Tag Archives: terrorism

Pain in a blind eye

A good man is a man who would love you,
who would, at the least, forgive you;
would look into your face and see the visage
of his Maker there and hold that too dear to lose;
would understand that you are the creature
of forces you could neither deny or command;
would wonder how you could ever do that.
But with that cordite in the air
and all this blood everywhere
and their screams still screaming in my ear,
I know I am not that man—
so I hate you even more.

And pain in a blind eye’s a double hurt.
Rúmí, The Mathnaví, I.
Quoted by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p.34

It is the day after another mass shooting. A day when, again, we offer our prayers and love to the victims and their families. A day when, again, we search for understanding and why.  A day when, again, we wonder why the only answer is misdirection and empty rhetoric. A day when, again, we hope that there will be some substantive change, although we know there will not.  A day when, again, I come face-to-face with my inability to forgive such evil and to let go of my anger, and what that means about me as a spiritual being.

Thank you for reading Pain in a blind eye. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. I have disabled the ‘Like’ button for this post— there is nothing to like here. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken a few days ago in Cranston, RI. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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9/11/2001

Say not There is no God but Allah!
this Day brooks no negation:
He is God!
And when those jets
were stabbed into His back,
His Prophet, peace be upon Him,
wept down upon you
and held out His arms
to receive you.

In the perfect stillness, in the quiet,
over the waste, beyond the silence
you move. Movement is everywhere:
through the smoke, through the noise,
past the barriers and into the chaos,
to this very day.

You, you innocents,
you are in your perfection, perfect,
and will remain that way forever,
of this there is no doubt—
even after we have long forgot you.

As the years slip by, the truth is we forget the victims more completely. We invoke their memories on each anniversary, it is true, but as a single identity: the victims of that day’s terrible acts, the reason and the justification of everything that came thereafter. But we do not remember them, the individuals, the people, those ones who, each and every one, had lives and loves and hopes and fears and plans, and who deserve to be remembered as individuals, not as any government’s or generation’s justification.

Now, as the years have gone by, another set of neglected victims emerges: the heroic first responders, whose fight for health benefits and support too often falls on dead ears and colder hearts. There is just no political hay remaining to be made from the day anymore, excepting, of course, the sound bites at the memorial service.

Just do not say that the attack of 9/11/2001 had a religious motive. That day was a heinous act of betrayal of the true, peace-loving nature of Islam by a band of despicable, evil people whose ego-driven lust of power and terror knew no bounds of decency.

Thank you for reading 9/11/2001. This is a slightly edited version of a previous poem To this very day. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken at my workplace. And yes, it flies today at half mast, as it should. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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But not too long


up

Good-ole-boy Chas said he’d the right of it:
That preacher voted against concealed carry,
that’s why him and his died last night.
Chas-boy thinks that if he and his
had been there that day, they’d have heroed it,
because they’re always packing.

I’d think twice on that, sunshine, if I were you.
Notwithstanding the sheer rudeness of it all,
there’s always Justice, Chas—in the next world,
if not this one. Always. I’d think long and hard
about that if I were you. Long. And. Hard.

swril2

On June 17, 2015, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who is white, was hoping to start a race war when he shot and killed nine, black congregational members (including the pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney) at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historic church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Saddened as every empathetic person was at this evil terrorist attack, the article NRA board member blames Charleston shooting deaths on pastor’s vote against guns in churches that came out the next day floored me. One can only goggle at the arrogance, greed, cruelty and self-serving, blind narcissism of such a statement. (In case the article comes down off the server, here is a screen shot of his post. It’s small, but legible:)

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That’s him, good ole boy Chas Cotton, in the picture above the poem.

‘Packing’ is an American euphemism for carrying a concealed weapon. ‘NRA’ stands for the National Rifle Association, a rich, loud and politically strong right-winged lobby known for constantly pushing for more legislated gun rights and viciously defending against any type of gun reform in the US.

Thank you for reading But not too long. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments. Please visit my photography web site, the Book of Bokeh.

john

Poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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