“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.” -Mahatma Gandhi
While loading the running car with the last of my things, checklist taunting my brain and airline tickets in my pocket, I returned to the house with the sound of the phone ringing. It was my dad, expressing concern about my flight leaving Laguardia Airport that day. Neither of us quite understood what he was happening, but he suggested that my mom and I turn on the TV. As we watched, shocked and confused by the North Tower of the World Trade Center burning, we heard scattered reports of a commercial airline crashing into the building. Soon thereafter, we witnessed, live and on television, the second plane crash into the South Tower. At this point, reporters and viewers alike seemed to be in complete confusion, not to mention the terribly frightened people on the streets of lower Manhattan. Over the course of the next several days, pieces of puzzles were put together and handed to the public, bit by bit. I was “stranded” in New York until that Friday, but was incredibly lucky to be with my parents at this time of national and personal turmoil.
Of course, this day will always conjure many intense and conflicting emotions. For me, disgust and anger continue to plague my psyche, pointed most directly at my own inability to work towards peace and resolution. Compassion and sadness, too, for the people that lost loved ones that day and all of us who continue to lose felllow human lives due to this senseless, greed driven war.
Cleaning house starts at home, and I am continuously astounded at my typically American ability to sit idly by as a spectator of the tragic real-life play that unfolds here and abroad. The play involving Shakesparean-like but real characters in the form of our country’s leader, his advisors, and the corporate and privately held interests that fund this war machine. To watch the second and third and continuing acts, which compound themselves into such abhorrent realities that they are nearly impossible to believe, without demanding a change of course is irresponsible, at best.
I search for the answers to these enormous, larger than life issues. A huge part of me envisions moving to a country that doesn’t wage war, like our more peaceful sister to the North named Canada. Or perhaps explore the new democracy in Chile, buy some farm land and old abondoned house that needs fixing, grow grapes, drink wine, and have conversations with other expats dreaming of necessary revolutions. But then, I would simply be changing seats at the same play, likely less able to create systemic change; or missing out on becoming at least a donor for next season’s lineup.
In working towards resolutions, even if only locally, each act, however minute, can lead towards cleansing our troubled souls. I am not sure how these steps can be taken, but I know that if I refuse to involve myself somehow in the solution, I am as guilty as the decision makers. I am as guilty as the loathsome, fearful individuals everywhere that stand, shouting, “Encore! Encore!”
Continuing to seek the truth and express my views from a place of love and compassion is a good start, I suppose. Conscientiously choosing to be a part of the greater good, in work and in play, is also necessary to add value and meaning to my tiny contributions. I wonder if millions of people coming together, taking to the streets, and demanding a different, more peaceful and economically just society would make a difference anymore. I guess there is but one way to find out.