overrun by immigrants. Do you think that’s the case? Are people grumbling here?”

“Here, we think the US is being overrun by immigrants! We keep hearing all this talk about Mexicans this, Mexicans that.” The man laughed and grabbed the stem of his Bordeaux glass.

“Are there many Muslims in this town?”

“Maybe 7%, but they’ve been here a long time and very well integrated. If you go to the main square in the evening, you will see about 20 Muslim men, sitting on benches and talking. They don’t drink alcohol. It’s their way.”

“So there is no tension here?”

“No, not at all, although about 50% voted for the National Front during the last election. They don’t like the news coming out of Germany. Merkel has caused a lot of problems by inviting the immigrants.”

In Florensac, there are two kebab joints. At the weekly farmer’s market, there’s a very popular truck that sells Vietnamese spring rolls, rice noodles, Chinese dim sums, Thai curried chicken and other Asian dishes. Its proprietor is a 25-year-old born in France. His parents immigrated here from Nha Trang.

At Bistro d’Alex, the waiter is from Coventry, England. He’s been in France for nine years. When told that I was from Philly, the man shouted, “I must go there some day, to try the famous sandwich!”

“Oh man,” I laughed, “it’s seriously overrated.”

Later, I remarked to Jon, “Most Americans don’t even have access to a decent loaf of bread, man. This is basic stuff. They hardly know what cheese is. How did that happen? In the ‘greatest country on earth,’ people are fed fake bread, cheese and news!”

Each day at dawn, the church bell peals in Florensac, then tolls again an hour later. The boulangeries open at six, for bread should be bought daily, and eaten the same day. Seeing your baker each morning, he becomes practically a part of your family.

Since this is Occitan country, the street signs are in French and Occitan. The Occitan cross shows up in shops and even cars. Regionalism rules, as it should. Famous Occitans include Petronius, Balzac, Ingres, Lautreamont, Valery, Artaud, Ponge and Duras.

In nearby Olargues, I saw a graffiti, “C’EST LA TERRE, NOTRE RELIGION” [“IT’S THE LAND, OUR RELIGION”]. A small museum displayed mostly daily objects donated from the locals. The man at the desk, though, was a Brit. A baker for 20 years in Tavistock, near Plymouth, Bill moved to Olargues 15 years ago, “We decided we wanted something in the 34th département, so we drove around. We saw this real estate agent. He showed us a few things. We saw the house and liked it so much, we put a deposit on it the same day. It’s as simple as that. The house we bought was in fairly good condition, it didn’t need any work on it, and it was about half the price of places in England. When we sold our place in England, the extra half gave us the money to live on.”

“Buying a place here allowed you to retire early!” I said.

“Exactly! Moving to France allowed me to retire at 52. I have my pension now. I have no regrets.”

“How much French did you have when you first came?”

“Oh, just schoolboy French, not very good, but my wife’s French was very, very good. All the legal papers, all the dealings with the real estate agent, I just pushed it in front of her and said, ‘You sort it out!’ Since I’ve been here, my French has improved by leaps and bounds, because you use it all the time, you know, and I’m on the council now, so my French has definitely improved.”

“The council?”

“The town council. There are 15 of us. We meet every week. Old guys, mostly. The town is getting older, but there are still young people here. Some of them work in the city. It’s an hour away.”

By city, Bill meant Béziers, population 76,000. Despite its modest size, it has a huge and lively downtown. In 1209, Catholics troops besieged a Carthar-occupied Béziers, which prompted the papal legate to famously advise, “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.” Bastardized, it’s best known in English as, “Kill them all. Let God sort them out.”

Bill, “Some of the people here may work in Montpelier, they may have a flat there, but they come back here on the weekend.”

“So they’re still very attached to this place.”

“Oh, yes. A lot of these old places that don’t look inhabited, the people may work in the north of France or wherever, but all the family come back during the Summer. They still keep their family homes. These may look pretty tatty on the outside, but on the inside, they’re fine.”

“Do you go back to England often?”

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: France, Immigration, Muslims 

The Muslim conquest of Hispania began in 711 and ended in 1492. In Catalonia, they were expelled by 1154, with their last stronghold the mountainous village of Siurana, which today has but 39 residents, though with several restaurants for tourists.

Walking through it, I almost felt like I was in a theme park or movie set, for everything was overly determined, with few loose ends that are inevitable in a more natural, thus more chaotic, environment. Though with almost no child residents, there were a dozen kids’ drawings strung up along an ancient stone wall, as if to suggest there was still a school in this lonely outpost. Speaking half a dozen languages, two hundred or so tourists wandered about to stare at everything. Unlike in other Spanish villages, there were no old people conversing in the shade. A few Muslims have returned to toil in kitchens.

Going to Siurana in a rented Fiat, Jonathan Revusky and I stopped at a handful of other villages in various states of decline, with one, La Mussara, completely abandoned since 1959. It’s home to about 50 sheep, however, and we chatted briefly with their owner, a smiling, middle-aged fellow who lived two villages away. Reduced to a wrecked church and seven other ruins, La Mussara also lingers on through a Catalan phrase, “baixar de la Mussara,” which means being so ignorant of something the rest of the world is aware of.

On August 12th, news came that a man had plowed into a crowd in Charlottesville, and even the sheep of La Mussara must know about it by now, for what happens in the US reverberates around the world. Sitting beneath the awning of a beachside café in Tarragona, I opened El Diari to find a cartoon mocking Trump’s inadequate response. Next to it was an editorial, “Teaching Hate” [“Enseñar a odiar”] Though brief, it assumes many of the prescribed postures that deform our reality:

What is the difference between an Islamic terrorist who drives a vehicle against a crowd and a racist who attacks people with his car? None, although the President of the United States, with an attitude that denotes a certain complicity—to minimize such an act is to become an accomplice—treats them in a very different way. From where rises so much hate? Why does hate spread so much faster than any other sentiment? What kind of world will we leave our children? Thinking about all this, I came across an Obama tweet that quotes a reflection Nelson Mandela wrote while in the Roben Island Jail: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Yes, one learns how to hate. And I wonder, then, why so many people are interested in learning how to hate? What benefits do they gain? And, even more gravely, why do so many people follow them?

So hate is taught and inexplicable, and no one hates more than racists, with Trump egging them on, according to this editorialist and thousands of others just like him. The battle, then, is between love and hate, but this dichotomy is false because hate flows from love, for to love anything is to hate what may threaten it.

Differences breed conflicts. Spouses, neighbors, tribes and nations argue and sometimes kill each other. As some old Jew once opined, “To everything there is a season […] A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” More recently, Elie Wiesel wrote, “Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate—healthy, virile hate—for what the German personifies and for what persists in the German. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the dead.”

In 1988, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish penned:

It is time for you to be gone

Live wherever you like, but do not live among us

It is time for you to be gone

Die wherever you like, but do not die among us

For we have work to do in our land

We have the past here

We have the first cry of life

We have the present, the present and the future

We have this world here, and the hereafter

So leave our country

Our land, our sea

Our wheat, our salt, our wounds

Depending on your politics, ethnicity or religion, you might view Wiesel or Darwish as a hate monger, but what’s so unreasonable about asking invaders to leave?

Accepting his Nobel Prize in 1986, Wiesel declared, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Agreeing completely, I think Israel, that alpha terror state, should be dismantled tomorrow, but just for saying that, I will be tagged as a hater or anti-Semite, all for thinking that Arabs shouldn’t be evicted from their homes, shot at, bombed, wrongly imprisoned, economically crippled, daily humiliated and demonized.

As for Charlottesville, of course it’s way too simplistic to brand all those who object to the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue as “racists,” but the entire South has been stigmatized as such since the run-up to the Civil War. Further, all whites are now deemed guilty for just being born white, for whether a blue blood, recent Albanian immigrant or trailer park dwelling grandson of a coal miner, they all benefit from “white privilege,” whereas all “people of colors,” including a Saudi Prince or Silicon Valley Chinese tycoon, belong to the victim class.

Such idiotic and insulting bifurcation is meant to generate civil conflict, and we’re only at the beginning stages of that, with much worse to come, so it’s all going according to their script. Slitting each other’s throat, we can’t even see that our common enemy is the American Israel Empire, or what the Saker calls the AngloZionists.

This week, I met a British expat who’s been in Tarragona seven years. Michael had to leave England because it’s “an extension of America,” and though Spain is still within the American orbit, clearly, it’s not as suffocating. In 2004, Spain had the sense to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, though not before it had lost, quite senselessly, 11 soldiers.

The best private school in Tarragona has English and Chinese as requirements, so they’re already thinking beyond the collapse of the American Israel Empire. As the Chinese and Russians work tirelessly to integrate Eurasia, our rulers can only stage wars and false flags.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Conspiracy Theories, Terrorism 

In 1937, Orwell was shot in the neck during the Spanish Civil War. Known mostly as a political allegorist, Orwell was also a master at describing all that is see­n, heard and felt, so in Homage to Catalonia, you can read about his near death experience, “Roughly speaking it was the sensation of being at the center of an explosion. There seemed to be a loud bang and a blinding flash of light all around me, and I felt a tremendous shock—no pain, only a violent shock, such as you get from an electric terminal; with it a sense of utter weakness, a feeling of being stricken and shriveled up to nothing. The sandbags in front of me receded into immense distance. I fancy you would feel much the same if you were struck by lightning. I knew immediately that I was hit, but because of the seeming bang and flash I thought it was a rifle nearby that had gone off accidentally and shot me. All this happened in a space of time much less than a second.”

After spending several days in Lerida, where he was tended to by sweet, well meaning yet incompetent nurses, Orwell was sent to Tarragona by train. He recovered in a hospital two blocks from where I’m typing this.

Orwell, “I was three or four days at Tarragona. My strength was coming back, and one day, by going slowly, I managed to walk down as far as the beach. It was queer to see the seaside life going on almost as usual; the smart cafés along the promenade and the plump local bourgeoisie bathing and sunning themselves in deck-chairs as though there had not been a war within a thousand miles. Nevertheless, as it happened, I saw a bather drowned, which one would have thought impossible in that shallow and tepid sea.”

The day I arrived in Tarragona, a 25-year-old Russian drowned, so the seemingly impossible keeps on happening. Retracing Orwell’s path down the Rambla, the city’s wide promenade, I ended up at the edge of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Among the handful of people milling about at this early hour, there was a portly Muslim lady in a head scarf. Ten percent of Tarragona are Muslims. Looking down a hundred feet, I noticed a large graffiti in Catalan, “el jovent construim alternatives.” The young build alternatives.

Often, the young also step on the same piles of manure and spout only a slightly different set of nonsense from previous generations. The young are also prone to be manipulated by their cynical and sinister elders. In short, there is rarely anything new in the jejune, just cute, at best, vanity. Artaud, “You are quite unnecessary, young man!”

As you could see, Catalan is at least half decipherable to Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or French speakers, unlike Euskera, the Basque language. Close enough to Castilians, Catalans still see themselves, quite naturally, as a distinct family, so all over Tarragona, there are Catalan flags hanging from balconies. Walking or riding for miles through just about every neighborhood, I have yet to spot a Spanish flag. Draped on any home, it would surely be perceived as a provocation. Shop and product signs are often in Catalan only, and bookstores carry volumes in both Spanish and Catalan, with the former still predominating, however, and the latter heavily subsidized.

On the block where I’m staying, there is a restaurant/bar, Apple, that’s run by a Chinese immigrant who’s been in Spain five years. From eight in the morning until eleven at night, there are always customers sitting at his tables, inside and out. A few feet away is the Tian An-Men restaurant, and around the corner, there is a kebab joint owned by Pakistani immigrants. As with most western European cities, Chinese and kebab eateries sprinkle Tarragona.

On the outskirt of town is City Wok, a huge Chinese-owned buffet that’s always packed with people stuffing their faces. Its employees are Chinese, Pakistanis and one Argentinian. Nearby is Merca China, a big box store selling made-in-China merchandises.

A seafood restaurant, Taller, is owned by a gay couple, with one of them a half Japanese Peruvian. The two waiters at Osteria del Lab are Ukrainian and a chatty dude from Torino. Italian run gelaterie and pizzerie are not uncommon, Pakistanis own many convenience stores and many of the venders at the weekly clothing flea market are Arabs. Nannies and caretakers for the elderly are often Latin Americans. My host, Jonathan Revusky, sometimes hires a Moroccan cleaning lady. Jon’s long-time girlfriend arrived in Spain with a Lithuanian passport, and his daughter’s best friend is Russian.

When Mimi asked Katia if she liked Putin, the 12-year-old answered, “Yes, I love chocolate pudding!”

Though quite cosmopolitan for a small city, Tarragona is still 80% Spanish, and Carlos, a 42-year-old high school math teacher, told me there are no problems with immigrants, for they are quickly assimilating. Many of his students are immigrants.

Carlos has only traveled to four nearby countries. More than Paris or London, his ultimate destination is New York.

Each Friday in Tarragona, there’s an English corner at a bar where expats and learners of English can chatter. At one, I got to know Leo, a middle-aged American who’s been in Tarragona for five years. Leo’s great-great-great grandfather came to America in 1615 from Reus, just 15 minutes from Tarragona, and his family never stopped speaking Castilian Spanish at home, so Leo grew up bilingual in Texas.

“So this is a home coming for you! How often do you return to the US?”

“I don’t want to go back there again!”

“Don’t you still have many relatives there?”

“They can come here to see me. Six of them already have. It’s so much nicer over here.”

“What was the last place you lived in the US?”

“Houston.”

“Oh man!” I laughed. “The freeways, the traffic, Houston sucks!”

“Yes, it does.”

“I like other places in Texas, though.”

“I love Austin. It is one of my favorite cities.”

“Since you’re Spanish, were you ever annoyed at being confused for a Mexican growing up?”

“But I am also Mexican. Texas was Mexican!”

We were sitting at an outside table, in the shadow of the hulking ruins of a Roman wall. The square was filled with people eating and drinking. Half a dozen small kids kicked around a couple of plastic soccer balls. A middle-aged Gypsy played the accordion for tips. It was cool, breezy and quiet enough to talk comfortably.

As a seaside resort, Tarragona has plenty of foreign tourists, but not too many to make the place tacky. Thanks to compounding ineptitudes by Delta Airlines, my plane was more than three hours late leaving Philadelphia, so I ended up being rerouted through Amsterdam. My flight into Barcelona, then, was filled with mostly blonde Dutch vacationers, including many small children. People were literally giddy with laughter, jokes and general goofiness at the promise of being on a Spanish beach in a few hours. A mother sang one verse to her toddler. A twelve-year-old turned around and said “Hola!” to the Spanish young lady next to me.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: 9/11, American Media, Conspiracy Theories 

In a few hours, I’ll fly to Europe, my favorite continent, and why not? Most of my intellectual and artistic heroes are Europeans, Kakfa, Beckmann, Kippenberger, Siebald, Rabelais, Rimbaud, Celine, Orwell, Kundera, Dostoievsky and Milosz, etc. I’ve spent significant time in Italy, England and Germany, and have fond memories of a least a dozen other European countries, all very distinctive from each other. Still.

White culture has dominated much of the world for several centuries, but it is winding down through self hatred. The white left mostly hate whites, while most of the white right are contemptuous of everybody else. Half of whites, then, hate the other half, and contemporary white culture is a degraded mess. Think Katy Perry being breaded, kneaded, garnished then cooked. Free of war and colonialism, whites are doing a fine job of destroying themselves.

Many are cheering. It’s about time! Susan Sontag in 1967, “The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.”

After white hegemony comes Chinese leadership, many whites themselves are hoping. When I was in Leipzig in 2015, a German friend insisted that the Chinese were lifting up the Third World. It was a constructive partnership, he said, unlike murderously exploitative white colonialism. Often citing Andre Vltchek, this man believed that a resurgent Communism would be led by Russia and China. He didn’t care for my observation that the Russians and Chinese had regained their footing, confidence and compass thanks to nationalism. Nationalism is reactionary, he believed. He himself didn’t feel German and could care less for the concept. Most tellingly, this man had never been outside Germany. He didn’t know how grounded to Germany he was.

No population anywhere needs a global ideology. Not only is global solidarity unachievable, but undesirable.

Bereft of a homeland, many Jews dreamt of a international brotherhood, thus the nightmarish chimera of Communism, which is defended to this day by the most emotionally arrested, historically amnesiac or simply hypocritical. Many who extol the virtues of international Communism will also rabidly defend the ultra nationalist and racist state of Israel.

In the popular mind, the evilness of white culture is epitomized by Nazi Germany, with Germans forever stigmatized as the worst of whites. Contemporary Germany, however, is one that supposedly allowed 500+ German women to be sexually assaulted by Muslims in Cologne during New Year’s Eve of 2016. Germany is really that neutered, goes the narrative.

Perhaps emboldened by such, Vietnam recently kidnapped a Vietnamese asylum seeker from the Tiergarten, right in the heart of Berlin, then smuggled him back to Hanoi to stand trial. A former head of the state-owned oil company, Trinh Xuan Thanh is accused of pinching $150 million. Maybe Turkey will follow suit and snatch a few of Edorgan’s enemies?

I’ll be in Barcelona by morning. Emerging from the train onto the Placa de Catalunya in 2003, I encountered so many Africans and Chinese peddling goods, I thought I was in, well, Naples or Belleville in Paris. My mind has been in Spain for weeks. Reading Spanish newspapers, I learnt that a Senegalese had been beaten to death by four other Africans in Salou, just a 15 minute drive from Taragona, where I’ll be staying with Jonathan Revusky.

In Salou in 2015, a Senegalese peddler of pirated DVDs, counterfeit sunglasses and fake handbags jumped to his death from a third floor balcony as police raided his apartment. This led to two days of clashes between 100+ Senegalese and police.

In Florence more than a decade ago, I often ran into Africans selling bogus goods made by Chinese, often in nearby Prato. With a population of 191,104, it has 45,000 Chinese.

Taragona and Bacerlona Provinces are 10% Muslims, the highest in Spain. In Reus, a law was passed in 2014 banning burquas. When it was struck down by the Spanish Supreme Court, this code was revised to ban all full-face coverings, so you best not loiter in the Reus McDonald’s while wearing a motorcycle helmet, baclava or facekini.

I read that in Pizarra, population 8,990, a three-year-old girl was hit by a train. What’s most remarkable is that as news of her disappearance spread around midnight, 300 locals immediately volunteered to search for her. That’s the kind of small town Europe I remember, having spent two years in Certaldo, Italy, population 16,000.

You see, where every stone tells a story, people are ardently loyal to their home turf. Shared history matters. Strip malls don’t. Europe will only be saved if the American empire, with its corrosive ideologies and madnesses, collapses, and this will happen soon enough. There is hope.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Flight from White, Political Correctness 

Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries.
It isn’t hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one.
I hope some day you’ll join us,
And the world will be as one.

If you like these lyrics, you’re most likely to be young, progressive and/or a Westerner. A video of the song begins with John and Yoko walking through a misty woods towards an elegant mansion. Above the door, there’s a sign, “THERE IS NO HERE,” a clear reference to Thomas More’s Utopia, which literally means “no place.” Whereas More was being satirical, Lennon sang “Imagine” quite earnestly, and his admirers see it as an ideal. Considering how things are going in the West, they feel closer to this goal of having no countries than ever. Borders are bad, and nationalism is just another word for Fascism, they believe.

Ensconced in his sumptuous TittenhurstPark estate, Lennon crooned, “Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can.” No, I can’t, John. Mi casa es tu casa is just a figure of speech, amigo. Interviewed by National Public Radio in 2006, Jimmy Carter actually claimed, “And of course, as you know, in many countries around the world—my wife and I have visited about 125 countries—you hear John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ used almost equally with national anthems.”

There is a 2004 film, It’ll Never Last, that’s about three British women with foreign husbands. Aristocratic Alexandra Tolstoy fell in love with a Muslim horseman while on a ten-month trip along the Silk Road. After the wedding, she moved into his grim, Soviet-era apartment on the outskirts of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Patricia from Belfast married Tiziano and moved to Rimini, Italy.

Oxford-graduate Gemma Burford married a Massai warrior and moved into a rural house without running water or electricity in Tanzania.

If differences between countries were merely cosmetic and trivial, for we’re all the same, after all, these women should have been able to adjust well enough to their new environments, but none of these marriages lasted, and the first one to call it quit, even before the film ended, was Patricia. One might think that this is rather surprising, for she didn’t move into that foreign a culture, but of course all societies are alien to any other, and that’s why we have 196 countries, with each subdivided even further. Just as Idaho is not Mississippi, your average Bavarian wouldn’t want to move to Saxony.

Language isn’t just communication but a shared heritage, so if you can’t quite master a new tongue, you don’t quite belong in that community. At her wedding, Patricia pronounced anello [ring] as agnello [lamb], which cracked up the entire church, then at home, Tiziano started to carp about her cooking, and after dinner, he would go to his mama’s house for coffee and only return around 11.

Patricia had become drawn to Italians through the movies, “If I watched a foreign film or something, I liked the tall, dark man with the dark eyes, like Italian people. I just liked someone who was different from myself.” After the breakup, she reflected, “When I look at my wedding video, I just think I was so stupid, so very stupid. So naive.”

Tolstoy could talk to her man in Russian, and she swooned over his boldness, fearlessness and how he rode, so erect and shirtless, on a mare. Shamil also knew Alexandra was destined for him, “For example, I can tell straight away if a horse is right for me.” Bucking the Uzbek just five years later, this perfect horse is now shacked up with Sergei Pugachev, a Russian tycoon. They spend most of their time on the French Riviera.

Tolstoy claims that Putin wants to kill both her and Pugachev, while the Russian government has charged the former banker and shipyard owner with embezzlement. Sheltering Pugachev, France won’t turn him over, however, just as Russia won’t let Uncle Sam snatch Edward Snowden. Countries will always disagree, of course. Nine men, ten opinions. Before the Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo died in custody, Germany had offered him asylum.

Gemma Burford and her Masai beau, Lesikar, fell in love without even a common language, and there were other obstacles, such as the Masai tradition of polygamy. Filmed with several flies buzzing or landing on his face, Lesikar’s dad explained, “I spoke with Gemma’s parents. I said to them I would only agree to the marriage if Gemma would accept the possibility of Lesikar taking another wife.”

For his part, Lesikar was convinced he had found a right mate, “Finding a good wife is as hard as finding good cattle. It’s a matter of luck.”

Gemma’s affable dad recounted his first visit to Tanzania, “That trip was an eye opener. Up to the village, it was horrific, to be honest.” Then, “Most countries, you can talk about things, and people will know what you’re talking about, but there, of course, there was very little you could talk about that you had a common knowledge of, let alone a common interest.”

Still, Mr. Burford came round to embracing his son-in-law, thanks in part to Lesikar’s visit to England, “When he came over, he came dressed as a Masai warrior, with his blankets and his shoes, which are made out of rubber tires, and he also had his great, big 14-inch knife that he had at his side.

“Once he settled in at home, he was fine. The problem comes in trying to feed him. He only eats beef and lamb or goat. They don’t eat anything else. They eat vegetables. They don’t eat any sweet things. They don’t have cakes or anything.

“We were quite surprised at how quickly he picked up things, how bright he was. The thing that strikes you with Lesikar is his smile. The room lights up when Lesikar smiles. Everyone falls for that. He really is a very nice chap, but also very intelligent, we’re beginning to find.”

Lesikar, “The things I missed most were my cows and my family. I didn’t like the food. Although my mother-in-law tried very, very hard to make it tasty, the meat tasted like paper.”

Lesikar was glad to return to his Masai ways, with Gemma joining him. Without resolving the polygamy issue, they wedded after she got pregnant. There is a scene of her doing laundry outside, using a plastic tub, “Yeah, I do feel at home here. I don’t feel as at home here as I want to. I think the more I live here, the more I will feel at home here [...] A lot of people say it all the time, and even here, they say, ‘Ah, you’ll never cope, you’ll never cope.’ Just watch me. OK, I’ll put you on the guest list for our silver wedding, God willing.”

Gemma’s dad had a concern, “I think the one thing with the difference in culture is the worry that the women are regarded, not inferior, but they have their jobs, and the men have their jobs, and the women’s jobs are all the manual work, and the men’s job is thinking and drinking, and I can’t see Gemma settling for that.”

After giving birth to a daughter, Gemma had to confront the issue of female circumcision, “At the moment, there is no other way… for a girl to become a woman. They believe you can’t have a healthy child if you haven’t been circumcised.”

They moved to Arusha, a city of 400,000, and founded a safari business, but the marriage collapsed in 2010, with Lesikar returning to his family and cows. Gemma wrote in 2017, “Lesikar has moved on and had more children, although he hasn’t quite equalled his father’s record yet.” In the film, Lesikar stated, “I am one of nineteen children. Sorry, I mean seventeen.”

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Ethnicity, Nationalism 

All over America, I’ve seen posters warning against drug addictions. In Cheyenne, it’s “METHAMPHETAMINE / Don’t live this tragic story.” A few blocks away, I stepped over used needles on the sidewalk. In Buffalo, it’s an image of a beer bottle and a pill bottle, with “HEROIN addiction starts here…” Appended to it was a homemade sign, “SHOOT YOUR LOCAL HEROIN DEALER.” Also in Buffalo, it’s a photo of a seemingly dead man on the floor, with “Learn how to recognize OPIOID OVERDOSE and SAVE A LIFE.” In Cleveland, it’s a tagged toe in a morgue, with “DEATH BY HEROIN OVERDOSE IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY HAS QUADRUPLED,” and this was in 2014, before the prevalence of fentanyl.

In 2016, Philly had 277 murders and 907 fatal drug overdoses. For 2017, murders are up 21% and drug deaths, 33%. What’s your town’s drug toll?

A 33-year-old friend admits to popping street-bought Xanax every now and then to help her sleep. I suspect she’s on various pills, if not heroin, for she’s always broke and borrowing money. She has a spotty memory, sporadic hygiene and pinpoint pupils.

At Friendly, I sat next to my buddy Jeff, who’s in his late 40’s and HIV positive. Each day, Jeff pops a dozen pills, including Klonopin, a benzodiazepine that can trigger paranoid or suicidal thoughts, as well as degrade your memory, judgment and coordination. Mixed with other substances, particularly alcohol, it can slow your breathing or even kill you. Jeff is always drinking.

“Jeff, man, you’re always so outgoing, so gregarious, I can’t imagine you having anxieties!”

“That’s because of the Klonopin, dude. Without it, I’d be a mess. Without it, I’d be up all night pissed off, you know, about some stupid argument I had 15 years ago, some fight with a hot dog vendor who gave me ketchup instead of mustard!”

“That’s serious.”

“Here’s what it looks like,” Jeff showed me some innocent white pills in a yellow bottle. “You want one?”

“No, thanks.”

Jeff took one out anyway and gave it to the bartender, 42-years-old Lisa. She stashed it away for later.

Lisa is prescribed Buspar, also for anxiety, but it’s weaker than Klonopin and slower to kick in. Lisa justified, “After eight or nine hours here, sometimes you’re, like, whoaaa, so the Buspar helps, but I don’t take it often.” She’s also swallowing pain-killers for a foot.

Down the bar was a new guy, Dominic. It turned out he’s a writer, with a book of stories coming out in 2018. “Congratulations, man!” I shouted. “It’s not easy to get fiction published these days.”

Dominic said he had a story online, “And it has pills in it, too.”

Millions of people ingest pills unnecessarily, but Dominic’s character is a bonafide walking hell. From his “Sick Little Man”:

That’s the core of psychosis, really: sickness. And since your knowledge of the world is filtered through that sickness, the whole world begins to look as grotesque and spoiled as you. And when there’s no good left to spoil, your sickness turns on you, it becomes you, and you the sickness turn on yourself, a black hole for which all things rot and disappear, like light lost in shadow. There’s nothing in this world that doesn’t sicken you to your bones, sad and dank and putrid animals that reek of death and stupidity, a stupidity so hopeless and consuming that you buckle over nauseated, sick to your stomach, sick to your sickness.

In my 20’s and 30’s, I had manic bouts where I thought God spoke to me, and everyone and everything just adored me. Finally, I was in the House of Light, and everything in the world was eager to help me. Unmolestable, at last, I had no anxieties.

As I walked across a bridge, all these hovering pigeons surrounded me and flapped their wings most vigorously. Fanning my face, they just wanted to bring me comfort and joy, you see, but you can’t be that batshit and not pay a price, thus the comedowns were infernal. Still, I visited no doctors, so took no pills. I don’t even like aspirins.

Once in Oakland, though, I bought a homeless woman a beer and a cup of coffee, so she reciprocated with a green pill. As she popped one, I did the same. It’s impolite to not eat or drink what’s offered.

Twenty-seven-years old, Loudmouth Mike was addicted to just about every drug for eight years. In rehab for the last two, he takes Methadone. “It’s also a drug, man, so when I’m walking down the street, it’s like I’m watching TV. Nothing is real.” A maintenance guy for an apartment building, Loudmouth is getting married soon. He’s straightening his life out.

After working eight years for a doctor, 32-year-old June became so depressed over always giving opioids to patients, she had to quit. She now toils in a kitchen.

Twelve years ago, Linda got sick so the doctor gave her pain killers, which increased in quantity and intensity until she was prescribed time-release morphine. Sedated, she became ever more reclusive, to the point of being confined, nearly all day, inside her dark room. She won’t even sit on the porch, much less leave the house.

Five years ago, her husband, Ted, got an inheritance of $120,000, so he suggested, five months later, that they and their two boys take a much needed vacation. Nothing fancy, just a trip to the JerseyShore for a few days. Working a dirty, physical job, Ted was exhausted. Calmly, Linda said that the money was all gone. Worse, she hadn’t paid their rent for seven months.

Most foolishly, Ted not only let it go, but continued to allow Linda to handle the family finance. When Ted got into a minor car accident recently, it turned out Linda had also ignored his car insurance payments, so he may lose his driver’s license, something he needs for work.

Ted’s life insurance had also been nixed due to non payment. The cable television bill, though, was always promptly paid, for Linda had to watch Criminal Mind, Law and Order, Blue Blood and 48 Hours, etc. Television and drugs define happiness for too many Americans. That, and spewing venom online pseudonymously.

When Ted insisted they have a serious conversation, Linda went berserk and called 911, twice. He’s now living in a group home run by a blind nun.

“She’s acting like a typical junkie, Ted,” I said to him over the phone.

“I’m afraid you’re right, Linh. My wife is a different person. We’ve been married 28 years, and for most of that time, I was the happiest husband alive. Even after that inheritance disappeared, I’d not have traded Linda for any wife in the world. She settled me down, cooked, had my friends over for parties. They all envied me, Linh. My wife would rather plant tomatoes in the garden than go shopping. When my dad got sick, Linda took care of him for a couple of years. I’ll always remember that. My wife was perfect, Linh, and always very frugal.”

“Now, she’s lying to you, kicking you out of the house and suing you for support!”

“At 65, I’ve become the AARP poster boy for the opioid epidemic!”

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Drugs, Opioids, White Death 

The Western media shame Germans, stay silent on endless attacks against Muslim countries and insist on massive immigration into mostly white nations.

Meanwhile, false flags are staged that are blamed on Muslims, with the aim of flaming hatred between pale, nominal Christians and darker Muslims, for this animosity distracts from the systematic economic and war crimes committed by our common, mostly hidden rulers.

Until Israel is voided, Muslim societies will continue to be destroyed, thus flooding Europe with Muslim refugees.

For two years, I’ve received reports on Germany from a friend in Frankfurt. Yesterday, Christian sent me his latest, and I responded with six emails, only three of which reached his mailbox. Never before has this happened.

It’s ironic that Christian’s report is mostly about two new laws that allow the German state to monitor its citizens’ electronic communication and to criminalize online statements.

One is popularly dubbed Lauschangriff [Bugging Operation], while the second is called Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz [Network Enforcement Law].

Since my emails to Christian suddenly couldn’t get through, I started to wonder if it was Lauschangriff at work? Whatever. We found another way to communicate. Grimly, Christian relates:

First, some happy news: Bild Zeitung, the German tabloid with the power to make or break politicians, is 65-years-old. Hurrah! Ein Tusch! Due to the joyous event, every household found a Bild in its mailbox. What did we find in there? Half the pages were advertisements and the rest were German politicians, businessmen or other contemporary idols telling us how wonderful our country is, and that we should constantly accept refugees, who will contribute to a better future, etc.

Our chancellor, Mrs. Merkel, tells our happy citizens that Germany stands, above all, for two things: eternal responsibility for the Holocaust and the integration of immigrants. Maybe one needs not wonder why the circulation of Bild-Zeitung has dropped 50% in the last 15 years. Of course, we are told that this was the fault of the bad, bad internet, which makes people more stupid, hateful and misinformed.

While Bild Zeitung was just doing its job of keeping people REALLY dumb and misinformed, our Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, was also busy. Last Thursday, Maas’ wet dream was achieved when the Bundestag decided on a new law for more surveillance of online and messenger services. Germans are now calling it the Lauschangriff [Bugging Operation].

Ah, die Wunder der deutschen Sprache! My beloved mother tongue is full of clear and precise words, and there is also this wonderful German ability to call things by its real names. Just as with the Lügenpresse [lying press], we now have the Lauschangriff. A liberal or leftist who cares more for foreigners than his own people is dubbed a Gutmensch [good man]. Thanks to academics and media pundits, however, we now learn that only bad, hateful people use such terms.

Back to topic: The new law allows the state to secretly hack into computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones and messenger services, etc., to look into all electronic communication, in short, on the pretext of identifying terrorists, a most nebulous term, for any critic of the state may now be labeled a “terrorist.”

Our police and secret services now have legal access to the private data of all citizens.

What a wonderful new world! When a similar law was introduced a decade ago, it was met by fierce resistance from the media and public. Not this time!

Yes, there is the possibility that our highest court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, might yet decide that the new law is unconstitutional, and some in the press are complaining, but there are no street demonstrations or a serious debate about this manifestation of Big Brother. Zero, zilch, nix, nein. People are just too tired, wasted, kaput. They just want to have a good time. Let’s go clubbing or have a barbecue…

And it doesn’t end there, of course: the Bundestag also passed the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz [Network Enforcement Law], which can criminalize online statements as illegal hate postings.

Great! The social media will be forced to delete hate speech immediately, but who defines hate speech? It’s a question for philosophers, not lawyers. In dubio pro hate speech. From now on, haters, baiters and Schlechtmenschen will have a hard time… Our Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere, actually declared, “It cannot be that there are areas where the state has no influence.” He really said that!

The very foundations of our civil rights are openly destroyed, but no one sees it. It’s almost comical.

Instead, media focus is on the danger coming from the RIGHT! Ja, we should fear the RIGHT for all time! The AfD, a party resembling the American Republican, are portrayed by the Lügenpresse as dangerous Nazis.

Twisting reality, they are shown as the great danger, while it is THEIR men and women who are persecuted and attacked. Several cars of AfD-MPs have been burned, several AfD-members have been beaten by Antifa-thugs, windows of restaurants where AfD-members frequent have been smashed and employees dare not admit they voted for the AfD, etc.

Meanwhile, foreigners are still flooding in. Official sources say we should expect 500,000 migrants and refugees for 2017. Who knows what the real figure will be? Yes, let them all come. Our cities change before our eyes.

And yet, the danger lurks from the RIGHT, we’re told. A soldier in the German Bundeswehr was found with Nazi memorabilia. Foaming, our minister of defense rightfully said that we should ban all signs of the Wehrmacht in German barracks. Yes, let’s scrub away the dirty past!

On the other hand, we are constantly erecting Holocaust memorials in each city. In Frankfurt, where I live, three more have been built in recent weeks. Ja, ja, we should always be reminded of how bad and vicious Germans can be.

An expert told us recently that wearing a pigtail might indicate a Nazi mindset. Another maven warned of Nazi teachers in German kindergartens! The same warning went out to schools, universities and companies, for Nazis are everywhere! Though invisible, they are literally everywhere!

Meanwhile, practically every week there are news of Muslim terrorists being arrested. An independent journalist found out that in the first three months of 2017, some 27 Muslims in Germany were seized by the police for planning a terror attack. As for the evil Nazis??? In one case, two Nazis with explosives were arrested.

True, there are false flags, but there are now enough radical Islamists in Germany to destabilize our country. Muslim countries are bombed and demolished, so they flee to societies many of them won’t understand, where they’re even encouraged to NOT integrate. Therefore, the rift between Muslim immigrants and Christian natives will only widen.

Then you have the horrible job statistics of the refugees. Though a catastrophe in the making, it is depicted as an economic stimulus. What?! Most refugees will remain on social assistance and only contribute to the German workforce in about 10 years, and only if integration really works. Most of their skills and knowledge are not usable in the German job market.

 
Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.