Red Emma Speaks

Saturday, July 09, 2005

peace or war

I wanted to post a bunch of articles on the G8 demonstrations. I always feel so irritated with the dismissive and irrational reporting that goes on during these massive actions, but then the London bombing happened, and I just didn't have it in me.

I will say this: I've always had mixed feelings about the black-clad window-breaking anarchists. I know clearly that most if not all the aggression in these demonstrations are between police and kids (and almost always started by the nervous and over-tired police). The sideline of breaking Burger King's windows is to make a point I sometimes agree with, even if I myself wouldn't do it. I understand the frustration of dealing with a corporate, heartless world that won't listen; and therefore, I don't blame them for their acts, although I wish they would stand up, like the Catholic Workers who break the law of the land while upholding "god's law" and are willing to go to jail for it. (This instead of denial in the face of accusation, or trying to blame someone else. I would rather see so-called "eco-terrorists" stand up and explain in that court of law the WHY--that would have more impact than obfuscation, IMO. That's only sometimes, though--I understand the idea of "living to resist another day.")

And I will point to one article that I think everyone can agree is disgusting. Other than that, I'm just too sad to talk about politics.

In moments like these, I become less Red Emma and more Virginia Woolf.

When 9.11 happened, it sent me into a funk I think I've yet to escape. For me, it's about this sense of humanity gone horribly horribly wrong. Since then, I've pointed to that as the date I became a pessimist--before that I always thought of myself as a rather bubbly believer in the inherent goodness of folks. However, I've been transcribing my journals leading up to that date, and find that I was feeling a sense of pressure before that--a sense that things were tightening, tightening, tightening... that something was going to go bust. I knew as I watched the buildings fall that my country wouldn't respond well to such a thing, that we'd fall into the "fascist-light" sort of place we've always become in moments of fear. Humans, I guess, always do fear badly--but I tend to think of USians as more reactionary than most.

If we're not shitting ourselves and crying, we're trying to kill the person that made us feel that way.

I'm just dropping back into that place that sees Bush's war as one never-ending, and designed to keep humanity deep in the murk of "getting what's mine." I'm terrified for the psyches of the soldiers, knowing well what war does to the minds of young men, how it teaches them barbarity that they then have to try to forget or live with the rest of their lives. It infects all of us, as a result.

From Pema Chodron:

Every day we could think about the aggression in the world, in New York, Los Angeles, Halifax, Taiwan, Beirut, Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, everywhere. All over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. Every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, "Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?" Every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, "Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?"


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