Have you read the single worst thing written about the ongoing conflict in Libya yet? Because it's maybe the single worst thing I've read, maybe ever, on any topic. It's by Tim Marshall, and it's titled "A Death In Benghazi," which sort of primes the reader to expect -- I don't know? A death? In Benghazi?
But instead you get a tone poem on a cup of cappuccino. Tim Marshall was maybe in need of a nap? Or maybe someone told him, "You need to be really pretentious and ruminative as you explore this landscape of broken bodies"? Who can say? But this is excrement:
I was sipping coffee when the body was brought in.
Oh, wow! What did you do?
It was a good coffee, as good as gets in Benghazi.
It was a cappuccino, hot, with a decent white, frothy head, and tasted as it was supposed to.
A rare event in this part of the world at this time.
Ah! You wrote a quick entry for Zagats, I guess!
The body was in bad shape, the head bent backwards and an arm with holes which were not supposed to be there.
Now the coffee tasted sour.
Was it the be-holed arms that ruined the taste, or was it the way the head was akimbo? Did you complain to the barista?
I was embarrassed, almost ashamed to be holding it.
Why? You didn't kill the guy. I mean, the embarrassment should have set in much later, say, when this got published.
The crowd in front of the hospital shouted ‘Allah Akhbar’ in honour of another ‘martyr‘ killed on the front line.
The coffee began to cool.
Phew! For a minute there I thought that you were going to change the subject, and maybe talk about something other than this astounding beverage experience you had.
There’s something unseemly about an act so human as drinking coffee whilst looking at a body.
It may be because drinking is life-affirming and enjoyable and thus somehow is an insult to the person who can no longer do anything.
In these circumstances it is incongruous. Or worse.
I've written on paper deeper than this, dude.
A relative appeared, groaning in mental agony, grasped on each side by supporting arms.
Groaning over the body, right? Or was his coffee sour, too?
There was a massive gulf between our states of mind, a chasm between our state of physicality and that of the young man from the front line.
You know, by waiting all this while to report that there was a "massive gulf" between your "state of mind" as a cappuccino drinker, and the "state of mind" of a person who's looking at a dead loved one, you really buried the lede.
What could you do to show respect? Very little.
Actually, I bet you could do a LOT more to show respect.
I put down the coffee.
And that's how it ends! A guy sips a drink, someone dies, and the first guy stops drinking. Later he starts writing. And now I'm "groaning in mental agony."
As I often say in times like this: "Asdfghjklasdfghjkl."