Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I Must Crusade

Dear Women in Black,

You are my friends, in a narrow way. I don't know many of you well, but we stand together once a week on the same narrow strip of ground. And we have stood here in Knoxville, now, for four years.

We stand in mourning. So last week when we celebrated four years of standing together, we were celebrating a mourning. How odd.

Together we heard these words:

{All Things Not Considered
by Naomi Shahib Nye
(from 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East)}

"You cannot stitch the breath back into this boy

A brother and sister were playing with toys when their room exploded.

In what language
is this holy?

The Jewish boys killed in the cave
were skipping school, having an adventure.

Asel Asleh, Palestinian, age 17, believed in the field
beyond right and wrong where people
come together.

to talk. He kneeled to help someone else
stand up before he was shot.

If this is holy, could we have some new religions please?"

And more words, but it wasn't the words. It rarely is. And I knelt and touched the names of Israeli children and Palestinian children written on a piece of paper. And I wondered why people tend to be more distraught when it is children who die. Is it because we hope that they held within them more potential for peace than the rest of us? Or is it just that we feel that we should have died first.

We Women in Black stand in front of a federal building each week in some kind of protest. It is a crusade of sorts, one in which Jewish women, Muslim women, Christian women, women of no religious commitment, join together on a narrow strip of sidewalk and crusade for peace.

Betsy DeGeorge

1 comment:

Anne G G said...

What I like about your descriptions of the Women in Black is that talk seems more and more useless the more that politicians do it. It seems to just obscure the meaning of everything that is happening -- even the deaths of children. When words have become so corrupted, silence seems like the only answer; for those in power, the quiet hopefully becomes disquieting.