'Blitz Kid' is a autobiographical comic strip (with a page of text) written by Michael Moorcock and illustrated by Walter Simonson & Bob Wiacek that was published in 9-11: The World's Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories To Remember, a tribute book published in the aftermath of the September 11th atrocity at the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in 2001.
- 9-11: The World's Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories To Remember, DC Comics, 2001, ISBN: 1-56389-878-0, Edited by Paul Levitz, Cover by Alex Ross
1. I grew up in ruins... I knew nothing but ruins... And in many ways they were the happiest days of my life. We collected shrapnel and wreckage the way other kids collected bubblegum wrappers... and the great thing was when you got home... your mother was always pleased to see you... even if you didn't often get to see your dad.
2. But you were having a good time... and it was the adults who were doing the worrying. They called it Blitzkrieg--Total War-- A military philosophy which counted women, children, the old and infirm as acceptable targets... They called their ideas "Pure" and "Basic." They had nothing but contempt for the "Decadent West," and believed America and Britain were rotten with liberal, democratic nonsense... Oh yes, they hated Jews, too. And they did all they could to silence the Press... And those who spoke against them.
3. And when they started bombing us... The Authorities thought we wouldn't be able to stand it... But we didn't just show we could take it... We took control of our own streets, our own defense... And for five years we did not just take what Hitler could throw at us.
4. We absorbed his hatred and turned it into something very like love. Certainly it was courage--that quiet, decent, shy courage most people have in them somewhere... And the more Hitler hit us... ...somehow -- and I speak from experience--we grew stronger. We read more, listened to music more, and visited art galleries and museums more--we were the best-informed citizens there had ever been-- It was as if we were storing the best of our culture--including German culture--within ourselves--sustaining ourselves with the best we could be--while we were threatened by the worst. The cities which sustained these terrible Nazi attacks were called by the Russians--who had known the worst of them--"Hero Cities." And every citizen was a hero."
"My optimism, my faith in the common sense of ordinary people, my understanding of the goodness and the extraordinary courage which exists in the majority of us, informs my work and keeps me writing--
That optimism is based on solid experience--of seeing people at their very best, day in and day out.
People were at their very best in Oklahoma City and New York and I for one expected nothing less--because I already knew how well people behave when faced with unimaginable horror and a threat to everything they value--
Most of the time, they go about their ordinary business, making a living, having political arguments, getting excited about ballgames--
People say it's a shame that it takes a crisis to bring out the best in them, make us forget our petty differences...
But I say we are usually not at our very best because it would be inhuman to be forever at our very best...
I was born and raised in ruins, and I knew people at their very best. I suspect that Franklin D. Roosevelt, a good friend to Britain when we were being terrorized, knew what he was saying when he told us we had nothing to fear but fear itself.
Throughout a long and enjoyable life I've been sustained by those liberal humanist cultural values, which all bigots hate, but which I share with friends of every religious persuasion.
And I also know that nobody's perfect. Yet it is those values which somehow do sustain us. I know from experience, and from what happened a while ago in New York, that my fellow human beings can always be relied upon in a crunch.
And between ourselves, pards, that's good enough for me.
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