Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wishful Mantra

a mantra:
The world is good. (Breathe in)
The world is good. (Breathe out)
The world is good. (Breathe in.. Breathe out)

How can the world be good in the midst of all the bad?
Because atrocities are still atrocities.
Because normal folks take care of each other.
Because amidst conflict there is resilience.
Because mothers have to believe it is so,
so that they can justify their motherhoods.
They cuddle their babies close,
and whisper in their ears
"The world is good."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I can't get it out of my head. I knew I shouldn't have watched it. I couldn't resist. Maybe I wanted to feel whatever emotion was gurgling up to the surface. Maybe I wanted to feel political. Maybe I have a fascination with the macabre. Maybe I felt a responsibility to see it.

For whatever reason, I watched the Iranian girl bleed out in that 10 second on-line clip. And then I hit replay. And then I walked away from the computer. I felt like maybe I shouldn't have watched it after all, seeing as death - that death - should've been a private moment. I was embarrassed that I had exploited her very personal death moment, that I was all of a sudden part of the millions who would make her a martyr or a villain.

I don't usually want to watch those sorts of things - war and death and sprawled corpses- in reality. When the news announcer warns about graphic footage, I, as a rule, turn my head with the other children. I can't take it. I can't understand why people are so barbaric. My body literally rejects the reality of violent death.

I have to admit that I do watch CSI and Criminal Minds, shows that are fiction and that market murder and gore. But they are fiction shows. They are not real. But when I watched her die, I couldn't help but think that her death resembled ones I had seen on the fiction shows - the last breath and movement, the blood from the mouth, the nose, and then pooling around her body, the vacant stare, the helpless man desperately trying to stanch the inevitable.

There are actually those who question the validity of the video and suggest that it is a propagandist's attempt at emotional appeal for the Iranian protesters. President Obama referenced it reverently in his press conference, specifically when he addressed how the US would respond to Iran's attempt at democracy and how the protests and the Iranian government's response would "play out." The existence of the video of her death is now political fodder for both sides.

Fine.

But I'm more interested in the humanity (or inhumanity) of it. How do we live with ourselves? What is our responsibility when it comes to injustices? How can we determine what is authentic in a society that fabricates reality - when we can't tell the news from Criminal Minds?

Ignoring it all is the wrong choice. I know that. Dr. King often said that it is more egregious to ignore suffering and not take a side than it is to be on the wrong side. Living our lives pretending that people don't suffer is morally unjust.

I always err on the side of the oppressed.

But what is there to do? Prayer seems like a cop out sometimes, an action that justifies inaction.

What I will do today is acknowledge the humanity of the dead woman and try to respect her death, even though I feel as though I have violated her. Also, even if it is a cop out for not knowing what else to do, I repeat my mantra/prayer and whisper to my one year old, "The world is good. The world, Baby Jack, overall is good."

8 comments:

Kathy B! said...

Most of the world is good...

Really well said. Thanks for posting your reaction to this.

Pam said...

This is such a powerful post. I will admit that I, too, watched this video. I was curious about it after hearing it talked so much about on the news. It was heartwrenching and it did feel like I was invading her privacy (and her family's). I had a hard time getting the images out of my mind for the rest of the day. I do think it's important that we hold on to and focus on all the good in the world. That is the only way to overcome the bad.

AB HOME Interiors said...

Great post. My husband and I watched the Saddam Hussein hanging online. I remember feeling raw, nervous, agitated and remorseful. I couldnt get the video horror out of my head. I felt I disrespected him, and yet he was a vile man. Our emotions are mysterious creatures Stopping by from SITS to leave some thursday bloggy love!

Anita said...

I'm stopping by from SITS, you were above me in blog roll, and I'm glad I found you. This was a deeply moving post. I haven't watched the video, but I have heard about it. I'm at a loss for what the right balance is for being a free nation and leader.
Thank you for speaking so well. Life is very hard.

Sandy said...

I didn't want the video. I can't watch that stuff. I usually watch CSI, Law & Order, etc., but lately even they have become too graphic. Even though I keep in mind that it's ficture, I worry that those types of shows give the crazies out there ideas.

Veggie Mom said...

Thanks for sharing such a powerful post. Stopping by from SITS to Share Some Comment Love...

PINKMONKEY said...

Death is such an important part of life..but I often struggle with the question of whether or not the media should broadcast or censor images of death. I've yet to come up with an answer; however,I really enjoyed this post.

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

Beautiful post...and I LOVE the mantra/poem. So expresses what I so often feel as a mom, as a spiritual seeker, as a-trying-to-be-an-activist...It made me think about Koinonia Farm in GA, which I just visited (a historic part of the civil rights movement)...In the midst of so much horror, it's always amazing to discover the bits of joy, love, hope...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wishful Mantra

a mantra:
The world is good. (Breathe in)
The world is good. (Breathe out)
The world is good. (Breathe in.. Breathe out)

How can the world be good in the midst of all the bad?
Because atrocities are still atrocities.
Because normal folks take care of each other.
Because amidst conflict there is resilience.
Because mothers have to believe it is so,
so that they can justify their motherhoods.
They cuddle their babies close,
and whisper in their ears
"The world is good."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I can't get it out of my head. I knew I shouldn't have watched it. I couldn't resist. Maybe I wanted to feel whatever emotion was gurgling up to the surface. Maybe I wanted to feel political. Maybe I have a fascination with the macabre. Maybe I felt a responsibility to see it.

For whatever reason, I watched the Iranian girl bleed out in that 10 second on-line clip. And then I hit replay. And then I walked away from the computer. I felt like maybe I shouldn't have watched it after all, seeing as death - that death - should've been a private moment. I was embarrassed that I had exploited her very personal death moment, that I was all of a sudden part of the millions who would make her a martyr or a villain.

I don't usually want to watch those sorts of things - war and death and sprawled corpses- in reality. When the news announcer warns about graphic footage, I, as a rule, turn my head with the other children. I can't take it. I can't understand why people are so barbaric. My body literally rejects the reality of violent death.

I have to admit that I do watch CSI and Criminal Minds, shows that are fiction and that market murder and gore. But they are fiction shows. They are not real. But when I watched her die, I couldn't help but think that her death resembled ones I had seen on the fiction shows - the last breath and movement, the blood from the mouth, the nose, and then pooling around her body, the vacant stare, the helpless man desperately trying to stanch the inevitable.

There are actually those who question the validity of the video and suggest that it is a propagandist's attempt at emotional appeal for the Iranian protesters. President Obama referenced it reverently in his press conference, specifically when he addressed how the US would respond to Iran's attempt at democracy and how the protests and the Iranian government's response would "play out." The existence of the video of her death is now political fodder for both sides.

Fine.

But I'm more interested in the humanity (or inhumanity) of it. How do we live with ourselves? What is our responsibility when it comes to injustices? How can we determine what is authentic in a society that fabricates reality - when we can't tell the news from Criminal Minds?

Ignoring it all is the wrong choice. I know that. Dr. King often said that it is more egregious to ignore suffering and not take a side than it is to be on the wrong side. Living our lives pretending that people don't suffer is morally unjust.

I always err on the side of the oppressed.

But what is there to do? Prayer seems like a cop out sometimes, an action that justifies inaction.

What I will do today is acknowledge the humanity of the dead woman and try to respect her death, even though I feel as though I have violated her. Also, even if it is a cop out for not knowing what else to do, I repeat my mantra/prayer and whisper to my one year old, "The world is good. The world, Baby Jack, overall is good."

8 comments:

Kathy B! said...

Most of the world is good...

Really well said. Thanks for posting your reaction to this.

Pam said...

This is such a powerful post. I will admit that I, too, watched this video. I was curious about it after hearing it talked so much about on the news. It was heartwrenching and it did feel like I was invading her privacy (and her family's). I had a hard time getting the images out of my mind for the rest of the day. I do think it's important that we hold on to and focus on all the good in the world. That is the only way to overcome the bad.

AB HOME Interiors said...

Great post. My husband and I watched the Saddam Hussein hanging online. I remember feeling raw, nervous, agitated and remorseful. I couldnt get the video horror out of my head. I felt I disrespected him, and yet he was a vile man. Our emotions are mysterious creatures Stopping by from SITS to leave some thursday bloggy love!

Anita said...

I'm stopping by from SITS, you were above me in blog roll, and I'm glad I found you. This was a deeply moving post. I haven't watched the video, but I have heard about it. I'm at a loss for what the right balance is for being a free nation and leader.
Thank you for speaking so well. Life is very hard.

Sandy said...

I didn't want the video. I can't watch that stuff. I usually watch CSI, Law & Order, etc., but lately even they have become too graphic. Even though I keep in mind that it's ficture, I worry that those types of shows give the crazies out there ideas.

Veggie Mom said...

Thanks for sharing such a powerful post. Stopping by from SITS to Share Some Comment Love...

PINKMONKEY said...

Death is such an important part of life..but I often struggle with the question of whether or not the media should broadcast or censor images of death. I've yet to come up with an answer; however,I really enjoyed this post.

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

Beautiful post...and I LOVE the mantra/poem. So expresses what I so often feel as a mom, as a spiritual seeker, as a-trying-to-be-an-activist...It made me think about Koinonia Farm in GA, which I just visited (a historic part of the civil rights movement)...In the midst of so much horror, it's always amazing to discover the bits of joy, love, hope...