Marquis de Sade (adapted from “Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, if you would become Republicans,” in Philosophy in the Bedroom”):
In our time, we are convinced that religion is the basis of morals, and not the other way around, with morals the basis of religion. Are you listening?
Who here, in this room, needs a temple, other than that which nature provides, to sense the power we command; the power to ensure our liberty? That we celebrate priests and politicians is enough, on its own, to stop us in our tracks. And deep down, like tribes of old, we await deliverance from both priest and politician. The shackles of the one mirror that of the other. And shackled we remain.
Rome and its empire disappeared after Christianity was preached there. And Washington, and its empire, will disappear as religion drowns us all!
Inspect the history of every age, every race. You will see who upholds religion and who grants to politics the powers of god! It is religion that has sanctified kings, prime ministers, and presidents – thought tyrants all – and it is politics that preserves religion as a means to keep us in check, even in how we judge our actions: from the least trifling to the most grand.
Must we render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s perpetually? Must we give to the temple as if our very lives depended on it?
Our politicians assure us that we need a god; our priests assure us we need a president; it amuses them, they are soothed by it, and we in train. Fine! But we have no use of an omnipotent god who never achieves what he wills, who creates malcontents only, who preaches order yet in whose government everything is in chaos!
This illusion, a god prudently invented by men, is simply one more means to enthrall us. Lycurgus, Numa, Moses, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, all these great rogues, they knew how to associate the divinities they fabricated with their own boundless political ambition. Bush, Blair, bin Laden – what is it that unites them?
We want no more of a god who is at war against nature, who is the father of confusion, who moves man only at the moment man abandons himself to horrors perfected, launched, and provisioned for a “democracy” that constantly eludes us. Ah, friends, believe me, many crimes have been committed as a consequence of your theism, but never has it prevented a single one. And never has a government allowed us to act on what we know is ours save through rebellion: that the government exists only by way of the powers we give it.
1. A suicide bombing is an attack using a bomb in which the attacker expects to die upon detonation
1.2 (A suicide attacks by detonating his or her expectations with an intention equal to the explosion.)
1.3 (The bomber believes she is sent on her mission by boredom. By the time she is ready to be strapped with explosives, she’s perfectly aware that she won’t be coming back. Her rational: That by blowing herself up in a crowd of Israelis, Iraqis, Americans, Russians, Indians or Pakistanis, she is simply doing what she wants no longer wanting anything else.)
1. tick-tick tick
this is my first and last bomb
my eyes are glassy shining moist and bloodshot
and my body is glassy shining and bloodshot
dry as if it were about to crack
burst into smithereens...
all of my flesh and bones
stretched into one hundred and seventy feet
I am dumb
only the bomb speaks
You should remember me because I’ve got:
lips neck breasts nipples good teeth red tongue belly ass legs hips...
2. (The BBC reported that suicide bombers “are likely to be motivated by a desire to commit murder.” The BBC reported that religion is a form of passion, suicide a form of religion, and bombs are the preferred weapon in committing murder; in fact, suicide bombers are nothing more or less than suicides who use murder as their weapon of choice. The BBC reported that suicide is murder, murder suicide, and death a bomber’s weapon. The BBC reported that they reported a report on a murderous suicide and a suicidal murder, and that they no longer know what to report save that it happened in this place at this time, so many died, the bomber did this and that, and whose photo hangs in her mother’s kitchen …)
2.1 (In Israel, bitterness is a form of terror that the state takes no responsibility for. Its origin, they say, comes from where you live and whom you’re with.)
2. tick- tick-tick
I’ve put on my killer panties
and the explosive Prada-Meinhof bra
a tragicomic touch to my historical role
I am a woman-bomb
I make cars explode
I make the tires melt
I make the windows shatter
I make the pavement crack
and sewer lids fly off
I’m a mechanical wonder
made with a tried recipe:
3. (It’s no wonder that we wonder why a woman would commit suicide by killing others. It’s also no wonder why there is no wonder to the act.)
3.1 (The suicide recruiting center admits only women. At its center is a treadmill where the women walk. The recruiting center is the center of the world for the women who become children when they enter it.)
3. my bomb is a drum machine
my body is an inflammable patent
I’m strapped with wires and tape
explosives caresses my skin
explosives are under my breasts
stuck to my spine
shoved into my uterus
4. (The explosives were packed with metal balls hidden under her clothes. The metal balls were packed with clothes that she wore around her neck, and when she needed something to wear, a disguise to keep her secret, she swallowed one and suddenly…she wasn’t here in her dishdasha, passing checkpoints, waiting in line to join the army. She was here but she wasn’t here; she was and she wasn’t. The difference didn’t bother her in the least.)
4.1 (In her dark eyes a photo of her head burned through the light skin around her mouth, which was open as if she wanted to say something, and was just about to when she stopped.)
4. eight pounds of plastic explosive
two pounds of iron nails
a yard of twin-coloured wire
and a switch
made cheap and simple
and still functioning, walking, ticking
with great manoeuvring ability:
5. ((Not only are circumstances insane but any one of us might emulate
them and believe, in doing so, that reason and right were theirs.)
5.1 (A woman strapped with explosives and disguised as a man. A man strapped with a woman and disguised as an explosive. An explosive strapped with a woman and manned by disguise.)
I approach the target
I turn myself on
I leave no evidence
I make the enemy’s morale plummet
I cause substantial material damage
chopping breaking scalping cutting
genius patent of a genius inventor
6. (She was the first woman who carried Iraq in her bag and wanted to blow it up.)
6.1 (Women bombers used a car to checkpoint Saddam, and forgot the Americans inside it.)
6.2 (A woman threw a grenade inside a foot cast. Experts have placed fragments of the explosion in a brown paper bag. The police know the motive but don’t want anyone else to.)
6. I’m an alarm clock
I make circles in the air
left hand -- minute-hand
right hand -- seconds-hand
tick-tack tick-tack tick-tack
my time is final
when I ring
No one will put me back together again
7. (The authorities later moved to reconstruct her. For her head, they built a market near a beach where restaurants blossomed and salons yawned wide with milk and honey. For her torso they stretched edible dresses stitched with junk jewelry, and molded her hands and feet from the fat of crushed moths. Her new glasses reflected rather than refracted light, giving her the appearance of being blind. So she wore them only when she wished to disappear; when she didn’t want to see what others couldn’t see of her. Of course, if they had ever concealed a bomb in a belt under their clothes, it was on screen, not in a market that was her head near a beach strewn with dresses, jewelry, rouge, eyeliner and lipstick.)
7.1 (Women suicide bombers have organized. They hold meetings on how best to inspire political and cultural chaos. Mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, daughters drink tea, laugh, write out wills and draw lots. Precedence knows no status.)
7. Saint Mona Lisa rises into the clouds
a celestial blue veil fluttering around her
she folds her hands and innocently blinks toward the sun
the sun-chariot takes her up
(deux ex machina, right?)
without a head
the angels come to meet her
8. (They linked politics with terrorism. Which is which, when each can do what the other can’t?)
8.1 (We all know that female Black widows devour their mates after they mate. Is there something that female suicide bombers are missing, and that a little bit of cannibalism wouldn’t cure?)
8.2 (Her rape was death by revenge; for the pleasure they took in fucking her, fucking her, fucking her, fucking her, fucking her, fucking her.)
8. The number of victims? The number of people missing?
The number of people injured?
Light? Heavy? Critical?
Damage? Political damage? Diplomatic relations?
Emergency elections? Who’s to blame? Who’ll take the fault?
The government? Alliances? Secret services? Terrorists?
Who started this?
Who remembers the beginning?
9. (Religion is a response to terrorism that suicide wishes no part of save when it mutates into murder.)
9.1 (Between 1995-2003, there were no deeply Islamic countries whose militaries praised militancy. From 2003 on, it’s all about targets and timing.)
no one will be able to put me back together again
no one will ask me why
why is my question
O, GOD, WHY!!!!!?????
10. (The US invasion of Iraq is a form of suicide that bombs can never camouflage; The insurgents play the game well because they enjoy what they do. The US is only playing catch up.)
10.1 (Suicide women bombers gain respect. Who confers that respect? Men mostly, and women.)
10.2 (Hellene was 29, 31: married; pregnant; finishing a degree; working and looking for work. The life she left others lead. How long will it take to forget her, walking into the joint, sitting down, ordering a drink?)
10.3 (We heard the concussion then the hollow thud that separated us from them.)
10.4 (She ran, she stopped; she opened her arms, arms that grew like trees from her head. And the crowd poured in, drowning her.)
10. My brief and quiet life
will finish with a cacophonous end
and the questions I couldn’t answer:
Is this an act of heroism ending in suicide
Or is this a suicide hidden in an act of heroism?
Was I forced or seduced?
Have I learned my role right?
Don’t I hate you?
I fight my way through the mob, the flags
There you are
I am getting closer
made of stone
half beast, half woman
my eyes are two slits
my breasts on my front paws
ready to leap:
lick your face
scratch your chest
you’ll suck in my hot sticky breath
does it burn?
make you sick?
The meat of animals I ate, rotting inside me.
It’s time I asked you some questions.
DO YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN ME?
DO YOU THINK THEY’LL BE SORRY WHEN YOU’RE GONE?
ARE YOU READY?
11. (We, the 19 killed – what can we say? We said what we could, when we could. There is nothing you can say about us that we wouldn’t have said given the chance, save that we say it now, when you say nothing.)
11.1 (Wednesday we dedicate to martyrs and volunteers for martyrdom. If you’re looking for a job, assassins are up …)
11.2 (Among the dead were five children: one child for every finger on one hand finally free of the wrist, the arm, the shoulder, the trunk…)
11.3 (They trigger the bomb by dreaming a future that revives her past. It doesn’t matter who she is. They use whom they need when they need to.)
11.4 (Muzhakhoeva linked money to the terrorism involved in making it. She couldn’t distinguish between the weekly pay off and the numbness that spread through those she loved in pursuit of it. Her pleasure in accepting the task offered to her did not betray her lust for money; it merely glorified it.)
(Woman Bomb: Boom, no one will put me back together again.)
12. (Their strength is irrepressible. Trauma compels defiance; torture hope. In Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq and Russia, women make bombs and deliver them.)
(Woman Bomb: No one will bring me back.)
12.1 (She stated that she wanted to arm her oppressors and avenge her freedom. And so she did.)
(Woman Bomb: Boom…)
12.2 (She seemed pregnant enough. And she held her stomach tenderly as if the child were real.)
(Woman Bomb: No one…)
12.3 (Because of the bombing, checkpoints sprang up on various corners at different days through the ghetto. Soldiers searched women and children as they searched men: with electronic detectors and pat downs. That nothing was found to support the effort did not prevent the government from continuing it. And so it went, with bombs exploding in public places, and the morgues full. The government was doing its job; suicide bombers theirs. A deaf tango for those excited by slaughter.)
(Woman Bomb: Boom, no one will put me back together again.)
(…the BBC broadcast a small segment of the videotape:
(Woman Bomb: a flash of dark eyes… long black hair… head scarf… Arabic…)
(If you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat that bar of chocolate.)
(Woman Bomb: Long black hair…)
12.5 (A political war: Where the controlled gain control of the control that eludes them; and the controllers, free of controlling who they controlled, become the controlled.)
(Woman Bomb: Dark eyes…)
13. (Zahro’s daughters didn’t allow their wealth to defuse their rage. They refused what they had, giving Zahro his grief, which is now a source of pride and pleasure. When he grieves in private, his daughters bloom; when he grieves in public, they enthrall. Perfume, even spiritual perfume, is a magical substitute for the body.)
(Woman Bomb: A flash…)
13.1 (God is the cake that Amar’s recruiters used to exploit her in Nablus: she was only a child.)
(Woman Bomb: Arabic…)
13.2 (The Front became popular by liberating Palestians from responsibility. Little could they predict that, by doing so, they would become a target l ike anything else.)
(Woman Bomb: Head scarf…)
13.3 (The woman tore the blast to shreds, and then walked off, searching for a bargain in limbs.)
(Woman Bomb: Slits for eyes…)
14. (Allah decrees that the earth will be a martyr, and that those living on it will not have the courage to face it.)
(Woman Bomb: Fucking…)
14.1 (No escape, optimum efficiency and effectiveness, media magnet, market share.)
(Woman Bomb: Tick tick tick…)
15. (Insurgent bodies haunted bloody ceilings and thought exuded floors soaked with human debris.)
Marquis de Sade:
You say murder is a crime? We must agree, I think, that it is, unhappily, one of policy’s and politics’ greatest instruments. Is it not by dint of murders that we are citizens today? Are not wars, the unique fruit of this political barbarism, the means whereby a nation feeds, strengthens and supports itself? And what is war if not the science of destruction? Strange blindness -- which publicly teaches how to kill, rewarding those who do it best, and punishing the man who, for his own private reasons, rids himself of an enemy! Is murder a crime against society? But how can that reasonably be imagined?
And suicide? Nearly all ancient governments through religion or policy authorized suicide. It entered into the legislators’ scheme; you killed yourself in public, and you made of your death a spectacle of magnificence.
Humankind has been terrorized. We are blinded by the obvious. Fear has corrupted our ability to reason, and reason has been corrupted by our inability to wrest power from those who possess it.
Ignorance and fear -- these are the bases of religion and governance. Fear becomes habitual and changes to need; and our needs rise up, hemming us in, suffocating our lust for liberty.
And should we gradually tear from our eyes the shadows that bind us, we will come more and more to feel that the prime mover – whether god or president -- exists only in our imagination…Pay attention! Our Republican edifice, its foundations eaten away… Don’t we want to dethrone Caesar, all Caesars, once and for all?