Today in My History
2000:How DID I Do It?
2001: Walkin' the Dog
2002: Pissed Off
2003: Birds Do It, Bees Do It
2004: America's Favorite Pastime
2005: That Old Gang of Mine
2006: Stan's the Man
2007: Old F**ks
2008: Who Is Jim Lamply?
2009: Technology--It's All Relative
Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels
Books Read in 2010
"The Girl who Played with Fire"
Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10) And Then I Ate
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My Mother Remembers the Depression
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10 August 2010
It's been a very emotional afternoon and I don't even know if I can put into words what I'm feeling.
It started with Facebook.
Gay and Lesbian couples posting notes saying that they had papers to file or that they were waiting outside of a registrar's office, hoping that Judge Walker will lift the stay and allow couples to marry.
I thought about what it must be like to be sitting by a telephone waiting to find out if a Judge will let you get married to your partner of 5, 10, 20 or more years, knowing that in another year or so the right might be revoked yet again.
Then there was the story in Huffington Post about a 17 month old baby boy beaten to death because the mother's boyfriend thought he was "acting like a girl" and wanted to make a man of him. His tiny body had been repeatedly punched with closed fists and grabbed by the neck. By the time 911 had been called at dusk, he was already in cardiac arrest from the sheer brutality of the assault and it was too late to save his life, the article reports.
The murderer is quoted as saying: I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl. I never struck that kid that hard before. A one-time mistake, and I am going to do 20 years.
I dunno. I just find it difficult to find much sympathy for his "20 years."
So I was already feeling pretty emotional about how cruel human beings can be to other human beings. I went out to the family room and sat down, so Polly could have lap time (she only needs about 23 hours of it a day). I turned on the TV and saw the last half of a movie called Beyond the Gates which stars John Hurt and is about the genocide in Rwanda. Every bit as emotional as Hotel Rwanda.
And as I frequently do, while watching the movie I was also reading. I'm taking a break from the murder and mayhem of the fictional Lisabeth Salander and am reading a book called "Flying Carpet of Small Miracles," written by Hala Jaber, a Lebanese-British correspondent reporting for London's Sunday Times, which is about the attempt to save a couple of orphans in Baghdad. Three-year-old Zahra was burned over most of her body and in dire need of sophisticated emergency attention, while her baby sister, Hawra, tossed from a car window, survived unscathed. The rest of their family of seven were killed.
I haven't gotten into the meat of the book yet, as where I am is just as "shock and awe" is happening. Jaber and her photographer husband chose not to evacuate Baghdad and wanted to report on what things were really like, not the sanitized version those of us on the outside world were receiving. She tells it like it is and how stupid those "smart bombs" really were, as she explores the hospitals which are taking care of the wounded and housing the dead.
A mother, who sits with two children while two other children lie in the morgue, their bodies torn apart, says, "My tears are strangled in my eyes. They will not gush. They are burning my soul. They will stay inside me as an everlasting reminder of my anger with the Americans and British who did this to my babies."
The author then describes what happened. "She had just finished giving breakfast to her own children and her brother's in the house where they all lived together. One minute she could hear the children singing, laughing and playing as she washed the breakfast dishes in the kitchen. The next minute came the explosion. She did not know what caused it.
"'All I could see was blood spattered against the walls,' she said as her daughter Sujud moaned beside us.
"She rushed out of the kitchen, calling the children's names and peering desperately through the smoke. As soon as she saw Sara and Karar, she knew they were dead. Their younger brother and sister were lying in the pool of blood with a fourteen year old cousin, who had also been injured.
"'Tell Bush and Blair that their end is near,' she concluded, with a coolness that chilled me. 'Tell them that the scalding tears of Iraq's mothers will burn them and send them to hell.'"
As I was reading of the horrors of children killed and horrifically wounded by our "smart bombs" ("collateral damage," I'm sure the administration would call it), in the movie the UN was pulling its troops out of a village in Rwanda because all was lost. In a previous scene, I watched the rebels chasing women and children with machetes, chopping them to pieces as they tried to escape. As the UN trucks are leaving, the villagers realize that there is no way the UN can save them and that they are being deserted (all except for John Hurt, of course, who would never leave the villagers alone, and who is later murdered).
They send a village elder to the retreating army to ask one favor. As they leave, will they please shoot the villagers to save them the pain of being hacked to death by machete. When the soldier says he can't do that, the man begs him to just kill the children, please, to save them the pain.
Here I was sitting in my nice house, with my nice dogs and my nice marriage and beyond these walls are people hoping a judge will let them marry. There are children maimed and orphaned in the Middle East, a part of this endless war that we rarely hear about, of course. Over 800,000 were murdered in Rwanda 50 years after World War II when we vowed to never again allow genocide to happen.
I cried for the capacity of humans to be so terribly cruel to other human beings and for the often overwhelming nature of the pain and suffering we see around us in the world, and for our complacency (mine included) at merely reading or watching it with varying degrees of emotion, from boredom to outrage, without doing anything about it.
PHOTO OF THE DAY