From the Holy Koran, this:

“Whosoever kills an innocent person,
it is as though he has killed all of
mankind.” (Koran 5:32)

Cory O’Neal, the protagonist of my forthcoming novel The Book of Ashes, is a teacher and a victim of Make-Believe Rape, a false accusation of sexual misconduct made against him by a student. As usually happens in such cases, the details are ironed out so as to preclude publicity or police involvement. And so the polite world can continue. But the damage to Cory O’Neal is deep and lasting.

His world is destroyed.

We seem to be living in an age of World Destroyers. Consider the currents and counter-currents of radical Islamic terrorism and xenophobic backlash. We live in an age where Canadians say ‘immigrants go home’ and Americans shadow worshippers to the mosque with automatic weapons. Ten short years after the Left decried George Bush as the greatest tyrant in American history, a presidential candidate leads the polls with talk of registering Muslims as Hitler once did Jews. And the press will not say ‘fascism’. And the President will not call it Islamic terror. And meanwhile in Turkey and Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan and downtown Paris, the world burns.

As Joseph Brodsky wrote:

In the towns with funny names,
hit by bullets, caught in flames,
by and large not knowing why,
people die.

Here is wisdom: we become what we do. What is the apocalypse? The apocalypse is what happens when we are so intent on destroying the worlds of others that we neglect our own. Just as a nation that builds its value system on war cannot expect to experience anything but war, so it is axiomatic that those who destroy only bring about more destruction. In ways great and small – in the thunder of bomber payloads and the whisper of rumor, in the massed screams of true believers and the duplicitous smile of an evil child – we have become destroyers of worlds.

If you kill one man, you kill an entire world. And so we are destroying our own.




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