Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gratitude and Sorrow

I woke up this morning, stumbled out of bed. Opened the blinds. I looked out on a silent, peaceful world. A slight breeze rustled the stalks of lavender flowers in the garden.

I had nothing threatening me. I don't have a palace or a mansion or even own a house but I rent an apartment with lots of space and light that looks onto a garden I don't have to maintain and an ocean that changes every minute of every day.

I have challenges and fears that keep me awake at night. But nobody hates me because of my religious beliefs or my nationality. Nobody believes I don't have any rights, or if they do I don’t have to pay attention to them. They have no power over me.

The country I live in is run by a corrupt lunatic but we still to a large extent have free speech. Citizens aren't imprisoned and tortured. He doesn't unleash chemical weapons and others of mass destruction on us. My village wasn't overrun by a sect composed of the most twisted of psychopath serial killers who hate women and who get off on torturing and executing anybody who disagrees with them. The women and children weren't raped and taken as sex slaves, or else killed.

I haven’t had to watch in terror as bombs rained down all around me, killing friends and family and razing the buildings until my town and my life was ravaged beyond repair. I haven’t had to risk a long and very unsafe boat journey to get away from the land and the home that in my heart I love, just so that I and my children could stay alive.

I haven’t had to witness my own child drowning and know that leaving home was for nothing after all and be in a strange land where I’m not welcome and I don’t know how long I can stay alive.

I haven’t had to walk for hundreds and hundreds of miles with nothing, through inhospitable territory, with winter coming on. I haven’t had to watch people erect barbed wire fences to keep me out as if I was some kind of rabid dog. I haven't had to explain that to my child.

I’m not the target of bigotry and prejudice from conservative citizens and politicians who hate me even though they’ve never met me. Who prop up their prejudice and fear with lies and don’t care about the truth. Who don’t care whether I or my children have food and warm clothing and shelter. Whether we find safety and even a bit of happiness or weep through day and night in despair. Whether we live or die.

Who in fact would rather we did all die so we wouldn’t be an inconvenience. For whom we have not an atom of value.