Thursday, April 25, 2013

Death in Boston and Elsewhere

Susan O'shea has a brother, Jim, living in Boston.  Susan sent me  sent me these images:

From Syria to Boston
Unattributed, and on several sites.

From Boston to Syria

Grace Giskie entered this post on April 20:

Why I Hate the Images from Kabul and Syria to Boston.April 20, 2013 By Grace Biskie 17 Comments

When is it coming to get me? 
When is breast cancer coming for me? 
When is someone coming to shoot up my son’s elementary school? 
When is a tornado ripping my house from root to roof?
When is a bomb blowing up the next race I’m training for?
It has hit home for me, yes.  But I’m keenly aware that people all over the world are bombarded with these when-am-I-next questions every. single. day. 
I hate the image above.  And I hate the ‘To Boston from Kabul with Love’ image too. I hate them because of how ashamed they make me feel at my complete indifference to their vulnerability.  I hate the images because we haven’t sent them back. I hate that we’ve never sent a “From America with Love to Kabul!”

As an African-American I’ve lived with a greater sense of vulnerability for me & my black brothers.  And then I’ve watched some die.  Their vulnerability was not a ploy to misuse government funds.  As disconnected as they were from the surrounding white suburbs they were still every bit as vulnerable even when mistrusted & ignored.  There are gay kids living with this when-am-I-next type of vulnerability.  There are little girls everywhere living with when-am-I-next to be raped? 
  These realities exist whether we turn a blind eye or not. 
As much as I hate the evil and mourn with the victims of the latest atrocities I believe this is a golden opportunity for us Average Joe Americans (and other 1st world citizens) to stand in solidarity not only with places like Syria but also with those who feel perpetually vulnerable in our own country day after day after day. 
Growing up a poor kid in the inner city, I’ve felt that vulnerability.  I’ve seen what living as a perpetually vulnerable person or family does.  It’s destructive.  It’s ugly.  It’s hopeless.  I’ve also wrestled those gutted transactions between those who don’t believe in the vulnerability of others who show impatience and disgust.  Distrust of your words and motives and actual needs. 
How can we extend greater grace & mercy to people who feel perpetually vulnerable? 
Can we harness our current pain to invest in our world’s most vulnerable? 
Can we use these horrible events as a catalyst to get off our lazy behinds and help the vulnerable within our immediate vicinity? 
Can we pray for Boston and follow it with a prayer for Syria?
Can we stick “God Bless the World” stickers on our bumpers instead of “God Bless America?” 
Can we pray for Waco, Texas and follow it with a prayer for all the unemployed & homeless in Detroit, Michigan? 
Can we pray for God’s peace and grace to rest heavily on Afghanistan?  On Chechnya? 
Can we extend more patience to those on food stamps?
Can we give more grace to people you typically don’t trust for one reason or another? 
These tragedies are giving us sheltered Americans & 1st world countries a mutual experience by which to understand more deeply fellow human beings all over the world. 
May we steward it well. 
And to my brothers & sisters in Syria & Kabul I have a message for you:

Join me & my children this morning in praying for Shalom on earth.

On October 14, 2011, we -- you and I and all our American countrymen -- burned a child to death in a Drone strike in Yemen.

Sixteen-year-old Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was killed by a Hellfire missile shot by a Drone in Shabwa, Yemen.

Abdulrahman was eating dinner by an open fire along the side of a road in Shabwa, Yemen.  He was with his his cousin, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and seven other friends, when the Hellfire stuck.

This is he place where the nine were eating dinner:

All that was left of Abdulrahman was a piece of skin.  There is no mention of the fate of the other eight guys.

The bit of Abdulrahman's flesh was placed in a casket that headed a funeral procession of many mourning, raging, and now-vengeful Yemenis.

Sixten-year-old boys may be mean as snakes or sweet as angels.  Most are some mixture of both.  There will never be an opportunity to determine what Abdulrahman was:  though the US Constitution guarantees "any person" the right to due process before our government can proceed against him, Abdulrahman was given no process visible to the public.  He was charge with no crime, nor alleged to the an enemy of the people.

""After the frist death, there is no other."

Dylan Thomas, A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by
 Fire, of a Child in London

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