Posted by: r.m. | January 12, 2009

a bigger world

One of my students told me today that since late December, there have been no environmental posts on the blog.  Only Gaza, he said, all Gaza.

Yes, I told him, all Gaza.

I know there is more than Gaza now, just as there was more before.  I know that the environment is still spinning, and getting more degraded, and that, amidst all that abuse and disrespect of our Earth, there are stories of hope and positive action that I have to find to share, particularly with my students, to show (perhaps) that there are realistic alternatives, and, no, the sky is not falling.

And, I know that human rights abuses and economic injustices are also ongoing around the world, just as there are beautiful struggles to oppose them.

But I also know that my world has gotten so much smaller ever since the start of these latest massacres on the Palestinians, so close and so far. I can’t read the news on any other issue. It is either Palestine or bubble-gum-for-the-mind news to ease the rush of news.  Nothing in between, though.

The rational, cold voice in my head (as my friends now, I still hear many voices in my head) says that just as my world has shrunk due my own emotional proximity to this particular tragedy, other worlds for other people may also have shrunk, or be shrinking now, due to their own emotional proximity to different tragedies.

And, in many ways, our tragedies are linked.

linked by racism – certain lives are worth more than other lives. by greed – the profit from a paper dollar is valued more than human lives and the earth’s beauty. by ignorance, and arrogance, and an accepted sense of defeat. we are linked by the same evils that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke: militarism, racism, and consumerism.

Our tragedies are linked. and as such, we need to make sure, in the midst of our pain, that our worlds remain linked, that our personal world not shrink.

I shall try.

I shall try.

and I shall remember:

Whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they’re going somewhere. Because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.” (Michael K. Honey, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign, pp. 422-423)

and I shall remember the words of Subcommandante Marcos:

“Because lack of freedom makes us the same
Because we are united in the racism we suffer within and across borders
Because the war they impose on us — on all of us — makes us comrades, companeros an companeras.
Because we no longer want this kind of world
Because we no longer want crime celebrated
Because we no longer want falsehood treated as a virtue
Because we no longer want others to impose their forms of being and thinking on us
We want to be free
And the only way to be free is to be so together. This is why we want to be free and in solidarity.
We won’t remain silent
We’ll stand fast.
We’ll struggle
We’ll build another world
A better one
One in which all worlds can fit.

And amidst it all, amidst it all, we – I – must find hope.

My student also told me today that he sees no point in changing anything he is doing. There is no point, he says. No point. But there is…



  1. After reading Mark Joyner’s ‘How to End the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict’ blog post I decided to create a global petition to rally support for his plan. Mark’s plan decidedly avoids pointing fingers at anyone – it only asks for 3rd party intervention to provide security for all of the innocent civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, and the surrounding Israeli towns – the vast majority of whom simply want to be left alone to live in peace. Please, sign our petition now!

  2. When this started in Gaza, your blog was the first one I looked for. I was one of the anti-war student protesters who had the privilege of meeting you back when I was at UNC.

    In any case, I’m not a big believer in detached, dispassionate discourses of any kind. I think injunctions to be more “objective” are often deployed as the weapons of the privileged, who can afford to be dispassionate about such matters because their lives aren’t being affected in any substantive way.

    Now reading the one-sided news from inside the US, I’m really relieved to have found that you have a blog.

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