An Interview With Colman McCarthy
Pacifists believe in force: the force of justice, the force of ideas, of love, of organized resistance to Caesar and the Pharaohs. Others solve their problems through the force of fists, guns, armies, and nukes. There’s no third way. Any problem you have, whether at home with your family or among governments, is going to be solved through the use of force: nonviolent force or violent force.
Bob’s friend Ken was supposed to meet him at the Internationalist around nine that very night. But when Ken opened the creaky screen door, he found Bob sprawled on the floor, bleeding and unconscious. He’d been shot in the head. Ken called for an ambulance and the police, and Bob was rushed to the hospital, but he never regained consciousness. He died the following day.
A personal visit from God could turn my life around. Then it wouldn’t matter that I was terrible at dodge ball, that I wore homemade dresses, that I didn’t have a Captain Midnight lunch box, that I had the lowest cookie-sales record in the Brownies. They’d point at me on the playground. That’s Ashley. God came to see her. Yeah. She told us all about it at show and tell.
U.S. bomber pilots destroyed or incapacitated eighteen of Iraq’s twenty electrical power plants. The link between that and children dying today was explained by the Harvard team: “Without electricity, water cannot be purified, sewage cannot be treated, waterborne diseases flourish, and hospitals cannot cure treatable illnesses.”
We were seven years old. The Church believed we had reached the age of reason. I believed that when the priest placed the first holy wafer on my tongue, if I didn’t swallow it, if I could keep it from melting in my mouth, then when I stepped outside the church I would rise into the sky.
My keeper hurled me into the hole, and jumped in after me. She pulled the floorboards back into place, over our heads, and we were engulfed in darkness as the hammering against the front door started. I tried to call out, but her thick arm snaked around my chest, and her calloused palm clamped over my mouth, as the sound of wood splintering, and then crashing, exploded all around us.
Then, a mist drifted up in front of my eyes. It started gray. It began to burn, to get redder and redder and the words I heard rolling from my lips were like the words my grandpa knew. They were holy words, words of the old prophets. Wanton. Strumpet. Whore. Sister of the serpent, angel of evil, Satan’s bitch, vessel of filth, pestilence of desire, demoness eater of the soul.