Global Pain

Lives Lost, Lives Taken

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I've been quieter about it this year than I have in years past, but my silence doesn't mean I've stopped observing, processing, facing, or grappling with the reality that hate is taking lives...collecting them like trophies. I'm not lost to the fact that racism, nationalism, supremacy, extremism, and terrorism both domestic and global are obliterating innocent lives. 

Tonight I learned about Alton Sterling. This morning, Medina. Before that Baghdad. Bangladesh. Istanbul. Orlando. There's Brexit. Donald Trump is running for president on a platform rooted in willful ignorance, nationalism, and xenophobia. Police officers continue to not be held accountable for any of the brutalization or deaths they cause. 

Muslim lives. Black lives. Brown lives. Queer lives. Trans lives. Young lives. Innocent lives. Too many lives taken by hate. 

It's just too many. I don't know what to say about so much loss, but I'm bearing witness to it, and desperately hoping we find ways to do and be better for each other.I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about it getting worse before it gets any better. We deserve more than hate, fear mongering, oppression, and brutality. We deserve living, thriving, humanity. Love. We deserve love.

Don't we?  Where is it? 

 

We ARE The Threat

I've been struggling with what to say in the wake and aftermath of the attacks in Beruit, Paris, Nigeria, and this morning, Mali. I've been watching what's taking place in Minneapolis as a community demands answers and justice for Jamar Clark and are met instead with a miltitarized police force, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and refusal. I've heard the deafening shrill of hate and xenophobia towards Muslims. I've read comment after comment, heard remark after remark from elected officials and fellow citizens, from Christians declaring a need to turn our backs on refugees from Syria. Last night, I read, in disbelief, the names of all who voted to ban Syrian refugees and withdraw aid. I sat reading it in stunned silence not knowing how to even respond to it.

I've been paying attention to all that's going on. I'm woke, but I don't know how to respond to what I'm seeing unfold every day. Words fail me, paint fails me. So I've just been quiet.  

But today I will tell you this: after all that's happened to Black & Brown lives over the last few years and after all of the racist, xenophobic hate and cowardice I've seen from our elected officials, presidential candidates, and US this past week alone? I'm far, far more terrified of Americans (and culture warring, refugee rejecting Christians) than I will ever be of terrorists.

Why? Because White supremacy, fragility and privilege? That's terrorism. Racism? Terrorism. We're living with it and dying from it every day. EVERY. DAY. Hate towards Muslims? That's terrorism. Rejecting refugees to "protect" yourself? That's terrorism. No gun control-the fact that it's easier for someone to get a gun than it is for refugees to actually get into this country or gain asylum? Terrorism. Forcing your beliefs & ideologies on others who are and live differently than you? That's terrorism. The mindset and power structures that support and enable Donald Trump and Ben Carson to be GOP front runners for the presidency of the United States, a country of refugees, immigrants, indigenous people and former enslaved people? Terrorism. Caring more about an ideology than you do about people, about their humanity? That's terrorism. White men plotting to bomb Black churches? Terrorism. White men shooting up Black churches, movie theaters, malls...those are terrorists. 

We really want to pretend that we're any better or so far removed from what a terrorist thinks & believes. We want to look at them and then look at us and self-righteously boast to ourselves and to the world that we're different.That we would never resort to such heinous and soul-less violence or beliefs. We talk about wanting to defeat terrorism, but adamantly refuse to start with killing it in ourselves, and within our own society.

Instead we purposefully allow fear and hate to seize us and and enable us to do exactly what terrorists hope and plan for when they carry out these attacks: foster an environment they can continue to thrive in. Everyone's talking about destroying the enemy like we aren't our worst one. Like WE are not the actual threat. 

News flash: We ARE the threat. 

This week has been proof of that. This year has been proof of it. Our history has been. We've been here before and we're failing to once again do the work that could keep us from coming here again in the future. I'm desperately hoping we eventually show History that we've learned from it. Until then I'm just stuck here grieving that we haven't.

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For Paris

I have nothing to utter but obscenities and prayers for those seized in the grip of this evilness and who have had their lives taken mercilessly. Neither are enough but I have nothing else in these moments when violence ravages bodies and devours humanity whole. 

Between what's going on with the protests and racism at Mizzou and other universities around our country, the suicide bombing in Beruit,  and the numerous terrorist attacks in Paris today, it has been a really fucked up week. I'm searching for love and redemption in the midst of it as I hold my boys while they fall asleep tonight. 

Paris...I have no words. Just a desperate wail for Hope and some sense of Peace to meet you in the midst of your devastation.

Created by jean_jullien on Instagram

Created by jean_jullien on Instagram