Monday, January 01, 2007

One Night in Bangkok....

It was a restless night here. I actually heard the entire Art Bell show which is rare. Usually, the voices of Art Bell or George Noory lull me to sleep, talking about ghosts, government conspiracies and alien abductions. It's a fun show but the hours it is on (midnight until 4.00 AM) prohibit full attention on my part.

My mind was on Bangkok and the bombings. I can do research with the best of them and draw conclusions on these events without too much trouble. Being a news junkie and a history buff, not a lot slides past me. My response to this though is entirely different. It's a visceral, emotional reaction, very different than 9/11/01.

9/11/01 - I was still working then and had been manning the help desk until 1.00 AM Tuesday morning. Not being accustomed to keeping those kinds of hours, I was bleary-eyed and still tired when I finally went to bed. Four or five hours later, I reached for the remote control, planning to turn over and go back to sleep with the droning of the news. Instead, the TV showed the second plane hitting the towers.

My first thought was "Osama bin Laden. The guy's been using planes as cruise missiles for the past twenty years". Straight out of Afghanistan. No doubt. That's who was responsible. If I recall correctly, I mumbled it aloud to no one in particular. Then it was time to sit up and pay close attention.

We were transfixed for the rest of the day, flipping between CNN and Fox News, NBC, CBS and ABC. Our house became like a CIA Operations Center with TVs on in all the rooms tuned to different stations. (This house has more TVs than should be legal. I have two, D. has two, V. has one. There is one in the sun room, one in the office and one in the spare bedroom.) I saw people jumping from those buildings before CNN and Fox both decided to stop showing the footage. The entire nation paused. There was no activity in the neighborhood. No cars passing by, no dog walkers, no sound outside at all. Even the dog was eerily silent. It might as well have been Sunday morning instead of Tuesday.

Many thoughts went through my mind, most of them not appropriate for this blog. I didn't feel vengeful or hateful. My internal reaction, without going into much detail, can be covered comfortably with the phrase, "the chickens have come home to roost." 9/11/01 did not shock me. Of course I mourn the loss of life ~ but I wasn't shocked, given US foreign policy, that there was finally blowback.

Yesterday seemed like a rewind/replay. I woke up, stumbled out to the computer room, turned on the news and heard about the bombings in Bangkok. The coffee was still brewing in the pot. CNN provided news footage and the newscaster's voice droned on. "Bangkok", "bombing", "New Year's Eve celebration", "canceled", "2 dead so far", "many injuries", "Thai police". I don't recall what was said afterward because I immediately dissolved into tears. It was a reaction that surprised even me as it is not my nature to cry. As soon as it seemed over, I started crying again.

Later in the day it occurred to me that this is how many people felt on 9/11/01 which was an empathy I hadn't quite developed, probably because of the knee-jerk, hate-filled rhetoric that followed before the bodies had even grown cold. I never felt the opportunity to mourn those lost as I energetically fended off all the nationalistic hatred spewing from news channels and acquaintances for days following the event.

I now mourn the victims of the Bangkok bombing. And I fear the possibility that Thailand will change, just as the US changed. The fun-loving openness of the Thai people may turn to something else, something we've never seen there. The Thai character is an odd one. They are open, loving and giving people, but mess with what's theirs and they can be quite fierce warriors. Aside from border skirmishes with neighboring countries, Thailand has not been a participant in the wars of others since WWII. Even then, it was as a reluctant Japanese ally.

It doesn't even matter at this precise moment who did it. It doesn't matter if it was Thaksin, separatists in the South, the disgruntled TRT or the little green men from the Pleaides. The Thai police and intelligence service will determine that. What matters is that something so precious has been violated. The safety and security of the Thai people has been violated. I mourn those who are lost and injured. If there is something out there in the cosmos that controls this sort of thing, I pray those responsible will experience a change of heart, to understand that random violence is never the answer to political problems, that terrorism is never the solution. Never!




jen said...


i. too, am troubled by what happened, and know how deeply it cuts your soul.

humans are survivors, and the spirit is hard to diminish, no matter how big the bomb.

My Heart Runneth Over said...

Sadness ... all you can feel is such sadness. How is it possible that a human life can be so easily taken by another.. I will never understand.


Potato Print said...

Oh, I came to write you a cute little note, and then I read this. How can we even understand something like this? I agree that terrorism only fuels terrorism. Hatred does not make hatred cease. But then, what are we to do? Thank you for bringing this to light.

Patricia said...

I was so saddened yesterday when I read of the bombings on Al Jazeerah's web site (where I get most of my news). You came immediately to mind, just as you had months ago when I read of the coup in Thailand.

I had a similar reaction to yours when Israel started destroying Lebanon last summer. When we have family-of-our-heart in a place and have grown to love that place ourselves, any attacks wound us too.

Please know I am holding you and the people of Thailand in my heart. May they react nonviolently to this violence. That is the only way to break the cycle.


heartinsanfrancisco said...

So very sad. And we who know better are so very helpless to prevent it.

9-11 affected me deeply because I'm from New York, but even more because what happens in any corner of the world affects us all.

I am sure we can do better as beings with souls. This devastation is unworthy of our true potential.

Pam said...

I, too, was saddened and horrified and immediately thought of you.
The insult of violence used to solve any problem is abhorent and futile. But violence and the pain it causes has always been part of the human element and we have to believe that those of us who live in peace will keep the light shining.

Anvilcloud said...

It's a pity that these kinds of things keep happening. I'm glad Puff and Bug are back home.