Thursday, November 17, 2005

Take the stripes of your flag and give us the stars...

You can tell when a post wells up from the heart. Sometimes it's between the lines, sometimes it's in your face. This one's in your face. The writer is a hybrid whose gentle voice is uniquely balanced in a world of polarized extremes.

The Dove's father is a Lebanese Christian immigrant, with relatives spread out from Lebanon to Australia. Her mother is a Southern WASP whose family lives in Virginia, Texas and other parts. The Dove's father's Christian Lebanese village is right next door to a Muslim Palestinian refugee camp, built on what was once our family farmland. The Dove is married to a wonderful man who does bear a Scottish surname but is halachically Jewish, via his lovely mother, who has a large and supportive family. The Dove herself grew up in the Midwest and South, but spent many long summers and one school year in Lebanon as a child; also lived in Cairo, Egypt for a junior year in college. Full disclosure: a 4 year marriage to a Muslim Egyptian in her 20s gave her an inside view into upper class Cairene families, and an appreciation for secular modern Muslims and their relationship to Islam.

Her posts are quiet and infrequent, but always deeply sincere. She was in class when a poem overtook her emotions.

So I'm reading this and crying, and somebody passes me a kleenex, and when the poem is over we talk about it and I pull myself together, but then we go on a break and I walk down the hall and find a student lounge where I put my face between a bookshelf and the wall and weep.

I got put down pretty hard first thing this morning and don't quite know how to respond. We pacifists are a pretty wimpy lot.
Thank God.

1 comment:

Kobayashi Maru said...

You responded well, Hoots.

Orwell was a fascinating writer in part because so many have quoted him for opposite purposes and also because he was so complex as a person (not the least because of his involvement in the war in Spain.) Pacifism is admirable in its pure form. It's just that: 1) too many avowed pacifists make all kinds of inconsistent, expedient exceptions but still like to wear the label so they don't have to argue and/or 2) apply the principle so broadly as to be suicidal and irresponsible vis others for whose lives they may be responsible. E.g., a pacifist airline pilot who refuses to fight off a hijacker, leading 300 people to be plunged to gory and premature deaths. It's a lot more complicated than "turn the other cheek" which, btw, was in that culture and language (Aramaic) considered as much of an insult as a gesture of selfless sacrifice.

Anyway, thanks for visitin'!