Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Faces of the Lost

I know many days have slid by since my last letter to you all. Part of me is still witnessing the asylum seekers boat that was allowed to crash against the crushing rocks of Christmas Island at the end of last year. There on our shiny television screens, we watched as a wooden boat was pounded again and again into the deadly shore, we could see faces first on the wooden boat and then in the water, we could see a child's hand rising out of the surging surf, and then sinking below the waters, we watched people fleeing the hardships of Iraq loose their lives on a coast without a heart. Travellers haunted by a history we brought to them, a war we bragged about, as if it would be a display of fireworks, and then the long years of a country's degradation, crashing into the hopeless lack of a country's will to make arrival something one can survive. So many countries of the affluent world fearing the breach of their borders, the endangering of who they think they are, the loss of cultural purity, and so the haunted ones die in the waters, in the sands, under the trucks, die at the foot of walls and fences--oh what a time this is when I can watch, in bright color, women and men and children sinking under the weight of their exile from human care, when I can hear their cries and then their silences. We too, the ones in shock and disbelieve at what we are seeing, are also slowly, slowly losing ourselves in these waters, at the borders, before the walls; what we work so hard to protect from the desperate becomes our own prison of joyless security.

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