The day before, Sunday, we'd discussed my September 11th piece- the day when my two lives- before and after Escuela Caribe- became one. Until that day I'd done my best to compartmentalize- blocking the worst aspects of my repressive childhood, especially being locked up in an evangelical reform school during the buildup to the First Gulf War. I was at Escuela Caribe when we dropped bombs over Baghdad. I was at Escuela Caribe and terrified- we'd been told that the END is HAPPENING NOW (1991)...oh, the echoes of Jim Jones! The new section, the one J referenced, explores my reaction to September 11th, how it affected not only me post- 9/11, but America and the implications for the rest of the world.
And now we have come full circle to Boston. Again, people are hurt. Again, innocents have died. Again, we focus minutely on destruction in America- not what is happening in the rest of the world. Again the coverage is rife with propaganda, which Roxane Gay nailed early last week. Again those in power are using the attacks to justify eroding our civil rights. Slate actually published an article arguing for more surveillance. (And also one where we shouldn't judge the media if we want our news quick- seriously?).
Take the calls for more surveillance seriously. You don't want it. I know what it is like to live in a fascist state where your every move is watched- and here I am not talking about America post- 9/11 but life at Escuela Caribe- where every gesture was scrutinized to determine how you think/thought/felt. It was crazy-making, and I don't want it here in the United States where my child is living, or any other child, no matter her or his class or creed.
All I want now is what Steve Almond argued for here- more empathy, not emoting. We need to ask why people feel marginalized in the United States and the world. Instead of pointing fingers we need to practice what every major religion deems to be the guiding principle, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to treat them as we want to be treated- and only then, from that place of understanding, can we understand and prevent acts of horror committed in our world.
"They're locking them up today/ they're throwing away the key/ I wonder who it will be tomorrow/ you or me..." - Love