Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Moment Of Clarity

"Where have you gone? I had a lot of plans for you," Hossein Golestani sang softly to the lifeless form of his 7-year-old daughter, Fatima, held in his arms. The body of his 8-year-old daughter Mariam lay beside him in the devastated village of Hotkan.
By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sometimes you don’t see your own inner darkness until the lights go out around you.

I don’t know how I formed my perceptions of other people in the Middle East. Countries like Iran. Where “they hate Americans,” “Islamic Fundamentalists Extremists,” “terrified women in burkas” and “hardened men with guns” seems to sum up the images that float through my mind. They are used to war and devastation. They are an angry people immune to the anguish of death. That is what I see in the news every single day. They are not like us.

But a father singing a tender song of mourning over the broken lifeless bodies of his precious little girls… this did not come into the picture until today. It is a song that only love can sing. The deep aching song of the moments which are forever lost; trying to carry to heaven a message to the children taken too soon. He is singing of dreams that his grief can not yet release him from.

It wasn’t war. It was an earthquake. But untimely death tears the heart as violently in human or natural devastation. I don’t know if this is the man the story talks about. But according to the AP news caption he is from the same town. And a tiny limp foot of a child can be seen protruding from beneath the blanket. Even if he isn't the same man I know he sings the same song.

When will I learn not to see the borders? When will we all learn? How do we begin? Must the lights go out for a million innocent children and their families before we see we are the same? Surely a million children have died by now. And more. How long will it take?

And how long will this moment of clarity last for me? What will happen later in this day, this week, this life of mine to distract me. To make me forget long enough to begin the cycle of dehumanization again. Why can’t I hold onto this reality forever? Why does it seem to slip away when I need it most? Why does it have to be so damned easy to write each other off; to hate through indifference?

3 comments:

Dex2177 said...

"They are not like us."

...poignant symbolism you didn't intend... "They are not like
US(A)."

The fact is that they aren't. They likely know a lot more about what goes on in the world and the ugly end of the American sword than most Americans seem to be aware of and fewer yet have seen. Talking about Iran and the Shaw would be years past... a different time, right? Talking of the American propped up corruption and unequal opulance of the Saudi regime maintained for stable oil supplies would be more current. More politically topical would be the chemical weapons the American government supplied to Saddam Hussein which he used against the American hating Iran which the Americans had a heavy hand in creating... but most Americans are hardly aware of these things and only a handful have seen the effects outside of military deployment to the far reaches of the empire. We could talk of Darfor, more are familiar with that, or the Republic of Congo. The US could invade Zimbabwe and bring "democracy" and "freedom" and "liberate" a country who's population is actively starving(politically as well as nutritionally) for it, but Zimbabwe doesn't have oil. It isn't in an oil rich region. It's people are black. You'll notice that Kosovo was saved in a heartbeat from genocide. They're white. Rawanda was a slaughterhouse. No one moved a muscle. The United Nations appointed General of operations in Rawanda has permanent mental issues to this day because the international community(the US included) did nothing to give him the means to stop the genocide. People were slaughtered around him and his meager force. NATO(not the UN, and lead by the US) was in Kosovo in a metaphorical blink. Nope, as long as there is no oil and no white population death and misery will go almost entirely unnoticed in the land of the free and the home of the brave(unless a record breaking tsunami hits of course, now that's newsworthy. If you're going to have a natural disaster make sure it breaks a record. You'll get lots more media attention.)

So, how do you raise awareness? Talking about it I suppose... gets a bit depressing though, maybe it's just easier to give money to the Red Cross(no snideness intended), we can't be down all the time.

Girl With An Alibi said...

Good points. Painful reflections I have made during many arguements with staunch republican friends who can't seem to step outside of "US" long enough to realize there is no United State of Earth. Perhaps I will post an essay that I wrote on the subject at a later date. Once I retreive it from the mire of my hard drive.

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