14 April 2011

"after winter... must come spring"

My heart is heavy as I write on my blog for the first time in months... I've been on a blog hiatus... overwhelmed with teaching, writing, deadlines, community work, and everything in between. Since December, it has has been ridiculously hectic for me - and the time has flown by, as it does...  and we are now deep into the double ones (yes that's 2011 :) and there is so much to say... so much to share... and even more importantly so much to do.

(I started writing this on April 1st...  and just finished it today...)

I've been immersed in the news of revolutions and resistance across North Africa and the Middle East since December. I've been devastated over the tsunami and earthquake in Japan... and the nuclear fallout...  So much so that I haven't been able to write about it... only posting news articles on facebook. As I continue to send prayers and healing thoughts to the people of Japan, I am astonished at what is happening... and how quickly this disaster has faded from mainstream news. I consider the differences between Japan and Haiti: clearly there are major differences - they are after all on completely opposite ends of the political and economic spectrum. Nevertheless, both places have been suffered unspeakable loss and pain... yet they are discussed and represented differently. We should ask ourselves why. Why do we use differences to place value and moral judgments? What is at the root of these differing representations and why?

I am thinking about the number of news/opinion pieces on "Why the Japanese don't loot" with comparisons to Haiti and New Orleans. I am thinking about the paternalistic attention / relationship to Haiti in the United States. Perhaps it is what Elizabeth Alexander discusses as "the Black body in pain" being a symbol of both racial conflict and American unity. One could argue that U.S. media is obsessed with the Black body in pain - as it is captivated with the "morality" and culture of Japan. These dichotomies are nevertheless grounded in new forms of racism that still serve white supremacy. 

I feel and hear the pain and loss of our Japanese brothers and sisters... entire communities of people who have lost everything... who churned through dust, rubble, and radiated air to find loved ones... who must be trying to make sense of all this loss and the fears of another nuclear catastrophe...  who wait to identify bodies...  who must fear the mass graves just as our Haitian brothers and sisters did and continue to suffer through the anguish of not being able to properly honor their dead.

I don't want to have a conversation about why Japanese people aren't looting... so that mass media can perpetuate racial stereotypes of model minorities versus looting Black folks...  I don't want to hear the blame conveniently placed on Japanese plants who were somehow supposed to be prepared for a massive earthquake of deadly proportions.  I don't...  and I can't...  (Indeed, there are cultural differences which can account for different responses to disaster, but these exist within larger structural and economic forces and frameworks.)  

divide and conquer still
proliferation of war at the expense of life in the guise of peace
the earth speaking and we turn our backs on her
ignore her, pretend that these catastrophes are natural or unrelated
as she tells us through tremors and waves, heat and ice, 
dead dolphins on beaches, birds falling from the sky,
radiation spilling into air, water, and living cells,
that she is tired

She speaks through our bodies and the land on which we live
She tells us to listen and rise up with the movements & struggles
coursing through her deserts, hills, cities, and oceans

How will we live through these changes?
How can we create a better, livable future?
How do we build community with less and less resources?
How do we take back our lives from corporate interests and war machines?

These are the questions that occupy my consciousness as I keep my ears and heart to the ground. I honor those deep in the struggle and fighting for their very lives. I am humbled to be a witness & warrior.

Revolutions & Uprisings
     Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, Iran
Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Cote d'Ivoire
Labor Protests & Attacks on Workers Rights & Women's Rights
     United States - Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Kansas
(Un)natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, Japan

I hold space
prayers, blessings, light
in these dark troubling times

"change will come eventually"

(I'm back from my hiatus... more reflections soon come on conscious vibration...)

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