Death in the Air


If the recent news has been giving you a sense of dread, it is because death is in the air.

First, in deadly airs of self defense. North Korea has been firing missiles into the air in self-defense – against western world powers decided to annihilate it. Its recent H-bomb test now suggests that a death-bringing thermo-nuclear device can be mounted on one of its missiles to bring death from the air to millions on the other side of its southern boarder or on the other side of the globe. The aggressive behavior in self defense is occasioned by routine war games played between the US and South Korea in self-defense. The war games infuriate North Korea which views them as the world’s hostile threat to its existence. They warrant North Korea’s nuclear program in self defense. To the missiles fired by North Korea to flaunt its ability to defend itself against enemy attack, South Korea fires Thermal High Altitude Area Defense Missiles (THAAD Missiles) into the air to prove to itself and the world it can defend itself against death in the air coming from North Korea. It simulates an air attack on the missile sites of North Korea, also, of course, in self defense.

But death is also in the words of war unleashed in the air. The American UN Ambassador Haley says North Korea’s intractability in a history of unsuccessful UN sanctions against it for violating its provisions against nuclear tests is “begging for war.” The somber US Defense Secretary Mathis says that further threats from North Korea could launch “a massive and overwhelming military response.” Earlier, Trump had made stronger remarks against North Korean threats, declaring that America, “locked and loaded,” would respond “with fire and fury.” Meanwhile neither the sanity of Kim Jung-un nor the wisdom of Donald Trump can convince the world that death is not in the air.

Death is in the air. To spite all the high-level debate in the United Nations on how to respond to the North Korea that ignores its prohibitions and sanctions, the rogue nation is now moving to fire yet another missile over the Pacific. It is shooting a middle finger against the US and exploding it in the UN.

With death in the air, we have no choice but to breath it in, and sigh at the fragility of life we think we hold so dear. Death in the air is ironically in purposive programs undertaken to oppose death. It is in the guns of rogue security officers who kill those whom they ought most urgently secure. It is in the profits of those captains of consumption whose industries ravage the environment and suck life from the poor to inject opiates into the veins of the rich. It is in the knives that decapitate heads that defy their concept of God and way of life. It is in the bombs that oppose the rebellious who oppose the impious who oppose the arrogance of the holier than holy. Of course, we can choose to deny the stench of death in the air after the murderous shots near the pigsty. We can choose to ignore death in the air to attempt to live as if there were only life, to dance and sing and revel in denial of the undeniable. We can work and work on as if death in the air were but the latest edition of fake news. But we awake from sleep to the latest reports of CNN and ANC on the Harveys and Irmas in the air and on the political idiocy that turns the innocent lives of dreamers into nightmares.

With death in the air, what is important in our lives that like a thief in the night can be snuffed away? What is important in time that suddenly ends? With death in the air, it may be time to take stock and consider matters of ultimate importance – like the urgency of a reconciliation with a former friend, of righting an old wrong, of the scent of a flower, or even of a quiet conversation with a God I formerly believed in but who had been killed in my life by the death in the air.






About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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