Let There Be Light: Setting Others on Fire


Protect candle flames

“‘Let there be light!’, he said, as he lit the dry grass with his Rick and Morty customized Bic. ‘Sick, sick, sick’, he whispered to himself as he drank in the swim of the flames, left, right, all swirly up and down as they grew in the wind, his grin widening. Wondering where he should go next.

Thus begins the most fascinating story about terrorism I’ve ever come across.

It’s a tale told about a solitary arsonist in America who travels on his own throughout the nation — mostly in California — setting fires with the aim of bringing greater numbers of Americans into intimate contact with the horrors of terrorism, disrupting life as usual in the process for the Golden State, sending a chilling message across the country. His simple, low profile, cost-efficient means for delivering death blows to the average citizen and clarifying the fact that we cannot stop the horrid momentum of terrorism proliferating underscore the futility of our attempt to protect property, claim resilience (let alone victory or even the prospect of victory), putting battalions of police on the street and requiring more and more vetting at airports and elsewhere.

I don’t want to go into the dramatic turns which turn up on every other page, but I do want to urge readers to think about spreading the word on this book. Not for the purpose of buying the work, but — rather — so that its message can be circulated. At present there are way too many forms of false hope popping up across the U.S.A., with people investing in technology and neglecting to confront the causes of terrorism. In fact, we haven’t changed one iota — not grown at all — since 2001, when we made “Why do they hate us?” the national mantra, and decided that supporting counter-violence with our tax dollars was the best route to embrace.

Race not to your local bookstore to buy Let There Be Light, but do run to your neighbors and bother your colleagues with our collective need for a new kind of discussion. One which will acknowledge our childish response to terror, and help us to plant seeds respecting viable options for dealing with the daunting challenge. Which will of necessity demand that we self-educate about our history and current culpability, and consider personal transformation on the moral and spiritual planes.

I’m not recommending reading yet another book. Because in lieu of doing what I’m recommending here we are diverting ourselves to death with various forms of entertainment, including those volumes and videos which purport to raise consciousness. We are incessantly sitting through one feature film, series or documentary after another focusing on what’s happening from this or that angle instead of moving meaningfully in solidarity. At best, after we spend precious heartbeats watching or reading some well-meaning cinematic effort or tome, we sign a petition, or call a so-called representative. But that’s just to feel better, for the most part, about yourself.

You’ve got to light a fire under yourself that will get you to try something fresh, at least talk about the need for doing something that follows a fresh paradigm for action.

You’ve got to set others on fire.

Annapurna Tosca Sriramarcel is a member of the Oxman Collective, and she can be reached by emailing [email protected]. The author of Let There Be Light might have copies of the book to send to readers — on a first come first serve basis — gratis. Please feel free to ask for a copy if reading it won’t preclude your taking the kind of action recommended in the article above.


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