I have to confess to being rather worried of late. It started off as a mild concern that was caused by watching American television shows. This isn’t an unreasonable response, I know, given the weird ideas about humanity that these things manifest in general. But over the years I had more or less come to accept these odd presentations as, somehow, well, normal. At least, I learned to live with them.
Until, that is, I started to notice what seemed to be an ever-growing and unprecedented wave of shows featuring zombie attacks, zombie armies and just about everything zombie, who had somehow morphed from their drugged-out home in Haiti into rather badly made-up flesh-eaters who could only be rendered properly dead by a suitably gruesome and strangely satisfying shot to the head.
It’s worth mentioning that the Number One Nation had been undergoing assault from legions of vampires for quite a few decades but had seemed to learn to live with them, as I had with their TV shows in general. After all, vampires had been around for long enough in the Western world to be practically part of the furniture. Even in 1764, Voltaire reported, rather skeptically, on an outbreak of corpses rising up to suck the blood of the living to “grow fat and rosy”:
“It was in Poland, Hungary, Silesia, Moravia, Austria and Lorraine, that the dead made this good cheer. We never heard a word of vampires in London, nor even at Paris. I confess that in both these cities there were stock-jobbers, brokers, and men of business, who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight; but they were not dead, though corrupted. These true suckers lived not in cemeteries, but in very agreeable palaces.”
He could’ve been talking about the politicians of Tanah Air, couldn’t he? But I digress. Back to zombies.
What grew on me and caused me to fret and worry was the thought that since The Devil Herself, aka Lady Gaga, had tried to gain a foothold on these emerald (and white plastic bag-strewn) shores then what was stopping the zombie armies of America, who seemed to be increasingly ubiquitous and evermore hungry for evermore human flesh, from launching an invasion, displacing “pocong” and “kuntilanak” from our screens and lives, and seizing control, formally, of the People’s House in Senayan and making our lives a living hell?
I worried a lot. I couldn’t sleep. I consulted a “dukun,” a witch doctor, for zombie-preventative charms but he didn’t know what I was talking about. Apparently he preferred to watch “American Idol” or “America’s Next Top Model.” I was left defenseless, quivering and alone. And then I realized I was safe.
There was someone who would protect me from zombies, and even American entertainment in general: Mr Rizieq Shihab, the head of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
Mr Shihab and his colleagues, whom I now like to think of as The Glorious Ones, The Protectors of the Faithful (and even the not-so-faithful but rather a little confused and ambivalent about things and inept at using a remote to change channels) and Really Nice Guys Who Have Conquered The Devil, have everything in hand and I, for one, am happy, particularly because they have the National Police, the Thin Khaki Line, on their side, ready to give the first zombie that escapes from the parliament building in Senayan a skull-shattering shot to the head (great TV!).
Sleep easy, Indonesia, you are in good hands!