Friday, August 30, 2013

Let Them Eat Pita

Asma al-Assad, the 38-year-old British-born mother of three and wife of the current Assad, was feted in the February 2011 issue of Vogue for her panache in designer drag. The European Union soon after clipped her wings for condoning state-sanctioned human rights abuses. Bummer. Not allowed to leave Syria, she eluded authorities by shopping online, recently purchasing $16,000 in crystal from Paris as the rest of the Treasury was spending her leftover cash on chemical weapons.

This woman, whose countenance could earn her the privilege of being Princess Diana's second cousin thrice removed, was the hope of the Western world. Although she was born to Syrian parents in London, she could pass for a thoroughbred Caucasian. This morning on CNN, a rather naive reporter said she was hoping that Asma would flee the country and her dictator-murderer husband, somehow assuming that the pale skins are always on the side of justice. After all, Asma does resemble your average upper-class American/Brisith/French urban woman with a wardrobe to die for.

In this same news-in-between-commericals blip, George Bush Jr. crawled out from under a rock to make his first go get-em boys statement since leaving the Presidency, characterizing Assad as "making mischief." BTW dear George, we apply the word "mischief" to boys who toilet paper houses after the Junior Prom. But then again, language was never your strong suit. 

Jimmy Carter issued a quote stating that unless the US acted militarily in conjunction with the UN or NATO against Syria, our unilateral action would be in violation of international law. (Sadly, the word "our" is used in the previous sentence as I pay taxes, invest in the stock market and vote.) Nice thought, Jimmy, but international law hasn't stopped the USA from overthrowing many a good foreign leader, illegally, for our own material gain in country after country around the globe.

Appearances versus reality. Twin zeitgeists in direct contradiction that live together as fraternal siblings, born of the same mother but quite different in nature. The faces of governments and their inner workings are a macrocosm of our personal microcosm. We live with an identity, a face to the world, that telegraphs a story about what we were, what we are and what we hope to be. This version of reality is sometimes duplicitous, in the case of sociopaths, but the average Joe or Jane really believes that the job they have (or don't have), the religion they espouse, the dwelling (or sidewalk) in which they park their bodies , the car they drive (or don't have), the family they have (or don't have) are a reflection of their worth. This 'appearance' in our materialistic world is almost always a universal weight and measure system.

The reality is different. Underneath the exterior of a king or a pauper or a middle class suburbanite, there is a human being with fears, hopes, loves, beliefs, that may take radically different forms on the outside but are based on the same basic human drives for safety and love. The tragedy of human existence is that we don't recognize our universal drives and help each other to attain them.

"Pure vision" is a phrase used by my Buddhist compadres to denote a mindset that understands all people to be motivated by a core need for love, despite outward appearances to the contrary. Seeing with pure vision means that one understands the nature of strife and conflict stemming from ignorance, not evil. Thus, any person can be viewed with compassion if they have lost their way in the labyrinth of not-knowing. Although this tangled web of misunderstanding has produced horrors upon horrors, still it is our duty to confront this Gordian Knot and cut through its entanglements to be free at last.

This is my dream.

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