Saturday Morning — 21 August 2021
At 5am in mid sleep, somehow I’m typing into an iPad, profusely thanking my friend Juliette for noticing a little post I had shared.
It must have really been bothering me. Ordinarily I could care less if anyone noticed or Liked anything I posted on Facebook. But this was different. From every direction an uninformed, hateful, pessimistic view of ending the Afghanistan occupation. Every news report and outlet dead set on making it worse, scarier, more dangerous. People dying needlessly in stampedes. Each hourly false prediction proving again that everything they thought they knew about Afghanistan was presumption and propaganda. The latest assault: the US would grab billions in Afghan financial assets, to be frozen in international banks — a first taste of the kind of shameful abuse we’ve been conducting against Cuba’s population for more than 60 years, as punishment for winning. Let’s make sure as people run for their lives, their debit cards stop working. And no pushback or skepticism in the reports whatsoever. I tried to engage with friends, even commiserate. Apparently no one saddened, angry, or in agreement. Ghosted.
When I was growing up in Queens, everyone knew the name Kitty Genovese. Late one night she was stabbed to death by a stranger outside her building. Legend had it dozens of her neighbors heard her screams and closed their windows without calling the police as she died. Her name became synonymous with what was sick and broken about our society.
Was I seeing that syndrome updated to scale, worldwide, live on Facebook? Hundreds of my real Friends would rather be silent accessories to mass murder than make a single click. When someone finally did, I had to respond — in a public comment on the post she had Liked:
I mentioned Godwin because I had used the phrase “good German”, and because he’s a personal friend who had actually reacted appropriately to a recent Afghanistan post. I wondered if Juliette would get the reference to Godwin’s Law, an insight about people who make Holocaust analogies in discussions online. I posted my thanks and was asleep.
When I woke up for real, Juliette had already replied.