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Sleepless (and godless) in Rome

Story by Phil Sick Images by Muge Karamanci

In the Roman Winter, kids start playing with firecrackers real early. It ain’t even Winter when they start and it goes on for a few days after new year’s eve, too. You don’t want any leftover crackers laying around either. I used to play with them, mostly to blow up mailboxes and other petty stuff kids do. Now firecrackers get on my nerves, mostly because they scare animals and old people. I’ve got a dog, but he’s deaf, so I guess this change of heart must be because I’m simply getting old. This year, they haven’t really started yet and I wonder if they’ll ever actually will. I heard two or three going off a week ago, but ever since the economic crisis I’ve noticed that kids decided it was either hash or firecrackers, or to simply take it easy on the latter. I was in Milan this weekend and when I got back I asked my Brazilian neighbor if she heard any firecrackers at all during the weekend. She said… none since terror spread through Paris. The exact answer I was pretty sure I was going to get, not knowing really what to make of it all the same.

©Muge Karamanci

©Muge Karamanci

When Isis claimed the mess they had just pulled off, they immediately announced similar actions to be committed against the other cities of the cross. Featured in said message, written in French and Russian, was a cute little background: Eiffel Tower in the middle, Big Ben on the left and the Coliseum on the right. What happened to St. Peter’s I asked myself almost indignantly? The white house wasn’t there but I reckon it was left out because the threat was foe EU citizens only, like those signs at some airports. It’s the worst moment to be anal about these things, but these uncivil nutters behind the attacks should realize that the Coliseum is where they used to feed Christians (So called people of the cross, although in those days the fish was more in vogue) to wild animals. Now, I’m sure religion has comforted many, many people and given them purpose, but open a history book (Boy, am I ancient), turn on the news or surf the web (That’s more like it eh?). To all the alkies and sinners, I want to say, regardless of your faith, that just as you guys’ life has turned around, many many have been killed, slain, raped, stoned, burned, tortured, mocked and so forth. You may argue that it wasn’t religion per se that did it, but evil men using it and distorting it to their advantage and personal gain.

©Muge Karamanci

©Muge Karamanci

As I write this piece, the blitz in Paris, Saint Denis, where they say Abbaoud, the (scrambled) brain behind the terrorist acts of that Friday, is taking place. You might remember him as that “friendly” Jihad soldier some of you might’ve seen in newsreels where he ties dead soldiers to his van and takes off with a big, proud smile. I woke up around five this morning, because of my restless little dog that decided to be an early bird and force me to take him out to do his duties and read the paper (Dogs sniffing other dogs’ piss is a canine form of reading newspapers if you think about it). Got back, cup of coffee and turned the telly on, because I sure didn’t have anywhere to go that early in the fucking morning… Blitz in Paris, I rub my sleepy eyes and I wonder if me or perhaps my set is having a déjà vu… Nope, the “GIGN” (French Swat) had moved in to raid an apartment in the area of Saint Denis, close to the very same Stadium where two grenades had been set off.

©Muge Karamanci

©Muge Karamanci

Around nine I take off, got to meet my doctor, I already scheduled. Rome seems the usually mess of traffic jams and bad public transportation, but no fuss. I caress my scooter as I take off, blessing him despite being an atheist chap. Good chances are I won’t blow up on a bus or in the subway today. I do drive by an American school, and the Italian soldiers that guard it (Please don’t snicker), don’t look any different from yesterday or the day before. The Italian army has seven hundred extra soldiers patrolling the streets (Alright, laugh your damn heads off now), more check points in proximity of Vatican city, but other than seeing other developments as I drink my coffee in a bar and learning that the ISIS chick that blew herself up, injuring five GIGN guys and killing a police dog, was related to Abboud, people seem to carry on, business as usual.

©Muge Karamanci

©Muge Karamanci

The English soccer team played against France, the whole stadium (mostly English supporters and a few French) sang the Marseilles along with the players. Russia and France are bombing the hell out of Raqqa as we speak and Putin, because of the alleged Russian charter that was taken down in the Egyptian skies, wants to promote a new law that will enable the government to freeze any assets and bank accounts of people suspected, and I stress only suspected of having something to do with Islamic terrorism. Now, imagine any sucker Putin wants to get rid of that is even remotely religious and bats for the crescent moon cult, I mean religion… There will be more Patriot acts and flying on a goddam plane will be even more a pain in the ass than it is nowadays. As I write, eat and shit; time goes by and more news comes in, often contradicting the previous information. Apparently Abboud, your friendly terrorist attack planner, has actually been killed along with his cousin who actually committed suicide and took that poor fucking dog with her. He only wanted to sniff her out. Not in a sexual way, in a more bomby way.

©Muge Karamanci

©Muge Karamanci

While bombing ISIS training grounds in Syria, “Messieur Holland” promises that no anti-semitism or anti-muslim acts will be tolerated within the egalitarian French Republic. While Saint Denis is being once again dipped in blood and terror, the Russian and the French bomb hand in hand, the caliphate kills, mames, but also unites, you gotta give it to them. Pope Francis said he won’t make the Holy Vatican bullet proof as in the only armor we know is the one forged with love and turning the other cheek. The armor bit I added myself; thought it sounded cute. I’d like to see some pedophile cardinal, like one of those clad in silk garments, Prada red slippers and purple socks, explode and try to turn the other cheek with no damn face on him. But I wasn’t exactly raped as a kid (Molested by my friends nanny, yes, but though people say it was bad I must say it felt good at the time), so all this sheer hate is maybe a little excessive. I’m sure it is full of Christians full of goodwill and yatta-yatta who do not exactly deserve to blow up with “Monsignor Ilikem Young” or “Father McGreedy” or “Sister Incest”…

©Muge Karamanci

©Muge Karamanci

Abboud said that Interpol, C.I.A and so forth have been at him since he started his career, but God was helping him out and they’ll never catch him. “How do you know?” a reporter asked him, and the answer was an evergreen classic: “God talks to me…” If I ever tried to say something like that, let’s say, to my boss, I’d be in a straight jacket, and if not in a straight jacket, at least on some heavy meds. Thing is, I wouldn’t personally mind so much if only I could pick them… I don’t know if my insomnia of these recent days has been a consequence of the attacks, but sometimes I wonder if we’re on the verge of another huge world war, and wasn’t it Einstein that said the next one after the third would be fought with sticks and stones? I’m not gonna bother Googling this to verify my source (Good old Albert), but when the fuzz say that murders are usually committed out of lust or greed, trust me that wars work pretty much the same, only a pinch less of lust and good cup and a half more of plain ignorance. How many of us have actually read the Koran? The Bible? Do we know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites? Did you guys know that Muslims actually believe that Jesus existed and he was a prophet only Christians blew it out of proportion? Am I asking too many questions? Perhaps so, but there must be people with a lot of power laughing their wrinkled asses as we speak, while they throw dice around playing a little more complex version of Risk in secret compounds, over our clueless heads as they giggle watching CNN and saying “And these suckers actually believe this whole new mess we created is about religion?” Not only many of us kind of do, but many of those poor, rejected, jobless, European, second or even third generation Muslims blow themselves up or convince other illiterate persons to do so in their place. Like if you do so you’ll have forty virgins and rivers of milk and honey running all over the place. Word of advice: the only thing your charred penis will ever see is a bag of worms that will feast on it. Also, do you really find milk and honey that yummy?

©Muge Karamanci

©Muge Karamanci

Bill De Blasio says the City will welcome refugees from Syria. I saw a four-year-old French asian kid being interviewed along with his dad. “We are going to leave our home because there are mean men who want to kill us…” Says the kid to the reporter. “We’re going nowhere son, France is our home…” Steps in dad with perfect accent. It is clear that, just like his son, his mother tongue is French. “But those guys have guns, and, and… they want to hurt us…” Says the kid, genuinely scared as he looks around to all the cards, lit candles and flowers that were put close to one of the restaurants of the shootings. “That is what the flowers are for…” Goes Daddy. “The flowers? They’re for protection? Against guns?” Says the even more puzzled toddler. “Yes, see how many there are…” Says Papa. “And what are the candles for?” Goes kiddo trying to make some sense out if his father’s wacky, yet ever so sincere, touching sweetness. “They’re there to commemorate those who left us…”

I gotta say, I was touched. Despite all my cynicism… that was the best thing my insomniac coverage of the events had to offer me this past week. If things will really degenerate, I ain’t going to stay home, whether I am in Rome, in NYC or in Berlin. I wouldn’t even go out and buy a bullet proof vest (It might get me through a stabbin’ or a few AK’47 rounds, but grenades, forget about it) and not only because I am a cheap bastard, mostly because they make you look like an ass, style is important and if you gotta go and if your time’s up, you want to do it with style. Do I suggest you go around chanting and giving flowers to people with machine guns? Fuck no, that’d be even worse. I heard a guy saying that Muslims would never know where to attack in Williamsburg these days, you know with all the beards walking around. All the same, make sure yours isn’t too scruffy because you might be pulled over by the cops and roughed up, maybe while your reading the Koran as I suggested earlier.

 

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