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On Thu, 20 Sep 2001 16:52:49 -0400, Ken Armstrong wrote:

>  I'm still reading/thinking/opining/maybe responding; but just want to 
>intersperse that while I would agree that confusing the aesthetic with the 
>actual is not good, it may be too soon to say that what is an atrocity may 
>not also be a tragedy or be so from a different perspective, especially 
>after one allows as how one does not understand the symbolism involved in 
>the act. Miguel de Unamuno wrote about the tragic sense of life. I'm not 
>sure that the  tragic is not something bred in the bone.

I agree.  

Tragedy in simple terms is the fall of someone who has the seeds of
greatness in them.  Adam is tragic.  Jesus is comic.  Dante is the
divine comic (Joyce's phrase in FW) because Hell is ultimately only a
part of his commedia.

The tragedy will come if the USA, a country that has the seeds of
greatness in it, falls as a result of the attack against it, the
Toynbeean blow that kickstarts all civilisations. 

The tragedy has not yet happened.  But it may now unfold with the
Christian Western civilisation embodied in the USA as its tragic hero.

The fact is that Afghanistan should now be a tourist not a terrorist
resort (vide Dubai and Oman, countries where I lived in the 80's).
There used to be a Sheraton in Kabul - we used to audit it out of
Tehran in 1978.   When Russia withdrew the US could have provided aid
and resources (as it did post WWII to Germany and Japan).  The US is a
great country but it betrayed Afghanistan, or at least allowed a
vacuum, or rather a black hole,  to develop.

When the US attacks in the next few days there will be a new horror,
already surely planned, unleashed, almost certainly, we are told, in
the UK.  My eldest son moves from our safe Atlantic island to London
to become a medical student next week.  We too are moving as players
in the play.    

My daily and fervent prayer is that the US and its eventual allies
will not join Oedipus and Lear in the tragic dust.  

There is a story that the Syrians were marching south to invade Egypt
and they came across a ruined city.  It took them thee days to ride
past it.  No one knew what is was and they sent back to Syria to find
out.  No one there knew.  It was Ninevah.  I used to rehearse this
story and assure myself that this could never happen to New York.  I
have now lost my faith.

Civilisation is grinding on its hinges.  God have mercy on us all.