The Dead Flag Blues

The car is on fire, and there’s no driver at the wheel
And the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
And a dark wind blows
The government is corrupt
And we’re on so many drugs
With the radio on and the curtains drawn
We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death

– Godspeed You! Black Emperor ‘the Dead Flag Blues’


Sometimes I write things in one go, sometimes I write them in a few different states of mind. I wrote this bit when I was angry, scared and deeply touched and sad. I’m writing to make sense for myself. Please don’t take anything to harshly. What I wrote was inspired by some thoughts following the crash of MH17 and some older thoughts about why we fight. Not why you and I could have a fight, but how masses of people fight and kill for lofty goals that are nothing but hollow ideals. 

Sometimes I get really scared. I don’t think anyone really notices, but I do. I am scared of some things that I have no control of at all. Mobs, groups, populations scare me and the way governments or opinion leaders can easily influence them. It seems like just an easy game to whip up anger, to place the blame and victimize another. The first thing that scared me was the mob mentality of social justice or whatever you call it when people take justice in our own hand. Our justice system might not be perfect, but what crime makes it right to mutilate another, to hound people, to tarnish their names forever and destroy their lives. Just and unjust victims of this mentality have been driven to suicide. Suicide, lets give that word a moment to sink in. Do you value your life? I do, I had times when I thought I didn’t, but I never contemplated suicide.

A man was burned alive because people were sure he was a pedophile. Another was hounded and threatened, because his name was the same as some guy suspected of animal abuse, a young boy of 15 can never live out his full potential, because he kicked a girl. Who in the name of Christ are we to judge others? He who is free of sin, cast the first stone, is it not? I have the fortune of misfortune of having gained inside in the private lives of many people and I have found little to none with a clean slate. We are all sinners. Some sins we think of as horrible and perhaps rightly so. It doesn’t give us right to be judge and excecutioner at the same time. Mob rules, another word is ochlocracy… the result is usually the tyranny of the majority.

Tyranny of one or all, it always has one thing in common: those who are different will suffer. I understand the wish for justice and also the idea that our system is not strict enough. Then the system should be changed to the current world, not just doing whatever you feel is right. There will be blood. Flight MH17 was that blood, it was blood of the innocent, but who’s innocent anyways? I sometimes think we just want to see the world bleed. Even the dead are part of this game of rallying the masses. Many Dutch people are ready to take up arms, we cry for justice, justice for that black hole that was shot into our society.


The way things look now, there will be blood. The insanity of the masses is the most murderous when it is placed under a banner, a flag, an ideal or a name like Russia, USA, Peace, Freedom or Liberty. As long as these still have to be pronounced there are no beacons of hope to speak of, they are the flags of the dead. Flags that represent allt he senseles killing that flows from the human race not being able to function as one, mainly because of an invented entity called money.

We all play the dead flag blues, all of us together. We are cavorting with hatred and flirting with genocide when we raise our banners, which we do because we think they are right, they represent the final resolution, the justice and solution to all our problems.  I’m scared of that sense of righteousness found under these banners, scared of the exctasy of power of both Putin and the other leaders of the world. Putin scares me the most, because I cannot grasp the ‘why’.  I sleep less easy when I see people are so easy to judge, to call for blood. Blood of the other, that enemy, that invisible alien that we must fight in the name of our dead flag.

Why do we fight for those ideals and do we let the media prod and push us like sheep to the slaughter. We refuse to think for ourselves, the Russian media is propaganda, so ours must be right isnt’t it? Our flag is that of truth and justice, the other a disease to weed out. I’ve quoted Lévy to often on this point, let it suffice to say that this is the road to ruin and bloodshed. There is no wrong and right, what matters is the solution. It doesn’t even matter anymore who shot the damn rocket. The issue at hand is that it was shot, innocent people died in a conflict that should never have escalated this far anyways. There is no evil to root out, the only goal that we should find is on a path to peace. We are all humans, the blood of us and that of the Russians and Ukranians runs the same red. We do not need to wade through rivers of that to find our holy grail.


I said, “Kiss me, you’re beautiful –
These are truly the last days”

– Same

A glimmer of hope was there today. I will share the video of the minister of foreign affairs speakin about the disaster in Ukraine. I would like to express my admiration for the man, who I’ve always thought of as one of the few actual passionate politicians in the Netherlands. When we are open to see the core of the issue at hand, we might find common ground. We might find another way.

He spoke about the people crashing down to the earth, looking eachother in the eye and giving comfort and support in those last moments. It takes all that to bring out that great good in people, that resignation in death. Only then we seem to see eachother for what we are. When I get in an airplane again in a month, I’ll be sitting next to a complete stranger. I’m going to say hi and see if we can get some chat going. We might as well be the ones that hold hands when we crash down. I pray I never have to face what the people on MH17 had to face, but even more so I pray I never forget what it means to be human and how you want to treat others as you are treated.

Sad & Proud


Today we had a day of national mourning. I’ve never experience this, most of the people I know haven’t. The 15 minutes, the time before and just after the minute of silence that followed at 16.00, the office seemed more quiet than it ever dit before. Even more than the times I worked the night shift. The bodies arrived in Eindhoven by airplane and were loaded into cars to be taken to a central point.

It’s funny how you can say that a number is ‘a lot’. When you see the coffins leaving the airplane in an endless stream, it becomes real. Every one of those was a person. Every man might be a father, a brother, a lover, husband and  a son. Every woman a sister, girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter and a friend. They are not nameless numbers, they are human beings. It could have been anyone of us in a way.

The cars started rolling out, a long the road through the country. The sides of the road were packed with people. Thousands must have come out to pay their respects. I feel a bit annoyed by the stream of cameras, but we all do what we do in our own way. We try to understand and accept the sadness in front of us. Give it a place in our understanding, find reasons and peace with the endless cars filled with the dead passing by. It made me proud of this country and its people. Time stopped, everything stopped today. We all felt it, it was different.

A glimmer of hope can be found in that, in people supporting eachother, paying respects. No blame game, no hatred, just sympathy and love. A sad kind of love, but a form of love. At the end of everything it’s all that remains, all that matters. This was one of those days when the flag wasn’t something dead, it brought people together. That power it has as well.

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