Men Only Protest? [Flash Fiction]

A man and his friend are at the bar in a restaurant in SOHO. They are having a beer, pints. It is lunch time. They are talking as men talk at bars over beers all across the western world–no?

Did you have a look at Muslim protests against the ISIS bombings in Paris–where were the women? The first man asks. I did not see women among the protesters, the man says to the other man, his friend, at the bar in SOHO. (Were they all of them men? I did not look. What does this mean if they were all of them men? Where were the women? I ask.)

How is it that it takes something like Paris to evoke Muslims to respond virtually en-masse–not really though–against ISIS. I do not get the impression from families where women wear niqabs in New York City that they are against ISIS,

His friend added, Perhaps they only want to appear so now because they fear reprisals.

If I had heard enough response from Muslims when it came to ISIS before this, I  might have thought about this conversation differently.

The man who had been talking first and the more loudly of the two men together at the bar in a Bar and Grill in SOHO said that he could not forget his friend from Queens  telling him about the Pakistani teenagers jumping for joy and gleefully shouting in Urdu or Sindhi or Punjabi or Pashto while watching the Twin Towers fall again and again on Youtube from one of their hand held laptops as he passed them. He could see what was on the screen. His passing them did not even make them quiet their glee; that’s how full of themselves they were in the hours after 9/11.

I disagree with Plato in his ethics when he asserts that a good man is the one who only dreams what wicked men practice.

The man’s friend standing next to him at the bar with another pint in his hand said, and clearly–as I had my notebook with me, as I always have pen and paper with me handy everywhere I go, practically taking dictation–I’ve learned to write quickly–A Muslim teenager who dreams of making America low and dreams of blowing up infidels is a danger to the greater security of the United States because what are his moral barriers to practicing this hatred and killing. I understand that killers are killers and that they have enough in them to overstep any moral barriers, but some moral barriers are more easily crossed than others.

Exactly, the first man said, Does a terrorist bent on killing infidels get incentive from Qu’ran? Does he get it from Sharia Law? Is he given incentive by either? Do they not exonerate him? His questions were inflected rhetorically.

I am not surprised that this conversation was heard not in a working class bar in Brooklyn, but in this bar in SOHO Manhattan on a day soon after the Paris attacks. It is not significant how accurate the assessments are, but that they are made and believed is what is significant.

We cannot forget what we did to the Japanese and Japanese Americans who were interred during World War Two, especially because it came after an act of aggression against the United States. Germans and Italians were not interred as much for this reason, neither Germany nor Italy had committed an act of aggression against the United States before our involvement in the Second World War, as it was because they were white, or at least not Asian, as it has come up in some reasoning, in other rhetoric. Even Nazis sabotage did not happen until after Lend Lease where we were supplying Britain and the Soviet Union with war materials. This could easily creep back into our reasoning, as we understand that Islamic Terrorism is unprovoked. It is equal in our minds, and the governments rationale, with Pearl Harbor.


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