“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita ,Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘ Now, I am become death, destroyer of worlds’”
― J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leading Physicist of the Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the atomic bomb. The preceding quote was J. Robert Oppenheimer’s recollection of the reaction of the scientists and military personnel who witnessed the first test explosion of the atomic bomb, that occurred on July 16, 1945, at approximately 5:45 AM at White Sands Missile Testing Range near Alamogordo New Mexico, which was part of the Trinity Test Site
Thirty years have passed since the end of the war. Somehow I managed to survive. The shock of such sudden changes was guaranteed to make you question your sanity. How I have kept my sanity is anyone’s guess. Everyone and everything I had known was taken from me in the blink of an eye. I was forced to reinvent myself. The identity of my former life no longer fit. After losing all of your friends and family, it was difficult to have the hope needed to survive. I felt like Job, cursing at God for his iniquity. Why was I meant to suffer? But unlike Job, my faith in God never returned to me. In the wager between God and Satan neither had won, instead the wager had ended in a stalemate.
Darkness had engulfed the land. The sun disappeared, not to reappear for almost six months. Crops could no longer be grown, and livestock couldn’t be sustained. In the Northern Hemisphere temperatures plummeted. Only those cunning enough survived. In order to survive I had to adapt to the sudden changes in the environment.
The remaining community’s of humans still are suffering from the residual effects of a nuclear holocaust. Although humanity nearly met its demise, the human species somehow has endured. The human tenacity to survive and adapt won out over extinction. Particles of radiation remain latent in the soil and water. Radiation is a hidden threat, a silent killer. Radiation sickness still sometimes occurs among survivors. Many children were born with mental retardation and other birth defects in the aftermath of World War III. Cancer has also become increasingly prevalent.
Some areas of the world were far enough away from the many nuclear explosions to become inhabitable within decades instead of centuries. Geiger counters were used to test the radiation in any given area. The radiation level was relatively less in the Midwestern as well as the southwestern area of the United States. This allowed these areas to be repopulated faster than others.
No matter how hard I try, there are some things I just can’t forget. I had another family once, a wife and three children. I was a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, in what once was Tucson, Arizona. It feels as if I am describing another man and not myself. There are some things I miss about my former life and the way the world once was. I miss the fact that many of life’s necessities seemed to be taken care of. I also miss the fact that food in America had become such an easy to come by commodity. I remember the clarity of the atmosphere and the warmth of the sun, before the nuclear fallout obscured the sky. Those times have long since passed. I have found little is accomplished in the present, when one dwells on the past.
To say I wasn’t afraid would be a lie. It is ironic for me to think, that I was one of the fortunate ones. Maybe fortune had little or nothing to do with it. Perhaps I survived because of the mercy of God or some higher power. Or maybe, if there is a God, perhaps I should blame Him for my misfortunes. Words cannot describe the horrors that humanity encountered at the dawn of the 21st-century.
For centuries, the end times had been prophesied through religious tales and superstitious beliefs. The three religions descended from Abraham, Islam, Judaism and Christianity share an end times prophecy. They tell of a messiah sent from the sky, who would save humanity from the brink of destruction. This savior of humanity would shed light on the darkness of humanity’s sin and corruption. The problem was not all would be saved. Only those that truly believed would be able to enter paradise on the Day of Judgment. Some Christian fundamentalists believed that the nuclear war had occurred as an act of divine judgment for man’s sinful ways. Just as the flood of the book of Genesis, and the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah had occurred to weed out the wicked, so to had World War III.
Organized governments and entire countries have been almost entirely wiped off the face of the Earth. Anarchy has become commonplace. Although anarchy denotes chaos, some semblance of order remains. The area of North America was once the continental United States has split into three rival territories. The Mexican territory consists of what were once Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and part of Texas. These former states make up the Mexican states of Alta California and Nuevo Mexico. The dictator or self appointed leader of the Mexican territory name is Juan Gutierrez. Originally from Mexico, he came to the remnants of America after the military blockade of the border had ended. As all warlords do, he seized power through military intimidation. He was originally a general in the Mexican army. He had gained a large following after the battle for Mexico City. General Gutierrez is the leader of the Mexican Revolutionary Front. By many he is compared to other revolutionaries such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. He had succeeded in his reconquista of Mexican territory lost to the United States in the 19th century.
I’m not exactly certain of my age. I try not to be concerned with the human concept of time. One thing I’m certain of is that long ago the entire course of my life was altered forever. I remember little of the man I once was, the things I do remember are mere fragments of memories. It’s probably because I have consciously tried to forget the memories of my former life; although, age could be the culprit for most of my lack of memory.
During the 20th century, things once thought impossible, became reality. Ideas once viewed as science-fiction, became science fact. The concept of manned flight, once thought absurd, was realized. Inventions such as the light bulb and the telephone once luxuries, became commonplace. Automobiles once only for the wealthy also became a common technology. Even space travel had been accomplished. There seemed to be no end to what human ingenuity could produce. It appeared that whatever technology could be conceived of could also be realized. A lot of the technology that humanity created was to their benefit. Many diseases, and viruses, once epidemics, were nearly eradicated due to the production of vaccines. Medical technology and surgical techniques were developed that made humans seem godlike; however, humanity’s ability to create was overshadowed by its ability to destroy.
The civilization, of which humanity had built, seemed to have reached its zenith technologically. Due to technological advancement, the world seemed to have grown somehow smaller. Computers, which had once occupied entire rooms, became small enough to fit on a desktop. An invention called the Internet accessed from computers became a major means of communication and information access. Any information in the known universe could be accessed with the press of a button
The most basic technologies, such as electricity and indoor plumbing were taken for granted. The average person had no idea how most technologies worked. They simply took for granted the fact that they existed. It didn’t matter how electricity or plumbing worked, it only mattered that it did work. This fact was a detriment to humanity.
With the birth of the nuclear bomb some of the greatest minds of all time had given birth to one of the most destructive weapons the world had ever known. If only the intelligence of those few had been utilized for creation instead of destruction, maybe then the world could have found peace. Instead, humanity’s intelligence led to its undoing.
The illusion of America’s invincibility was shattered into a million pieces on the morning of September 11, 2001. Four airliners were hijacked by 19 hijackers. These were not traditional hijackers. These hijackers were not looking for money or political freedom. They were looking for a nonstop flight to Paradise. They all got their wish.
No one ever expected that airliners would be used as weapons. Using box cutters the terrorists who were mostly of Saudi Arabian descent, managed to gain control of all four airliners. There were four targets. The four targets included the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the Capitol building. Only three of the four airliners managed to reach their targets. Both towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by two of the airliners, one careening into the north tower, the other into the South tower. The Pentagon was also partially destroyed by one of the airliners. The fourth airliner did not reach its target, which was believed to be the Capitol building. It was said that a battle had ensued within the cockpit of the airliner, between the hijackers and some of the passengers. This resulted in the airliner, either intentionally or accidentally crashing into a field outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An estimated three thousand people lost their lives on the morning of September 11, 2001. Not since Pearl Harbor, had America suffered such a tragic loss. Unfortunately, these attacks were just the beginning of the end. The sun had risen on the dawn of World War III.
America found these attacks to have been the work of an international Islamic extremist group called Mohammed’s Martyrs. The mastermind of Mohammed’s Martyrs, Abdullah Al-Fattah was said to be in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban. Ironically Al-Fattah and the Taliban had been funded by the CIA, to repel the communist juggernaut at one time. Unfortunately their victory over the Soviet Union gave Al-Fattah hope of further conquests. Al-Fattah was thought to be holed up somewhere within the caves of the Torah Borah Mountain Range, on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban were a militant Islamic group, who had gained control of Afghanistan. After the Taliban was supposedly wiped out in Afghanistan, the focus shifted. Abdullah Al-Fattah was never found alive or dead.
Years of planning and careful coordination had finally paid off. Behind the mask of religion, as in many times before, hatred and the genocide of innocents were thought justified. An ideology of fear and hatred was being taught in many Muslim countries. By killing in the name of Allah they would be glorified in this life and the next. They were not threatened by death. Death for them was just a necessary step on the road to martyrdom. All governments with any ties to America such as Saudi Arabia and Israel were considered enemies of Islam. These religious warriors would not rest until the Zionist, and American enemies of Islam were all destroyed. The dream of an international Muslim caliphate was coming closer to being achieved, one infidel’s death at a time.
As time wore on and the shock of September 11 began to subside, along with fear of another terrorist attack on American soil lessened, many changed their mind. Although some stood behind the president on every decision he made. Many questioned whether or not, the war on terror was being dealt with properly. Instead of dealing with Mohammed’s Martyrs directly, the President chose to attack Iraq, claiming Iraq had ties to Mohammed’s martyrs. It had also been said by the president that Iraq had acquired weapons of mass destruction. Both of these accusations turned out to be false. The president then changed his approach, his new agenda would be to remove Saddam Hussein from power and instill a Democratic government in Iraq. Some people felt that the president’s only concern in Iraq was to acquire its crude oil reserves. Others on the opposite end of the spectrum were of the opinion that the president was doing what needed to be done. Internationally, many countries leaders throughout the world felt that the president had overstepped his boundaries. Countries who were once supporters of the United States became opposed. When the US decided to attack without the UN’s approval opposition increased further.
Within the US, some began to question the president’s policies on how to deal with the terrorist threat. Many in the American public felt that the terrorist threat was not being dealt with properly. The US seemed to have given up on finding Abdullah Al -Fattah. America had captured a large amount of so-called “Muslim extremists” and held them in prison camps. They were being held without probable cause or warrants due to the passing of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act, had been passed after America was attacked on September 11, 2001. The Patriot Act allowed the government to arrest and detain anyone thought to be in any way linked to terrorism without a warrant or probable cause. The term innocent until proven guilty had become passé. At first the American majority was of the opinion that this was justified. This was just a necessary sacrifice we had to make for our own safety.
I was born in one of the last great countries on Earth, the Republic turned empire of the United States of America. But like all great empires, it eventually crumbled to the ground. Unfortunately, America brought most if not all of humanity down with it. In the tradition of the great empires before it, America became arrogant, and drunk with power. Supposedly, the first immigrants that had come to America had come to escape religious persecution from the Church of England. The result was the birth of United States of America, a country that supposedly was founded by people trying to obtain freedom and equality for all. To say that they fell short of their goal would be an understatement. Many consider the United States to have been a cancer that spread across North America, resulting in the deaths and suffering of hundreds of thousands of native people. While others consider the United States to have been one of the greatest forces for good and freedom the world had ever known. I am of the opinion that the life of the United States was filled with many things to be both proud of and ashamed. I am proud of what America could’ve been. A nation of the free and not the enslaved. A nation of equality, not inequality.
America and England remained close allies in the war on Iraq and set out to free the oppressed from the hands of tyranny. Unfortunately, many innocent civilians would have to die as in any war. The number of innocent civilians who died did not seem of much concern. Only the American soldiers were recognized when killed in combat. A large number of Iraqi civilians did not want America interfering in their lives. This became obvious as suicide bombings, became daily events. On the other hand, some wanted America’s assistance. It became very unclear as to what exactly was going on in Iraq. As time wore on, the violence in Iraq became more severe. Insurgents as America called them put up quite a fight. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. Even after America and England removed Saddam Hussein and his regime from power, the death toll did not decrease. Democracy it seemed could not be obtained by force. The more America enforced its will, the more the insurgency grew. The installation of democracy within Iraq did not seem to improve the Iraqi’s quality of life. It served to intensify the hatred that was already felt toward America, throughout the Muslim world.
Not all in the Muslim world saw America as the enemy. The ones who did wanted America to leave the Middle East and stop supporting Israel. They wanted to return to the golden age of Islam, when the infidels were not a threat to their existence, when the Muslim world stretched from the Arabian Sea to Spain. To them, the only true religion was Islam.
It seems so long ago that the nightmare of nuclear war became a reality. A peace treaty had been signed between the insurgents and America. What’s more this peace treaty had also been signed and ratified by the UN. America seemed to have regained international support. The dream of a free and democratic Iraq seemed to have finally come to fruition. The architects of this democratic dream basked in the glory of their creation. The Republicans had proven the bleeding heart liberals wrong.
In the parking lot of the American Embassy in Baghdad a nuclear device was planted in the trunk of a Cadillac Seville. The nuclear device was then detonated by way of cell phone. That night, the skies over Baghdad, lit up like a thousand suns. A video had been obtained by CNN, of the explosion. The mushroom cloud could be seen for hundreds of miles. Humanity’s worst fears had come true. Many of the Sunnis of Iraq blamed America for their lack of security. The Palestinian authority also blamed the American government, but that was nothing new.
Throughout the world the reactions to the nuclear explosion varied. In the streets of Jerusalem members of Hezbollah and Hamas celebrated firing their AK-47s in the air. After all, this had been a great victory against the Zionist infidels. In the chaos of celebration some of them opened fire on unarmed Jews. This resulted in the death of four Jews. When this was heard of by the Israeli prime minister, he dispatched an army battalion. When the battalion reached a crowd of Palestinian demonstrators, they told them to drop their weapons. They then denied this order, some of them firing their weapons at the soldiers. The soldiers then released tear gas into the crowd. This exchange grew into a full-fledged battle. This battle was the beginning of the final war for the holy land.
All it had taken was one spark to light the world on fire. The President of the United States condemned the nuclear attack on Baghdad, as did the international community. Iraq basically did not exist anymore. The terrorists used a powerful hydrogen bomb completely wiping Baghdad and its inhabitants off the face of the earth. 9/11 had been nothing in comparison to this level of death and destruction.
It was not long after the nuclear attack on Baghdad that suicide bombings began happening in America. Car bombs also became a common occurrence. This was when all hell really broke loose. In response to all of the car and suicide bombings, attacks on Muslims began happening every day. Suicide bombings weren’t supposed to happen in America. What had Homeland security been doing; sitting with their thumbs up their asses. The borders were shut down and martial law was instated. No one was allowed to leave or enter the United States.
As the government had done to the Japanese during World War II, all Muslims were forced into internment camps. At first the president and his cabinet denied their existence. Over time people began to notice that Muslims across America began to disappear. Muslims began not showing up for work. Family members of the prisoners began filing missing persons reports. For some reason none of the reports were ever looked into.