FROM THE INSCAPE ARCHIVES, vol. 63, Oct.'08: Framing Terrorism and Filling The Vacancy of First Departure PART II
by Frank Turrisi
(cont'd from PART I)
Our staff review their favorite issues from the Inscape Archives, available at Shatford Library, Pasadena City College (click here)
While “Leaving Home” tells a timeless story, but is perhaps inspired by the idea of the widespread displacement that permeated our society in 2008, “Terrorism” seems to be directly related to the wars the U.S. was immersed in at the time, and what proved to be the long-drawnout “War on Terror” of post 9/11 we’re still fighting today. This story is told through the eyes of a young boy whose village has just been bombed, and he is forced to maneuver the streets “full of dead bodies” and “soldiers sent by their officials to kill anyone in sight” just to get back home and find out if his family is still alive. His village is in a state of devastation that most Americans couldn’t begin to fathom, and though this is a fictional piece, the writer does well to give you the real sense that happenings like this are commonplace in the foreign lands like Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq today. Even though there is no actual mention of where the story takes place, knowing what we know now in 2017, the boy’s depiction of the ruthless militia in “Terrorism” can’t help but stir up images of how extremist groups like ISIS emerged with the political destabilization that occurred when the U.S. overthrew the old Iraqi regime. In the boy’s terrifying journey to get back to his house, he asks himself questions that are only made more haunting by his lack of understanding of the world, “Why do the soldiers have to come and destroy everything?” He continues, “We haven’t done anything to anyone.” The young boy is finally able to make his way back home. The soldiers have torn the place apart looking to kill its residents, but instead only destroy all the belongings within. The boy is hopeful when he notices the camouflaged basement door. When the boy makes his way into the basement, he finds his family alive, mother, father, and sister. Yet, no sooner can they rejoice, than do the soldiers find them. One by one, the soldiers execute the boy’s family in front of him. First the sister, to make the parents’ suffer more, then the mother and father themselves. Lastly, our protagonist is also killed by the soldier’s plunge of the knife into his heart.
“Terrorism” is effective in depicting the truths of war, and not succumbing to a happy ending for the reader’s sake. All you need to do is take a deeper look into the propaganda of ISIS, or read up on the slew of terrorist attacks and public executions that ISIS has executed worldwide, to know that Muyle’s ending is perhaps lending an eye to the future and the face we know as terrorism today. Muyle’s bleak ending sheds light on extremist groups like ISIS motive to completely wipe out their enemies, and how they are too willing to claim ownership of the Orlando, San Bernardino, and the recent Las Vegas attacks on our soil. It is the ideology of ISIS that the group hopes can spread to infiltrate the minds within free cultures worldwide. Today, we continue our elusive fight against terror, while terror continues to assume other forms and faces. It is difficult not to feel like the boy at the end of Muyle’s story, as he watches his entire family get killed and innocently wonders, “all this for one side to win a war?”
If the intent of the 2008 Inscape Print Edition is to form an eclectic gallery show of the work on its pages, then it the issue’s award winners in the Non-Fiction and Fiction categories that give the show relevance in its time. There might be better examples of writing than “Terrorism” and “Leaving Home” even within this issue, but what makes these works award-winners, is honestly tackling the important issues of their day. Since the turn of the millennia, nothing has threatened our citizens more than the displacement from the U.S. Subprime Mortgage Crisis and the collapse of the economy it subsequently caused, or 9/11 and the wars against terrorism we have waged in its wake. I encourage anybody to stop by Shatford Library and examine PCC’s Inscape collection, and examine how the publication has reflected the current social concerns of society of since the 1950’s (formerly Pipes of Pan) for themselves.