Thursday 27 May 1999


Pic of the day: Another sunny day.

It happened again, but this time I found it out. I woke up and was surprised to find that it was only 3:39 in the night, a time when I would usually have recently gone to bed. Gradually I remembered that I did not remember the afternoon, and particularly not writing my diary. Yet, here I was in my bed. However, when I got up and back to my computer, I saw the website on my Opera browser and remembered. I had started to connect to this website, then fallen asleep in front of the computer. I woke up a while later, and my knees hurt quite bad. I guess this is a result of sleeping an a chair such as this one. So I got myself to bed and continued to sleep there, for the entire evening and then some. This is sure to mess up my day rhythm for a while. I almost feel like a normal. By the way, I almost feel queasy too.

I vividly remember walking home late in the day (Thursday is late day for me) on the warm sunlit path through the woods. Only scattered dark spots, some of them still slimy, showed where some of the snails had met a sticky end. Those who did not get away. The day before I had seen small groups of snails feasting on the remains of other less lucky ones. Perhaps some of these partyers were the dark spots in the sand today.

And again I wondered where they all come from, when the rains set in. Surely they don't fall from the sky. But on a sunny day like today was, you don't see a single one. Snails? No snails here, sir. Yet when the rain comes back, they will be out in force, as if by some miraculous act of new creation.

It struck me that sunny days like this one are like times of peace. Sure, there is an occasional crook, but not in our neighborhood. People are mowing their lawn, painting their house, driving their children to school and gym.
But when the rain of terror sets in, the snails come out of their houses. Suddenly the slimy critters swarm everywhere. Look to north or south, there is arson and pillage. Look to east or west, there is rape and murder. Evil, everywhere. Finally they turn on each other, on those who have been trampled in the frenzy. And then the sun comes out, and peace and the rule of law is restored. And only a few dark, slimy, shameful spots remain in public. The other snails are simply gone. Snails? No snails here, sir. Back in their houses.

The snails are out there. We see them in Yugoslavia, as we saw them in Somalia, in Rwanda, and almost 60 years ago in western Europe. Whenever the rain comes, suddenly there are snails. Where do they come from? Where do they hide, waiting, nursing their grudges, nursing their dark desires, waiting, waiting for the rain?

They say it was Hitler. They say it was comrade Slobodan. But it was not. It was the thousands and thousands of law-abiding citizens who hid their dark and slimy secrets, waiting for the freedom to live out their hate and their greed and lust. Snails waiting for the rain.
Do not think that just because there's been a long dry summer, there are no snails. The snails are always there, thirsting, waiting. So let your sun shine on good and on evil, folks. Not least on evil.

My sincere apologies to the snails for comparing them to humans in this metaphor.

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