|Erinys versus Perp|
1. I gave a paper by Skype this week to a
conference in Israel about modern fiction and Furies, or Erinyes in Greek
(singular is Erinys). On the very same day a modern Erinys was
behind the headlines in Iraq.
were fathered by the bloody drops which fell from Ouranos’
groin. His son Kronos hated him arbitrarily from birth and, given the excuse that his father was abusing not him but his mother Earth, castrated him. The drops fertilized
Earth. The Erinyes are Kronos' sisters and born of a toxic combination of arbitrary hatred, justifiable revenge and inter-generational strife.
|Erinyes v. Orestes|
3. Western oil companies in Iraq use a controversial corporation called Erinys Iraq. Its website says it is ‘risk management and security services
company specialising in complex and high-threat risk mitigation services’. In the pre-Spin era it would have been called a mercenary army.
|ERINYS IRAQ ad|
4. An Erinys spends most of her time
asleep. She wakes up when someone with a grudge invites her to avenge them on the
person(s) s/he believes have caused them grief. Erinyes torture the alleged felon
by chasing her/him with whips and snakes until blood is drawn. Their arrival in
your life means that it is PAYBACK TIME.
5. According to Aeschylus’ Oresteia, in advanced civilisations Athena takes away the Erinyes’ power.
She gets people to sort out their conflicts without bloodshed, confines the
Erinyes in caves and renames them Kindly Ones (Eumenides).
|Erinyes asleep (bottom)|
6. The best new novel I have read this
decade is Natalie Haynes’ The Amber Fury
(2014). It contains a moving portrait of a teenage girl with behavioural
problems and MISDIRECTED (although not arbitrary) feelings of vengefulness. She
finally gets to a place where she may be able to become more like a Eumenis and
less like an Erinys. If you don’t know anything about teenagers or about Greek
tragedy, or why teenagers and Greek tragedy are a perfect fit, then
read this book immediately.
7. The best new novel I read in the
previous decade was Jonathan Littell’s The
Kindly Ones (originally in French as Les
Bienveillantes, 2006) in which it
is never clear whether the mad and murderous narrator thinks he is an Erinys or a human in the Oresteia.
He hates many people arbitrarily. If you don’t know what happened in Ukraine
and Russia during World War II then read this book immediately.
| Eastern Front|
8. In Iraq, the largest oil refinery (in
Baiji) fell this week to Islamist extremists whose acronym ISIS coincidentally
sounds like another ancient supernatural female associated with death. There
were many casualties amongst some ‘security force personnel.’ This is likely to include operatives from
Not a fact but an
opinion: Do mercenaries fighting for Erinys know
what an Erinys actually is, and have they persuaded themselves that what they
are doing in Iraq has anything to do with legitimate vengeance? The whole
situation is a ghastly mess created long-term by European imperialism and
economic exploitation, and short-term by Bush, Blair and corporations who hire outfits like Erinys
Iraq. The violence of the hate-filled people in ISIS may often be misdirected but it is not
arbitrary. It really is Payback Time.
|Baiji Refinery: Erinys v. Isis|
Thanks for the comments and reminders...ReplyDelete