Reasoning with Bombs

He walked into the room. Both men were sitting, tied to their chairs, staring down each other. He sat down with both of them, glad that he taped shut their mouths. Religious army-types without guns talk as if their lives depend on it, even more so when it comes to justifying their actions.

In a brief flash, he realized that just having them both in the same room was an impressive feat in and of itself. Then he remembered the manner in which that meeting was arranged: violence may not be the best method, and shouldn’t be the first choice, but it always gets the job done. He reassured himself that he tried all the other peaceful, diplomatic alternatives, but these two almost seemed to like killing each other, and there’s no negotiating with that.

He looked down and took a deep breath:

“You may be wondering how you got here, but I won’t go into details. And, because I’ve been following you for a long while now, I know you, and I know what you’re thinking. So let me get a couple of points off my chest before we get started:”

“First, let me assure you that you are going to get out of this alive, so relax. In fact, it is imperative that both of you stay alive for both your sakes, but more on that in a minute.”

“Second, strip from yourselves the belief of superiority over me. You’re sitting right now where you are because of me and nobody right now suspects you’re missing, and they won’t for a couple of hours, so sit tight.”

“And, thirdly, you don’t know me; I’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that. Don't waste your precious amount of focus in planning how to get back at me. Even if it doesn't look it, my intent here is to help.”

A deep stare right in the middle of the room seems to jump over his guests philosophical division.

“So, lets start with the obvious topic: why are you here? And the answer is that I’m sick of your war. I'm sick of the death toll. And I’m specially sick of seeing people around the world needing to choose a side and justify your actions and follies, as if it were a bloody football match.”

“Your fight is not even new. All your rhetoric, your whining, and your misguided words of condemnation of the other side is not even original. They’re your ancestors’ words. You’re both historical pawns, and you’re pathetically proud of it. So, get this through your thick, reactionary skulls: I don’t care why you think you are correct. You are both wrong. Period.”

“What I do care about is that right now, at this moment, you’re both acting like petulant 5-year-olds, pointing to their mummies that the other one started it. Petulant little kids with bombs.”

“Never mind the deaths you both have caused in both sides. Never mind the idiotic interpretations you’ve made of your corresponding sacred texts to justify them. Never mind the never-ending spin, misinformation tactics, and baffling hypocrisy you’ve both employed to gain international support. Stupidities like spreading propaganda that condemns the spread of propaganda, being proud of having the ‘most humane army’, or blaming the other side of ‘war crimes’. Never mind that you are ignoring a very important fact: all wars are crimes.”

“Never mind any of that. The most infuriating part of all of this is that your own history, your own philosophies, your own religions, are holding the answer to all of this. It was right in front you and you have missed it all this time: YOU ARE THE SAME.”

“Both of you have felt the lives of being refugees. Both of you have religions that state, very clearly, that you should not murder. Both of you have solidified what really means to treat your neighbor as brother, and that family is everything. Both of you have struggled in exactly the same way.”

“The problem is that, you’re carrying too much generational baggage, and you actually believe it matters. It doesn’t. It really, really doesn’t. What does matter is that the more you shout at, and bomb, and kill people on the other side, the more weight you’re adding to what your children will need to carry. The course you both have chosen to walk together will only end until both of you kill each other.”

Shouting at both of them, spilling his soul onto the table.

“For the love of Jehovah and Allah, and for the sake of your children, just, please, stop!”

He stops briefly to gain his composure. A deep sigh of resignation softly exits his body. He nods, and continues.

“I would love to believe that this speech would be enough. But, like I said, I know you, and I know it won’t. There are no words to change the way you think, and that’s what makes all of this so difficult for me. Because you yourselves are like bombs.”

“Bombs that are fuelled by a deadly combination of pride, prejudice, stubbornness, and arrogance, with a short fuse that is always lighted time and time again by a misplaced sense of ancestral entitlement. You can’t talk to a bomb, you can’t reason with it, the only thing that is left to do with a bomb is to... to...”

His pause seemed infinite. He can’t finish that sentence. It’s too cruel. He bites his lip. He needs to continue.

“You see, the more you insist that the other should be obliterated, the more I wish that both of you were obliterated.”

His voice starts to crack. 

“And may God forgive me for saying this, but I’m right now wishing you both didn’t exist, because, well, simply, you are tearing away my faith in God.”

Standing up, fighting the urge to weep at what he was about to say:

“Because if God was truly infallible, He wouldn’t have created you. Any of you.”

Both stare at him, wide-eyed. Their eyes are filled with judgement of sacrilege.

“You are open books to me, and you don’t get to judge me. You are a couple of so called God’s Soldiers that are just following orders from petulant men. You, your existence, is the true blasphemy here. And, since neither of you are able to see that, you have convinced me that you are not worthy of doing God’s work. At least not the way you’re behaving right now.”

“A friend once told me that if you see something wrong with the world, it’s actually God telling you to fix it. So here’s my fix:”

He brings into view two brain scans. Both brain scans appear to not be of the same person, but both have a small dark section right in their cross-section. He hands one to one man, and hands another to the other.

“These are your brains, and I have arranged to put, inside each of them, a small warhead with the destructive power of a hand grenade. They are armed, and the firing mechanism is being fed by your own life support. Meaning, if you die, your head will blow up. However, both of these mechanisms are linked: if one blows up, so will the other.”

Both men look at each other, with stares of bafflement and shock.

“You have been living under the assumption that the world would be better off without the other. I’m taking that option away from you.”

He takes the tapes off of their mouths and unties them off their seats.

“Now you need to go and live your lives with the knowledge that for one to live, so does the other. Coincidentally, this was the truth all along. I hope unifying that truth with your favorite toy, helps it sink in.”

Shaken but satisfied, he steps back into the shadows while a door opens on the other side of the room, letting sunlight in. He does not witness that, at least for a moment, both men keep sitting down while their stares change, from a sense of mutual hatred, to something else.

“He said we still have a couple of hours.”

“Yeah. Lets talk.”

“We need some aspirin. My head is killing me.”

“Mine too.”

Two small, almost unidentifiable chuckles were carried outside the room by the dry wind of the Mediterranean Sea.

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