Friday, May 6

People Are Beautiful

- Youssou N'Dour Feat. Neneh Cherry—"7 Seconds"

I dreamt about Osama bin Laden last night.  I can't recall the details of the dream, but I do remember the terror and sadness that pervaded the dream.  When I started to wake up, in a twilight half-sleep, I heard a crash and the breaking of glass.  The terror had followed me from my dream to my half reality.

My husband and I held each other, waiting for more noise and more information and I realized what happened.  I had placed one of my fractal collage pictures on a shelf in the bathroom yesterday.  It was a beautiful blue spiral fractal superimposed on a palm tree photo taken by my son and I loved it.  I had leaned it against the wall and even then, I wondered if it might fall.  Once I figured out what had happened, I calmed my husband and went to see the damage.  The picture had fallen on the floor and in the fall, it broke a beautiful "sleeping cherub" snow globe that I cherished.  Nothing else was harmed.  The picture's glass was fine, but the fragile glass of the globe was shattered.  Glittery water sparkled amongst the glass shards and wrecked porcelain.  I cleaned it all up as quietly as I could while my husband and the rest of the family slept in peace.  Things could go back to normal.  The terror that my mind had manufactured and amplified receded like a dark tide.  It was there, but not here.

What was that all about, I wondered.  I seldom have vivid dreams and rarely do I remember nightmares.  Then I remembered that I had read two things about Osama bin Laden last night before I went to bed.

One was the "clarification" of the Dali Lama's comments yesterday when he was asked about the killing of bin Laden and replied that,  "Forgiveness doesn't mean forget what happened. ... If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures."

The second commentary I read is by Chris Hedges, the author of one of my favorite books, "Losing Moses on the Freeway."  His commentary is the most disturbing, because he cuts through the nationalistic fist pumping of the media and gives some perspective and scale to this killing.  He articulates the relief I feel that this terrorist is gone, and also articulates the ambivalence I feel about the way he was destroyed.

These thoughts were percolating in my brain last night and I am still trying to sort out my feelings.  I know that because of bin Laden, terrorism is now ingrained in American life.  I know that America can and does do terrible things to good people because of this terrorism.  I see tiny fissures in America's facade exposing powerful fault lines, ready to pull apart and separate us from each other with each terror quake.  I know it is inevitable that a jolt of hate either from within the country or without it will cause shifts, changes, crashes, damage, the loss of something cherished in my lifetime.  The glittering lifeblood of our democratic ideals is already leaking out of these fissures because terror is at our heart now, not courage.  I am sad that we must grow up and live among people that do not value what we cherish.  How do we do this?

Are we humble enough, clear headed enough, compassionate enough to see through burkas, head dresses, tank tops, gang signs, all of the different trappings of survival on this planet, to the people we must live with.  Maybe, as we grow tired of the rhetoric of terror, we will clean up the damage and really look at what we have and realize we, the people, are responsible for the nature that nurtures.  If we persist in demonizing and hating and separating ourselves we will perish.  People are beautiful.  We are connected and must find philosophies, ideologies, governments that support these connections.  Dreams are strange and disturbing things.

May all beings know love and peace.