Lookout, he’s Behind you.

He’s behind you – we are all terrorists when we nod in approval at the belated contrition of MI5 acknowledging no specific terrorist, but generalized terror.

He’s behind you – we are all terrorists when, listening to the security announcements to leave no bag untended we accept that some higher authority is watching out for us on the platform. They will come and destroy the bags, they are watching behind a bank of screens somewhere, say hi mom.

She’s behind you – the academic analyst searching for new metaphors and stories to think and rethink, to think differently in a time of total war.

He’s behind you – Aki Nawaz, but actually Aki is in Pakistan having just run the Gaza blockade.

He’s behind you – the policy strategist in the Pentagon, the under-assistant west coast arms procurement officer, the new media radiological cybernetic transfer consultant, the sociologist with a penchant for pop-psych warfare, the anthropologist writing the counter-insurgency procedures manual, the shooter behind the screen..

He’s behind you – in Rocklands, having cracked their skulls dragging moloch to heaven. Yes, it is the stupid economy. And no surprise that the War on Iraq costs as much as the Bank bailout at circa 700 Billion

He’s behind you – they have something of which they are very proud, they call it education and it distinguishes them from the goatherds…

He’s behind you – driving home from Bakersfield listening to gospel music on the coloured radio station where the preacher says you always have the lord by your side.

He’s behind you – I was so pleased to be informed of this that I ran 20 red lights, thank-you Jesus, thank-you Lord. (Let us by all means discuss religion, but not from the normative comparative scenario that compares Christianity with Islam, Christianity with Buddhism, Christianity with the Ghost Dance religion or some Pagan Wicca Druid Festive Wig Wam… and let us not appoint Tony Blair to a lectureship in Religion and Globalization, as Yale has done)

She’s behind you and her name is Scheherazade, no longer telling stories in the Nawab’s boudoir but this time she’s been detained, rendered and interned in Guantanamo. Kept on her own in a cell except for a daily interrogation when she is brought before her captors who demand a story. She obliges them and provokes ever more draconian civil liberties crackdowns and higher and higher terror alert ratings in the metropolises, but her stories can never set her free and she will never become queen while a thousand and one terrors assail us all.

I imagine Roshan Seth, forlorn pissed fool, receiving pleading SMS alerts, but with his Bloody Mary he has no defence against too many years of persecution and disappointment. Papa Hussein is drunk in bed watching Bollywood reruns and maybe Stephen Frears later confections like The Queen (2006). Scheherezade’s story cannot get out – sunk in the depths of a massive archive of forced confessions. Roshan Seth’s journalism cannot save her, and we need more than sozzled rants.


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