Babylon's Burning

The world is becoming a more dangerous place by the day. Recently I heard a rumour that the Edinburgh fire which tore the middle out of buildings on the fringe of the historic Old Town district was started with matches and whisky by a graduate in Fine Art angry at the clinging grip history has on the present. Grotesque stories float around of the horrors that occurred during the fire-fighters strike. Did laughing youths really torch a pram with a baby in it right in front of a fire station and gleefully dance as the picketing fireman argued over whether they should help the flaming infant? Did government officials set light to a centre for asylum seekers in order to "find the silver lining"? Year after year more of Australia, of America, of South East Asia is swallowed by raging fire, glum homeowners sadly rebuilding every time it happens knowing that it will happen again, and again, and again. How accidental can these disasters be? Sydney actually had to lose its status as a city after the last fire, downgraded to a town after losing all buildings apart from the Opera House and four petrol stations. And the flags created for the patriotic fervour that swept across America after the terrorist attacks of September 2001 have been rebought by entrepreneurs who are reselling them in the Middle East and North Korea for burning and stamping. Am I the only one who can smell sulphur? These are dangerous times and no-one is safe.

There are those who say we are being punished. We have become decadent and indolent and the time of reckoning has come. The latest fad in tattoos is to have numbers etched into the inside of the arm to resemble the marks made by Nazis on the arms of Jews. Fashionable people in London and New York are having "Church Sex Abuse" parties where they draw lots to see who will play the innocent, who the guilty priest, and who the bishop forced by his love for the church to cover up the scandal. Stephen Speilberg’s latest World War II film, focusing on the little-talked about American victims of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, features a controversial scene in which an American stockbroker deeply penetrates a copy of the Koran with his extended member in order to express his growing disillusionment with religion and authority. I do not think we are being punished, but I am not foolish enough to think these are isolated abuses of morality. These anecdotes are signs of something larger. Look closely enough and you can see the patterns. Something is coming. Energy is flowing, and it is flowing in a direction.

Slowly the West seems to be slouching towards Iraq. This is natural. War is coming. Prepare yourselves for war. We do not know much but we do know that soon we will have to fight with wrath and fury in order to defend what we believe in. This will not be easy but it is now certain that it must happen. We are brave and we are virtuous and we will prevail. Vacillation now is pointless. The decisions have already been taken. If you still have worries, if doubts still cloud your mind and you worry about the rightness of military action, know this. These people are not communists. That would be inaccurate and grossly unfair. But they are evil. They must be punished. A great wrong has been committed. This will make it right.

I look to the future now with great hope in my heart. We are about to be put to judgement and we will not be found wanting. Maybe in a year, maybe in two, we will be able to smile, to embrace each other and say with assurance that now, finally, the fires have been put out.

What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...