I was born in 1975. There has not been one year in my life that has not been marked by war in Africa, Southwest Asia, or Eastern Europe. Not one year. Not one.
I don't know how to start today except to say that what's happening in Israel/Palestine/Lebanon/Syria right now is too much. There is no clearer evidence to me that divide and conquer tactics continue to operate in the favor of imperialism and corporate greed and profit. I received this email message today, from a family friend in Lebanon, which I will only excerpt here.
"Our neighborhood is spared until now... we pray it will continue like this... nevertheless we are hearing every sound ( of explosions that is) and seeing all the fires and smoke from not so far...The main Beirut area targeted by rockets is relatively far but the sound of the explosions is sometimes of big magnitude & unbearable. Yes we are stressed and afraid... for the least...I am sad to tell you that Lebanon is in very bad shape as you have seen on TV. The only places open in Achrafieh are the supermarkets, groceries and pharmacies, in other words food and medicine, we pray the blocus will not be long provoking shortages in basics needs. Not far from the house, four public schools are sheltering refugees fleeing the southern suburbs and south Beirut. This afternoon we heard that Israel threatened to attack the main electricity generators. If this happens, It will be a deadly blow which will result also in acute shortage of water supplies that depend fully on pumps in distributing stations."
Mainstream media sources, including sources in English, Spanish and French, continue in their biased coverage of these affairs. I am here in Altos de Chavon, writing, halfway around the world. To pretend that I am not affected by what is happening right now would be a lie to myself and to others. I am deeply affected, angered and pained by this useless and imperial war: a war that is not a "pre-emptive" war, but is based on state abuses of power nonetheless.
What's so ironic or intense is that I'm here, trying to do my best to create worlds where history is reconsidered, where things that seem normal are revisited, where I as a writer can explore the places of my deepest vulnerabilities and fears in order to best serve my craft and my vision, while all around me, the world is being destroyed one road/block/building/person at a time.
I write because I believe that fiction, poetry, art are a tool of the spirit and the people, because historically African peoples in the New World survived slavery through art; Native American peoples in the New World have survived genocide through art; people who know oppression in the deepest part of their memories, the memories inherited from our ancestors...we use art to ensure the survival of our secrets and ourselves, to embed our stories and spiritual powers in the subconscious, and to document our continued existence.
Let it be known, as things continue, that I do not support the on-going occupation of Palestine or these wars - the ones in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan or other territories currently being sought for occupation. I also will not support the collapse of this war into a platform for anti-Semitism or anti-Arab racism. There is a profound difference between a people and a state. Let us not forget this, either.
I pray that all the peoples trapped by war do not suffer more than they have at this moment, every day, I pray for this. I place my heart, my mind, my body and my pen at the service of creation, a vision and the actions necessary for a world of love, peace, healing and humanity.