Welcome to the bloody spin cycle
Despite fighting ‘terrorism’ for 20 years, Americans have no idea what it is. I lived through 30 years of terrorism and I can tell you this, terrorism is just one weapon of war, not particularly more heinous than the others, and it does one thing very well. Terrorism takes media. Terrorism doesn’t need to occupy territory, not at first. It lives rent-free in your mind.
Perhaps you watched the Capitol Attack and thought “how wrong, all Americans can unite against this.” LOL no. You thought you were watching the news, but millions of Americans were watching an ad. That’s how terrorism works. It hijacks your outrage and uses your media to recruit more terrorists.
Just think about it like a penis enlargement pill. Maybe you don’t click on penis enlargement ads, but somebody does. Many people watched the Capitol Attack and thought it made their dicks bigger. A full 20% of Americans polled approved of the storming of the Capitol, including a shocking 45% of Republicans. The click-thru rates on this particular ad were through the roof. Whatever they were selling, people are buying.
You need to stop laughing at Nazi Jamiroquai and look at how obviously fucked you are. Evil is stupid, this is just what it looks like. It’s not a James Bond movie, it’s a bunch of red-hatted goons beating someone to death with a fire extinguisher. Nobody’s going to give you casino chips and explain it all over dinner. This the inanity of evil and, indeed, the carnival atmosphere helps it sell.
What you witnessed on January 6th was a recruiting ad for domestic terrorism, carried on every TV station and social media in the land. It was launch party for the insurrection, with billions of dollars worth of earned media. It might not appeal to you, but it’s appealing to someone. A huge amount of Americans have electile dysfunction.
What’s your national response? Stop Trump from tweeting? Move the PGA golf tournament? You fools. Blood is on the wind.
I lived with terrorism for thirty years in Sri Lanka. I can see the same shit happening in America today. Put down the crack-pipe of American exceptionalism for a minute and listen.
Americans have the Proud Boys, but in 1970s we had ‘The Boys’. A bunch of rag-tag militias with maybe a pistol between them. They’d grow up soon enough. In 1975, a 21-year-old Vellupillai Prabhakaran pulled up on the mayor of Jaffna and shot him in the head. Boys to men.
You could say this act offended many decent people, and it did, but have you never watched a gangster movie? That assassination made Prabhakaran. It gained him supporters. It made his bones on the street. He kept repeating this cycle of terror, outrage, and recruiting for decades.
Prabhakaran went from a pistol, to bombs, to an army, to a navy, to a fucking air force, and finally to control over roughly 33% of Sri Lankan territory. As you can see, the media phenomenon becomes real soon enough. He was single-minded while the Sri Lankan nation was divided, and it took well over 30 years to take him down.
Americans today are breathing a sigh of relief because you got invaded by Duck Dynasty and Davy Crockpot, obviously not the A-Team. You’re waiting for the smart fascists. You fools. Germans thought Hitler was funny until he was the Führer.
Don’t underestimate your enemy, especially when they’ve penetrated your fucking Capitol with bombs and zip-ties and erected a goddamn gallows on the lawn. Every meme you share, every joke you make, even this very article, it’s all reaching people that look at all the violence and think,
“Cool, where do I sign up?”
And so the movement grows, given free marketing across the free press. That’s how terrorism works. The land can come later. The first thing terrorism takes is the unreal estate behind your eyes.
While the assassination of Alfred Duraiappah was big news at the time, we barely remember it today. Prabhakaran went on to assassinate Presidents, Prime Ministers, most of the other ‘Boys’, killed monks, civilians, troops, friends, foes, fucking everybody.
You may be thinking the Capitol Attack is the worst you’ll see, but I doubt it. May not even be the worst this month. Joe Biden is at greater risk of assassination than any President since Lincoln. Hell, he can’t even trust his own Secret Service.
Again, you have no idea. After Indira Gandhi was killed by her own guards, India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Sri Lanka and got assaulted by his honor guard. Prabahakaran eventually blew him up. That’s how much the violence of ‘The Boys’ escalated. It inflammed the entire subcontinent for 30 years. And every rando didn’t have an arsenal like they do in America. You guys are screwed.
If Americans were capable of learning from anyone else’s history they could perhaps avoid our fate, but since you guys are so exceptional I guess you’ll have to figure it out yourselves.
Shit gets real, shit gets worse, and it takes an entire cycle for all the blood to wash out. I’m talking generations. God knows who you’ll lose along the way.
America today has all the elements of Sri Lanka in the 1980s. Unemployment, racial tensions, an unequal and quasi-feudal economy. You think this is impossible because you’re such an old democracy and we’re a shithole but, please, put down the propaganda pipe. Sri Lanka is an older democracy than America. We had universal franchise for decades before Black people founded your democracy in 1965. We’re actually your elders.
Any young democracy (where everyone can vote) faces this tension where people vote to fuck each other over. Then some people give up on the democratic process altogether. After decades, Tamil nationalists gave up (for good reason, we were dicks) and things got violent. This happened all over the third world and you guys called us shitholes and laughed, but look at you now. Y’all in some shit.
Americans think they can just hammer on Joe Biden like CTRL-Z. CTRL-Z! CTRL-Z? and go back to the Obama era. It doesn’t work like that. This violence has been building for decades and it will take decades to play out. Joe Biden will be dead (naturally, inshallah) by the time this cycle finishes.
America has been on this ride before. In many ways America is a cycle of violence. From the Civil War through reconstruction, from Jim Crow to Civil Rights, from Obama to your current deconstruction. These are cycles of violence, washed in blood, and they take generations to spin. America is at the beginning of another cycle of violence, not the end.
What Can I Do About This?
People keep asking me what to do? like I know. I just lived through this shit, I didn’t do anything. What does a sock do about the laundry? If you ask me or any random Nigerian or Bangladeshi how we lived through cycles of violence, the answer is the same. We lived through it.
If I knew the 9 Breakfast Habits That Help You Avoid Societal Collapse I’d tell you, but I don’t. Wake up earlier? Delete WhatsApp? Fuck do I know. You, by definition, cannot stop societal collapse, because you are just you. Many of these problems came from your parents generation, and your grandparents, and people you don’t even remember. The best you can do is be a decent example to your kids because they’re going to have to unfuck this, until their grandkids break it all again.
The immediate problem you have right now, which I can advise you on, is that you are severely underestimating the immediate threat in front of you. Y’all are debating words while your enemy is taking action. Americans are making the same mistake with this coup as they did with coronavirus. Debating the threat while the threat just multiplies.
As Yeats said:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
This poem has always been prescient somewhere, but God knows it’s been exactly 20 centuries, and history is rhyming hard.
Sorry But Shut Up
I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but you need to stop hearing things you want to hear. Just listen to what’s actually going around you. Domestic terrorists attacked your Capitol. They’re rallying again for inauguration. They’re prepared, they’re armed, they’re whipped into a religious fervor and they’re ready for war. Meanwhile y’all are debating what words mean.
Forget about how you get out of this for a second and just understand where you are. Just listen. Hear the call of terror, ringing through your media like a cracked Liberty Bell. Hear the people who’ve been ‘alarmist’ for years — Black people, immigrants, basically anybody from the third world. Stop looking for a happy ending right now. Only then will you be ready for the long fight ahead.
This is part of what my wife calls my interminable “I Lived Thru” series. She’ll write a companion piece called “I Lived Thru Indi.”