In the dark times shall there be singing?
There will be singing about the dark times.
Day 3 Update – January 10, 2011
Wednesday afternoon, we began a ceremony of grieving at the Museum of Native American History Museum, with the song:
‘Earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath, fire, my spirit.’
We then processed, singing and carrying flowers, to the Senate Park where the largest immigration support rally occurred just a month ago.
We remembered the long history of violence and oppression in the US and our hopes, from ending Islamophobia to ‘justice for the hills and rivers’.
Even this week we hear in the news more stories of violence intensifying: the loss of protective status for Salvadoran refugees and, that very afternoon, immigration raids on dozens of convenience stores.
Wise leaders among us sense that grieving is fundamental to the emotional life of nonviolence, as John Dear tells us in a passage read for our ritual.
We need to make grief a regular part of our daily meditation. Grief needs to become a way of life for us. For the millions of impoverished people in the world –from El Salvador to Chile to Malawi to South Africa to India and the Philippines–this is an old lesson. The indigenous peoples of the world have long practiced grief. But wealthy first world people, especially North Americans, do not know how to grieve. We presume this is a morbid practice. In fact, it is a way toward healing and comfort, as those who care for the human family and the earth show us.
The practice of grief allows the compassion within us to breathe and stretch, and the possibilities of universal love to grow within and among us. If we learn to grieve regularly, we will awaken to our common humanity, expand our hearts, widen our compassion, and discover new horizons of peace.
For some the grief was personal, raw and recent. Afterwards, one member remarked that the ritual helped her fold her personal loss into the suffering outside our doors and borders. Our breaking hearts are strengthened for the work.
We ended with a litany: We are grieving, we are sorry, let us hope. You may find the litany at the end of this message.
There Is a Man Under That Hood: book launch
Wednesday evening, at the Impact Hub down the street we held a book launch event. WAT’s new book, There is a Man Under That Hood, features Luke Nephew’s poem by the same name, accompanied by photos taken or curated by Justin Norman. The afterword is written by Omar Farah, staff attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights.
Many of you will remember Luke’s spoken word performance of the title poem in front of the DOJ on a snowy, cold J11 in 2011. See it again at this link.
The book’s arresting photos provide us with a moving record of our work over the years. As Omar Farah writes in the books afterword:
WAT has been fearless in giving voice to the prisoners’ lived experiences. WAT has honored the prisoners’ humanity, even when the government cynically vilified them, and it has unflinchingly stood as witness to their suffering, even when the world’s attention turned away.
Learn more and order a copy at this link.
Yet another J11
It’s early in the morning on January 11th, as we write this message. Can it be yet another J11 that we must come together? Today we mark 16 years since the first prisoners were brought to Guantanamo. We join with a coalition of 15 organizations to rally at the White House at 11:30 am.
At 9:30 this morning, CCR will be livestreaming a morning press conference from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where they will announce a significant new filing challenging Guantánamo under Trump.
At 2:30 this afternoon, a panel entitled Guantanamo Under Trump, moderated by Peter Bergen, will take place at New America, 740 15th St., NW, Suite 900. Featured speakers will be Andy Worthington, Karen Greenberg, and Thomas Wilner.
In closing, we offer you the litany we used in Wednesday’s grieving ritual. Together may we find strength for this journey.
A Litany: We are mourning. We are sorry. Let us hope
Response: We are mourning
From the arrogance of power….
From the tyranny of greed
From the politics of hypocrisy
From the addiction of control
From the idolatry of national security
From the cancer of hatred
From the hysteria of nationalism
From the sin of racism
From the sin of sexism
From the sin of torture
From the sin of war
From the waste and preparation of war
Response: We are sorry.
For our hardness of the heart….
For wasting our gifts
For wanting too much
For wounding the earth
For ignoring the poor
For trusting in weapons
For refusing to listen
For exporting arms
For desiring dominance
For lacking humility
For failing to risk
For failing to trust
For failing to act
For failing to hope
For failing to love
For failing to negotiate
For our arrogance
For our impatience
For our pride
For our silence
Response: Let us hope
That we learn compassion…
That we embrace nonviolence
That we act in justice
That we live in hope
That we do your will
That we love our enemies
That we strive to be peacemakers
That we live simply
That we practice sharing
That we protect the earth
That we cherish all life