refugees

Images are what remain: little children abandoned in the rubble, the dust trail of jeeps riding off burdened with their war-riors screaming shouts of victory, behind them a ransacked town, and the ones who could not escape in time, crucified.

And elsewhere, schools under protection of the international community are bombed, and soldiers enter the empty classrooms and defecate into waist bins and scrawl their chalkboard graffiti death messages on classroom walls. A moth flutters softly in their wake.

In moments when “massacre” is justified by other legitimatizing words such as “revenge” and “defense” and “patriotism,” where does memory go? It must slip into the fog that sits over the great divorce between the past and the present, while men wielding death machines saunter about recklessly and plunge down that same chasm that separates the actions of war from classroom boyhood, when soldiers were children too, and when they had fears and hurts and loves of their own.

Between innocence and hate there is an infinity that passes in the blink of an eye. A jolt from the newness of childhood to….what? How did you learn that they are not human as you are? Who convinced you that they are better off dead? That you are furthering the cause of your home by annihilating theirs? And how is it that there is no pause before you return to your own doorstep to lift your daughter in your arms and kiss your sweet grandmother?

Or is it reaction rather than ignorance? Dear man-boy, shitting in the vacant sanctuary of the children you somehow hate, what was it that was done to you? What planted this seed inside you that spurs you on with your gun and your pride? What watered it and gave it shade and fostered it until it overtook the blood-flow of your pumping heart and blinded you to recognize that same heart in the ones at the barrels of your war machines?

There are holes in you and I that I cannot mend. There are holes in the canvas of the world too great to be patched by my paltry pain. I can only grasp at the tatters and peer through and look you in the eye. Can I look you in the eye? Please look back at me. Please, in this place of fears that cannot bear the burning look of what is human, dare to push me past my own prejudice and look at me too. I might turn away, but I promise, if you are patient, you will show me who you are and I will take back every careless word I spoke about you and every murderous attempt, or be brave enough to accept own my depravity and do it to your face, knowing the things about you that I do now.

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