Wanderers and Nomads

I keep coming back to the old Juluka song “Digging for some words” because of its uncanny evocation of the “wanderers and nomads” who erupt from time to time to menace and destroy the accumulated wisdom of more settled societies. They have come to the gates again and again, bearing different or no ideologies but finally, a lust for destruction. “They’ve locusts in their scabbards, they’ve deserts in their eyes.” Yes. Some would say  this cinematic evocation of the destroyers, from David Lambkin’s overlooked The Hanging Tree, is too romantic. Why do disaffected youth stream toward the Desert Plague if not for the romance of death? The raiders here are Somali Shifta pouring into a paleontological dig, but Wanderers and Nomads are always in the wings.

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