The most ancient militants on earth

By Mark Follman
Published August 27, 2004 6:12PM (EDT)

The inimitable fiction writer and satirist George Saunders typically runs his political convictions through his work as undercurrent, the subsurface but unmistakable charge of his dark and poignant hilarity. But lately, life in the time of al-Qaida and George W. Bush seems to be drawing Saunders' voltage right up to the surface. His latest offering is this "press release" -- a manifesto of sorts from a group known as PRKA.

"Last Thursday, my organization, People Reluctant To Kill for an Abstraction, orchestrated an overwhelming show of force around the globe.

"At precisely 9 in the morning, working with focus and stealth, our entire membership succeeded in simultaneously beheading no one. At 10, Phase II began, during which our entire membership did not force a single man to suck another man's penis. Also, none of us blew himself/herself up in a crowded public place. No civilians were literally turned inside out via our powerful explosives. In addition, at 11, in Phase III, zero (0) planes were flown into buildings."

Needless to say, the group's recent mobilization involves more non-mayhem. Somehow, there's an inverted glimmer of hope wrapped inside the darkness.

"Since the world began, we have gone about our work quietly, resisting the urge to generalize, valuing the individual over the group, the actual over the conceptual, the inherent sweetness of the present moment over the theoretically peaceful future to be obtained via murder."

Read the whole thing, and weep quietly in a blur of sorrow and hope.

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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