Saturday, August 12, 2006

What's Real and What's Actual

Somewhere, tucked in the microscopic cells of my brain, the daily minutae of my life are, I thoroughly believe, are somehow entertainment for some higher being. Either that, or I need to address this inescapable need to somehow take the boring tasks which fill my day and put them on a grand(er) scale.

The last few days have been blurry -- and no, I'm not referring to needing to change out my extended wear lenses. Lots has been happening, but most of what's been happening is deadline-induced excitement at work or the random stuff I get done when I'm a) conscious and b) not in the office. Mainly, it's been a lot of work stuff and a lot of coming home/passing out. The weather's been relatively agreeable, so that hasn't been too much of an issue; it's just the question of having lots to do and not much time in which to accomplish it.

Of course, the biggest thing on the reality menu is the revelation that al-Qaeda was/is plotting to blow up airliners traveling from the UK to the US. That's an actual; the real part, of course, is the tandem of knowing that one day we will be prohibited from bringing anything with us on an airplane. On the one hand, people have decried the fact they can no longer bring hair gel, toothpaste, perfume/cologne and contact lens solution with them on a plane. However, since they can bring these things with them -- stowed under the cabin in the belly of the plane -- it's not quite the monumental inconvenience as was originally suggested.

That's not to say, of course, that this isn't another chink in the collective armor of nations who don't train children to be suicide bombers and martyrs. Is this latest non-incident significant? Pretty much. Is it somewhat disconcerting? Absolutely. Is it going to mean air travel as we know it will hereafter be an awful, dreadful experience we must endure if we will ever go anywhere for business, pleasure or both? Not particularly. I'm still eager to fly westward to San Fran in a month or two, and hopefully Kaia will be landing here within a few weeks. I think, basically, that this entire situation has been a bit overblown, but the key to understanding the situation is acknowledging that there will never be another day when some number of radical muslims don't concoct new ways of attacking the West.

On that note, I was downtown this afternoon driving around between a few different destinations; normally I'm on foot, but today I took the car and was going from place to place as expeditiously as possible. As I head west on Fulton Street to the water, I came upon Ground Zero, and while -- with the trailer for Oliver Stone's "WTC" somewhere in my head -- I recall 9/11, I also noticed the whole site had become a combination of a tourist attraction and a mini-mall. There were people selling American flags, USA t-shirts, America bumper stickers, and hot dogs and pretzels. And what I noticed, for better or worse, was that the majority of people who were selling this crap -- to mostly people from outside the metro area, natch -- were from other countries and other cultures. Unfortunately, I did not fail to notice the irony.

The more things change, the more things remain the same.

There's more happening and I'm sure I'll head back here soon; for a change, however, I figured I'd be brief, to the point, and get out leaving the audience wanting more.

Or less -- I'm not completely sure.

But when and if I am, I'll be sure and let you know.

3 comments:

LisaBinDaCity said...

I'm SO confused ;-)

Come back soon!

Kelly said...

If I may, I'd like to talk a little bit more about our differing opinions.

First of all, please do not insinuate that, because I post an "anonymous" posting on your 'blog, that I wish to be anonymous. I simply don't have a web presence as sophisticated as your own. I would be more than happy to exchange email addresses with you, but I don't want my email address posted on a website. Also, I don't want to be equated with a swastika-weilding, white hood-wearing member of some hateful organization. I think that was unfair for you to suggest, all because I don't have a
website to link to. You can still have the courage of your convictions even if you don't have a 'blog.

I have been influenced by many of my dearest friends on this issue.
Several of them have lived in Palestine, and grown up there, in Ramallah and the West Bank. They aren't martyrs or suicide bombers. They (and I) are pacifists. That means that we do not condone the use of force or violence in any situation. It gives me faith in the strength of the human spirit that I know these
amazing people who have grown up in such terrifying and adverse conditions that they can come out of it wanting peace and working for peace. Their stories, told to me in person and read in countless emails and missives over the years, in articles in magazines or told over pints of beer, break my
spirit. They have told me about many, many confrontations with Israeli tanks and Israeli soldiers. They haven't known such basic freedoms as travelling to a jobsite or back home again without having to go through checkpoints staffed by angry guards with heavy guns and hair-trigger, jittery nerves. I read about tanks breaking into refugee camps, intimidation beyond anything I could ever imagine and the possibility of being locked up and never being told why. When I hear of injustice in this world, in this day and age, on this scale--injustice that my country ignores (at best) and supports (at worst), I have feelings of tremendous guilt. If I am not part of the solution, I have to part of the problem, right? This is just a small part of what I have learned. Their experiences are such a small part of living in the Arab world. Just the other day, one of my dearest friends was struck by the butt of an Israeli rifle. She watched members of the peaceful organization she is volunteering for being beaten right in front of her. She watches from Nablus, or from the West Bank and has the same thought that I do, a million miles away in New York as I watch on the television screen: the Israeli bombs look like a laser light show. People dying looks like a laser light show.

So that is where I stand. Not so much as an anonymous member of a hate group, but as a citizen of a world gone very very bad and a world that is growing more and more terrifying every single day.

Peace, Shalom, Salaam,
Kelly

Boogie said...

LOL...sorry to confuse, Lisa...and as you can see, my quick stage left exit was very quickly followed up by a stage left entrance ;)