Tag Archives: Death

De mortuis nil nisi bonum is well and good but upholds the victor’s narrative

NeroIt’s probably older than Latin. “De mortuis nil nisi bonum” is a propriety imposed at death, as if to offer the deceased a false comfort that, however fraudulent the pretense of their reputation in life, they can take it with them. Well, most commonly, “Don’t speak ill of the dead” is a reminder not to rehash petty grievances in the face of another’s mortality, death being after all mankind’s mutual adversary. It’s a pact I suppose that’s meant to benefit everyone equally. But the tradition does sort of cement history as written by the victor, where revisionists dare not speak truth to power while that authority is alive.
 
I saw the adage used in a disturbingly upbeat eulogy for Margaret Thatcher in this week’s New Yorker. Disturbing because it was fair handed enough, but mired like New York City, insulated by the growing wealth and cultural disparity, in the Western master narrative. I find that not speaking ill of the dead is completely irresponsible with historic figures like Margaret Thatcher and Henry Kissinger. If we are prevented from hanging them to hasten their death, we must at the minimum garrotte their memory before it’s set in stone. To beat a dead horse.

America hits the dead end all zoned out this zombie s’election’ time 2012

America is zoning out of paying the national elections much heed. Once again, we are presented only 2 horrifying ALLOWED visions for our country; Family Bush and assorted Far Right Christian aligned lunatics or Family Clinton and assorted capitalist governmental bureaucratic hacks? An ugly choice if you allow them to make it your and OUR only choice?

However, there is another, not already picked for you choice, and that is to try to establish an independent political movement outside of the control of America’s totalitarian rulers. That choice involves personal risks though because the thugs who rule over us are rather mean ones. And first, you must cut through the thick fog of your own apathy.

Don’t try to forge ahead though and work with others, and you will help make the world’s grave working alongside and with the world’s ruling class. Death is all around us now. You can see it at the carnival show ‘election’ assemblies very clearly. Work for CHANGE because the zombies won’t make it for you.

Egypt’s head torturer under Mubarak, Omar Suleiman, dies in Cleveland, USA

What I really love about the US, is that even though I am an RN I have the absolute worst time along with zillions of other Americans getting any decent medical care for me or my family. Yet foreign torturers and thugs can come over here, and Hey! …it’s no problem! Egypt's ex-spy chief Omar Suleiman dies in United States. Barack Obama is just such a swell guy!

Torture and Murder of un-convicted prisoners isn’t off limits to them… so

So I guess Killing Civilians isn’t either.
Naturally it was the fault of the civilians themselves for living in the middle of a War Zone, obviously they asked God or Allah or the Great Gazzoo beforehand to be born into the poorest place on earth and the middle of a land coveted for millennia by so many Empires for its strategic location.
I bet it will make the usual War-Mongers in town, the ones who say they gave me the right to say this so I’d “goddam better shut my pie hole about it” Really Happy to know that some of the “Terrorists” executed without trial or even charges in this airstrike were Kids.

All Hail the Empire! The Emperor Knows Best!

And according to a “liberal” friend from Arizona it’s “Crazy” to say anything different.

What, are the Chinese trying to mimic ALL our energy-sector screwups?

So they matched our Corporate Mining Accidents-waiting-to-happen-and-guess-what-they-do with similar ones by similar causes and similar results, and using Imported American industry analysts who also work for BP, Exxon Mobil, Massey Energy, The Peabody, etc…
Now, they’ve got a BP-esque Oil Spill in the Yellow Sea. Is it caused by their “socialist” supposedly publicly owned Nationalized Oil industry, now brought to its dying knees by the New Economy Capitalist Oil industry? Either one, of course, run under the supervision of the American and British Oil well, refinery and shipping Industry Experts who also work for BP, Exxon-Mobil, Massey Energy…
The Rule of Three seems to have been pretty damned consistent in all of these lately, too, so maybe we can expect the Fully Capitalized Russian Oil Slick on the (deepwater) horizon?

But not only are the Oil and Mineral extraction scams “safe as safe can be” they’re also supposed to be vital for the survival of our economy.

I always considered the massive food shortages that would be caused by the destruction of the ecology either directly through toxic pollution or “indirectly” through Carbon Dioxide, and artificially manipulated Ecologies using chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides… I always thought that was kind of sort of like, you know, similar to NON Survival. I would muse and wonder who writes the Energy Company propaganda but then, it’s an in-house thing. They might farm out the spewing of such propaganda to Fox and AP and CNN etc… but the in-house writers produce the scripts the “independent” media are paid to mouth for them.

Howabout an unexpurgated face of war

Forbidden image of a dead US soldierThe US media was not permitted to depict fallen soldiers, in or out of the coffin. Next military censors forbade photos of US wounded. Most recently US soldiers have been under orders to prohibit the press from photographing them at all, to promote the illusion that our Iraqi surrogates alone are handling security. How infuriated our officials must have been to see this photograph in the international press.

Do Americans not want to see their fallen boys? In my recent experience with death, I most certainly wanted to see what happened straight up. Do the families of soldiers really not want to see how their loved one met his/her fate? What utter bullshit! If they don’t I do. Someone should care enough for the poor lost life!

Hopefully the total control our military has been asserting over media images will result in more outright mutiny on the part of international photo journalists.

Not long ago, a sequence of photos which documented the aftermath of an IED led the DoD to forbid all depictions of even wounded soldiers. The picture below shows a victim trying vainly to join his comrades who made it to cover. He didn’t die. But this image most certainly is dispiriting to Americans watching safely from their homes, who are losing their stamina for an ugly war.

Last permitted photo of a wounded US soldier

Before coverage of operations in Iraq were safely controlled by only embedded reporters, freelance photographers were able to record images reminiscent of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. These GIs fell in the assault on Fallujah. Fortunately for the Pentagon, Iraq is now too dangerous for journalist who don’t have American minders.
US casualties in Fallujah

A recent so-called breach of an embed contract yielded images of the aftermath of a suicide-bomb attack. The American photographer incurred heavy criticism for publishing the pictures which his Marine unit had ordered him to erase. But they were published in B&W, which invokes the famous WWII Pacific Theater dead, but it does lessen the realism, doesn’t it? These casualties seem more distant than our losses in Vietnam. And how do you reconcile that the simultaneous photos of the Iraqi casualties were printed adjacent in color? We can handle seeing the red of their blood, but not ours?

Dead US Marines

Tiny doomsday prophets

If we listen closely, there’s a small voice in the wilderness, calling out to us, warning of a coming transformation.
 
No, it’s not John the Baptist. It’s America’s honey bee, dying by the millions, prophesying the demise of the country’s fruit and vegetable supplies.

More than a hundred crops rely on bee pollination for survival, yet bees are dying off by the millions — 90% of the feral bee population has died — due to a mysterious condition called Colony Collapse Disorder. No doubt it is due to man’s interference with delicate natural goings-on, and his extreme disrespect for the Earth herself. The health of the planet is being sacrificed on the the altar of corporate ignorance and greed.

A really amazing documentary called Vanishing of the Bees is in the works. Check out the trailer here. Seriously, check it out.

If this war, and those to follow, global warming, environmental toxins, inaccessible health care, the credit collapse, the burning of the Constitution, the destruction of community, apocalyptic Christian Zionism, the lies and deceptions and ugliness and hate and greed of this current administration, and the next, aren’t enough to cause self-examination and a commitment to change, this may very well be the thing that gets our attention.

Albert Einstein said if honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years.

Pre-e-e-pare ye the way of desolation and death. . . .

Consumers to the very end

Garish funeral casketIf you’ve ever watched Six Feet Under, you have a sense of what happens to the body prior to a conventional funeral and burial. If this is an indignity that you are willing to suffer, and a price tag that you are willing to bear, so be it.

But consider for a moment the environmental impact of the typical funerary send-off.

After the funeral service, the body is sealed inside a metal casket or lacquered wooden coffin lined with plush satin and adorned with gleaming brass accessories. This is then lowered into a concrete vault and buried. The reinforced concrete tomb is covered with a ton of dirt, and planted with non-native grass which is kept artificially green with pesticide and weed killer.

A ten-acre tract of cemetery ground hides enough coffin wood to construct more than 40 homes, and contains nearly a thousand tons of casket steel and another twenty thousand tons of concrete.

Formaldehyde, the primary ingredient in embalming fluids and a known carcinogen, is another concern. Nearly a million gallons of embalming fluid are buried every year in North America, some of which eventually leaches out and runs into surrounding soil and groundwater.

Above ground, the local cemetery looks peaceful and pastoral. But below the surface it serves, to all intents and purposes, as a landfill of hazardous wastes and non-biodegradable materials. An affront to nature, to be sure.

Natural burial groundA modern natural burial, wherein the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and be recycled into new life, is an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices. The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket that might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper.

A completed natural burial preserve is a green place with trees, grasses, and wildflowers, which in turn bring birds and other wildlife to the area. It is a living memorial and leaves a legacy of care for those of us who respect the earth and understand our connection to it.

What could be more organic than to become a part of nature? Death does, after all, complete the circle of life. I would find it comforting to know that my body will someday enrich the soil and allow living things to flourish. Maybe a molecule of mine will end up in a berry eaten by a bird. More likely, I’ll be a nut eaten by a manic squirrel.