Tonight

I don’t know anyone who was born in Syria, needless to say, I don’t know anyone who has had to flee Syria since it became, so far as I can tell, the battleground of a tyrant who intends to cling to power no matter what and regional powers who want a piece of the action and fundamentalist militants and fuck knows what else. Who can tell any more.

I was born in the palmy aftermath of the Second World War, when in America at least — my Brit friends have acquainted me with a less swimming narrative — suburbia was thriving and people who had survived deployment were fathering families and going to school on the GI bill and slapping down the down-payments on houses and saving to send their kids to colleges which wouldn’t bankrupt either generation. No Fortune 500 company hired me, but I had the platform in an increasingly unequal economy to scratch, claw and clobber my way to a house. I love my house. My house cares for me. It protects me.

No one (yet) has any reason to bomb my house or the neighborhood where it sits.

No one (yet) has dropped anywhere near me chemical agents that sear lungs, blind eyes, execute whole families.

I get up in the morning and I bitch about the people I have to deal with performing my everyday errands. The sky is blue, when it isn’t raining the blessed and gentle rain of the Tidewater. Nothing evil falls from it.

I live in Paradise. I have a few dollars to send to the UN refugee aid, after making sure my future is taken care of. No one has yet ripped it away from the sky.

I don’t know what to say or think about the state of the world, or Tomahawk missiles. I do have to think that we in the United States can take the chance on people who are running away from a sky that, on a random day in a random place, can rain hell on the home you have worked for your whole life.

I am lucky. So lucky.

Journeys

When I was in the local German chorus and social club – like most honkie Americans, I have Kraut in me, but mainly I liked singing Brahms and Wagner — I sat in the alto section beside a woman from Koln of whom I grew quite fond, who remembered, in the days after the end of the Second World War, walking across leagues of Germany with her mother and her two little sisters; remembered the American GI who saw a tired woman with three tired children and gave them everything in his ration pack.

MUNICH — Germans waving welcome signs in German, English and Arabic came to the train station here Saturday to greet the first group of what is expected to be about 8,000 migrants to arrive in Germany by early Sunday, after an arduous and emotional journey through Hungary and Austria.

Germans applauded and volunteers offered hot tea, food and toys as about 450 migrants arrived on a special train service from Austria, finally reaching Germany, which had held out an open hand to them. (Click to read more at the NY Times)

All of Europe has had the shit kicked out of it at one time or another — certainly more recently in history than anywhere on my big continent — and I’m not ready to explain Hungary, say, but I think I understand the Germans shouting Welcome and pouring tea.

photo credit Fox News

photo credit Fox News

I threw some money at the UN refugee agency. I wish I knew the name of that GI. I’d tell people it was from him.