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August 19, 1991 – General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev faced a military coup and was placed under house arrest, in my opinion signifying the moment the Soviet collapse became inevitable.  I sort of held my breath for a couple of days there.

I was living in a flat on the corner of Army (Now Caesar Chavez) and Church Streets in San Francisco.  We had a patio on the roof and the fog came in pretty quickly as I was listening to the events as described on KPFA.  I looked down at the traffic, and everybody just going about their lives as normal.  I’ve already posted about the my childhood nuclear war fears – induced by various readings and watching the film On The Beach while home from school sick.  I was not alive at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Nobody, not even the alternative media, was discussing the events of summer, 1991 as a possible chain reaction which could lead to the end of all life on Earth.  I tried not to focus on it that way, but the three days of that coup had me on edge.  I was relieved when the “Gang of Eight” was defeated several days later, and for once in my life I didn’t care the least about the political implications.

I never had any of the dreams again, and I’ve never since – maybe due to a false sense of security – had the feeling that complete annihilation of the human race is a likely possibility, at least not through hot war.  Someone might do something stupid, and maybe the last victims of a nuclear bomb are yet to be born.  But as of 20 years ago, I don’t have that sense of foreboding which led me to be arrested in civil disobedience on different occasions.

It was always speculative to me.  These people actually lived the nightmare.


August 2011
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