Thursday, April 18, 2013

Finally writing about Boston

I've posted three times in three days, which is quite an accomplishment for me. And I've written about myself every time. And I haven't written about Boston.

When the bombs go off--in Gaza or in Syria or in Boston--my first reaction is silence. I don't have any words. If you know me you know that not having words is scary for me. I'm not someone who is naturally prone to silence. But what do you say in response to the terror, the shrapnel, the bleeding limbs? What do you say in response to the smoke and the wreckage?

So much of what gets said after these sorts of things--how awful that there are "these sorts of things," that bombing and shooting and death and maiming are a category that we can talk about--strikes an ugly chord in me. The jump to assumptions about the religion and the nationality--let me be brutally honest, about the skin color--of the perpetrator. The endless speculation. The 24-hour news cycle.

We do what we do. We huddle together. We hold vigils. We identify heroes. Unless of course the bombs are falling far away, falling on--let me be brutally honest again--falling on Arabs. Then we don't need heroes. We only need the heroes when it's "us."

I am not trying to take away from anyone's pain, anyone's mourning. Boston is a horrible human tragedy and we need to do what we do, need to huddle together and hold vigils and tell stories about stories. What I am trying to say is that we are a part of this. This culture of violence. This culture that leaves the Senate paralyzed to do anything about guns. This culture that thinks that dropping bombs on wedding parties in Afghanistan is ok but a bomb going off at a marathon isn't. This culture--this government, this good "liberal" president--that is going to pump $40 billion more dollars into weaponry for Israel, so that we can watch from afar as the bombs drop on Gaza and the tear gas and rubber bullets get fired directly into the faces of unarmed protesters and the kids get shot from the rooftops in Hebron and the Wall gets built and built.

I abhor what happened in Boston. It is sick and it is cowardly and it is unacceptable.

But Suheir Hammad gives me my response: I will not dance to your war drum.

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