Orange Peril rocks the Middle East
Armageddon: as the beast of war slouches towards Tehran, who is the Antichrist?
One of the things that terrified me most as a kid was a little black-and-white comic book that purported, among other things, to be a "true" depiction of Armageddon.
Fires! Gore! Blood! Terrified, rearing horses! Millions of soldiers put to the sword as the armies of God and Satan clash on the wide and once fertile valley between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. It was, literally, the stuff of nightmares.
Apocalyptic literature has traditionally focused on the Middle East as the place where the last battle between good and evil will be fought.
While that is probably as much a function of the history of religion as anything else, the Middle East has seen a somewhat disproportionate share of trouble ever since the first human picked up a stone to settle some score with a neighbour.
Now the stakes are as high as they have ever been after the US killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Iraq last week. Iran will retaliate, at some undetermined point, and probably against its sworn enemy, Israel.
But wait! Before Armageddon happens, the Antichrist must lead the world into a time of false peace, or so the story goes. Some point trembling fingers at Washington and say the Antichrist is here. Yet Donald Trump — who famously told reporters last August that "I am the chosen one" — has been embraced by the American religious right, so it can’t be him. Can it?
Anyway, as the beast of war slouches towards Tehran, only those with a loose grip on reality would say the world is basking in a time of "false peace". Or is it? I’m confused.