There was a sense of tension modulated into Ushi's voice, with a sudden sadness in her expression. She seemed to have been deeply touched by the experience. "A single aircraft appeared in early evening high above the valley," she continued quietly. "The children spotted it first. They watched its flight in a cloudless sky. High flying aircraft had never been a cause of danger to them. I tried to explain the danger to make them flee, to get them to abandon their tents, to run for their lives, to hide as far away as possible, under trees or behind rocks. But it was all to no avail. They stayed. The children continued their games. In desperation I fled alone. I ran as far away from the camp as I could, until I heard fighter-bombers over the mountains. I saw two aircraft approaching. I spotted them briefly through the branches, each carrying two bombs strapped beneath its wings. I was lucky. They couldn't see me or hear my screams over the noise of their engines. The bright tents and colorful clothing of the people must have been glaring targets for them.
"They wouldn't have heard the chorus of the people's screams that filled the valley after two of their bombs exploded," Ushi continued. "No one in the valley could not have heard them, screams that I can never forget. Only the pilots were oblivious of the screams that were drowned out by their engines. And so, the two aircraft returned for a second run with their guns blazing. Had they heard the voices of agony, they would have veered off."
Ushi stopped speaking after that and reached for a glass of water, and added quietly, "They left thirty people dead. By nightfall, a hundred more had died of their wounds. The impact that this senseless massacre has had on me was so overwhelming that I could not talk about the experience to anyone for a long time. For years I was ashamed about what I had seen. What kind of person does this horrible thing to another person? What I had seen had shattered my image of humanity. I was ashamed of what I had seen happening and had been unable to prevent. I thought of the pilots in the planes. They could have been people from any nation that demands its people to isolate themselves from their humanity and their innermost self-love as human beings. The history books are filled with stories of atrocities of this kind committed by Germans, French, Japanese, Englishmen, Chinese, Americans, Russians, Israeli, Turks, Dutch, Spaniards, and whoever sold their soul to the whore of the empire that ruled them. All nations have fallen into this trap at one point and made demands for atrocity on their people in various ways. As a human act, even as a military act, the massacre that I witnessed was totally illogical, as indeed any massacre or war will ever be. Still these things happened and continue to happen all over the world."
She gave us another example from a totally different arena, perpetrated by different people for different reasons. "But the insanity behind it was the same," she added.
She had witnessed a revenge attack against the people of an occupied town who had fought back against the occupation of their country. "In this particular attack," she said, "of a kind that had become almost routine by then, 26 people were killed, 245 wounded, 12 houses were demolished, a school, a factory, and some infrastructure facilities. As the wounded were rushed to the hospital, the occupying forces didn't even allow the wounded to get near the hospital. When some people rebelled and forced their way in, in order to have their wounds treated, the occupiers shut off the hospital's water supply and electrical power. A number of emergency surgeries had to be performed on the street. Obviously, only a few victims survived."
Ushi told us that this particular atrocity was perpetrated in a supposedly civilized part of the world, and was carried out at the hands of a supposedly civilized people, a people with a deeply religious background in their culture. She suggested that a people's humanity and civilization becomes suspended when insanity rules.
Ushi suggested to the assembly, that to debate acts of insanity with an expectation to derive conclusions from such debates, is an act of insanity itself. "What I saw and experienced," she said, "had nothing to do with anything that is human. There was no logic behind it, nor was it the result of a natural reaction. It wasn't even fear, or hate, or required for self-defense. The madness that had isolated the people from each other had become elevated to the level of a war against their own humanity, within a war. War had become an orgy of murder for its own sake. We need to explore what we have to do to become human beings again.
"This goal is the only thing that makes any sense to me," she added after a pause. "It will forever be illogical to me to discuss illogical phenomena. It is more fruitful to explore the dimensions of truth, the dimension of what defines us as human beings. By this process of self-discovery to advance our self-development, we may be able to develop a platform of sanity that has the potential to prevent more insanity from breaking out in the world, and to counteract that which already rules."
Ushi sat down in a thunder of applause. Our tour guide went over to her, shook her hand, and then kissed her.
The episode unmistakably settled the controversial issue over guidelines. Our tour guide had won. Nevertheless, our tour guide did accept another reference to the Afghan War as a comment on what Ushi had said. The speaker had promised her to make his remarks immediately relevant to that.
The speaker was German, a mathematics professor from the University of Heidelberg. He said that he found it hard to believe that the Afghan refugees could be so naive as not to recognize the danger of their situation. He said that they had lived for years in the shadow of constant danger that this war had brought. He said, he became resentful of the speaker for presenting what he felt was an impossible story filled with politically motivated lies.
Then he told us that something happened in his thinking that changed all that. He said that the idea dawned that much of humanity behaves as naively ignorant about the dangers to its existence as did those people in the high valley. He told us that with this realization in mind, the refugee's story suddenly became believable. He said that he saw the same ignorance reflected throughout the world. The tragic refugee story had for him become an echo of a face of humanity that he said he was more ashamed of suddenly than the senseless, terrible inhumanity that Ushi had witnessed.
"We live in a world," he said, "that is filled with paradoxes that no one recognizes or cares enough to open his eyes to. Economically, humanity has shifted its focus away from the physical production of the things necessary for its daily existence -- away from creating and maintaining infrastructures and industries, including farming -- towards financial speculation on a scale that goes far beyond what is wagered at the roulette tables in casinos. By this trend humanity is loosing the physical foundation for its very existence, and it is rushing towards this tragedy by its own action, by its own insanity. It is happening on a vast scale without most people even recognizing that it is happening."
He told us that he had found it paradoxical for a long time before the great financial crash had occurred in the West, that while the physical economy was collapsing, the financial portfolios were growing in leaps and bounds, that represent this collapsing economy. He pointed out that the vastly inflated financial values that result from this ever-expanding swindle represent fundamentally a huge lie against the truth of the real situation in the world. "But people close their eyes to the real things," he said, "and lye to themselves. They don't see the reality that stares them in the face. And, like the Afghan refugees have experienced, they cannot escape the consequences of their naive denials of the truth that they should have recognized."
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