9/14/06

Time and War, Poetry Africa and the Naked Emperor

Frustrated at the lack of time to do what I need to do--How do you divide up a day to practice sax, write, do business (including emails that proliferate quicker than rabbits), visit with friends, take care of family, house, errands, creative projects, workout, student/class stuff and dream?

Then I stall out.

Add jetlag.

Stacked on three days of lack of sleep.

It's not just me. I know others who add to that taking classes and raising small children. It could be worse, at least I am not walking in rags in drought with lack of food to feed my family, or running from militia or rapists who wait while the women go for water and wood. That's also an alternate and very real, reality.

I never thought I'd see the day of U.S. military takeover of private operations of the airlines. I saw this yesterday.

I flew from Albuquerque to Honolulu via Los Angeles. I hadn't flown since the ban on carrying liquids on planes. Getting on in Albuquerque wasn't bad. I bought water AFTER security, still had to throw it out though theoretically I bought it in a secure area. Go figure. There's no common sense at work here. (Reminds me of my bare feet being wanded "for security" after 9/11.)

In LA when the American Airlines personnel announced impending boarding about eight military men in camouflage descended to the gate. They set up a gauntlet of tables with plastic bins underneath and pulled on plastic gloves. When boarding was announced the ticket taker wasn't airline personnel, rather a soldier in uniform. Then each of us was searched for lipstick and toothpaste.

Think: COMMON SENSE.

I have a great respect for warriors. I have a great respect for what it means to sacrifice life so that others may have freedom. I respect the courage involved in facing mutilation and death.

This is not what's going on here. The young man who searched me was respectful, "doing his job". Last night as I sat out and looked at the stars I thought of him, and sent prayers for his life. He really cares for the country. Most of us do. Doesn't mean we agree with what is occuring in our names.

We attacked and took over a country. This country didn't attack us. I hesitate to say "we" as I didn't give my permission. But I'm implicated. We all are. I learned this when I visited Durban, South Africa a few years ago as a "guest" of Poetry Africa I wasn't properly introduced. I was introduced only as "American". Tension rippled through the auditorium. I was never given a chance to be heard for the audience turned against me at that moment. Being American marked me as a supporter of theft. It didn't help that I was never given a chance for proper introduction.

Everything was black and white. American or not. And though I was native I didn't look like the caricature in a headdress, the only image of American Indian I saw there, a logo for a popular fast food place. In that place I was American and responsible for the shameful behavior of the so-called leadership of this country. It was the most difficult moment of my performing life.

(And see, it still bothers me, despite the warm welcomes I've come to appreciate all over the world. I don't take them for granted anymore and have gratitude for the wonderful people I have met all over the world.

If we saw each other as human beings, rather than symbols, what would happen?

If other cultures were seen as viable and important as European cultures, what would happen?

If we realized that what is called progress is just consumerism in a new dress, what would happen?

If we listened wisdom and paid attention, what would happen?



The emperor is naked.

6 comments:

WHITEHORSE said...

YOU SAID IT, SISTER! I DO NOT MEAN TO ADD TOO MANY COMMENTS, TAKING UP SPACE THAT OTHERS MIGHT USE; HOWEVER THESE DAYS, I AM COMPELLED TO SPEAK OUT MUCH MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, AND WHEN I READ WORDS WHICH CONTAIN SUCH HONESTY AND CLARITY AS YOURS, TIME AND AGAIN, THEN I MUST ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR WISDOM.

IN THIS TIME WHEN THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS AS HUMAN BEINGS ARE GREATER THAN EVER IN OUR HISTORY, IT IS AMAZING HOW MANY CHOOSE TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO THE ATROCITIES OCCURING DAILY IN ALL OF OUR NAMES.

WE CAN WIPE OUR NON-HUMAN RELATIVES OUT OF EXISTENCE. WE CAN WATCH THE TEMPERATURE CONTINUE TO RISE.
WE CAN CONTINUE CENTURIES OF GENOCIDAL PRACTICES ALL OVER THE PLANET.
WE CAN SIT IN APATHY WHILE THE IMPERIALIST FORCES OF JUDEO-CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM BATTLE FOR WORLD DOMINATION, WITH NATIVE CULTURES USUALLY ALWAYS GETTING CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE.

YET, THESE THINGS DO NOT STIR OUR REPRESENTATIVES TO ACTION LIKE EARTH-SHATTERING EVENTS SUCH AS WHO CHOOSES TO COHABITATE.
IS IT ANY WONDER THAT SO FEW OPENLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE EMPEROR'S STUPIDITY, ER . . I MEAN, NUDITY.

IN THIS TIME WHEN WE HAVE SO MANY TOOLS FOR COMMUNICATION, FEWER THAN EVER, SEEM TO BE GETTING THE MESSAGE . . .
AND I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT TRYING TO FORCE PEOPLE TO CHANGE CORE BELIEFS (AS THE NEOFASCIST FUNDAMENTALISTS ON BOTH SIDES ARE TRYING TO DO).
I AM TALKING ABOUT WHAT YOU SAID - COMMON SENSE. HAS IT BECOME AN ALIEN CONCEPT?

THANK YOU AGAIN, SISTER, FOR CONTINUING TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS. MANY HAVE COMMENDED YOU FOR YOUR WONDERFUL TALENT, AS DO I; HOWEVER, AT THIS TIME, I MAINLY WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE, YOUR HONESTY AND COURAGE, AND I PRAY FOR YOU TO FIND EVER-FLOWING STRENGTH, AS SOME OF OUR GREATEST CHALLENGES STILL AWAIT.

WI-BTHAH-HAHN,

WHITEHORSE

one more survivor said...

I feel and have felt the anger, frustration, shame you expressed at the current situation. What can we do except continue to speak? I know it can be difficult and dangerous in the current climate. Your courage and wisdom give me hope. Your voice continues to be a bright spot like the light radiating from the throat of the morning glory you photographed. Thank you for continuing to speak.

BlueHorseFlying said...

Fear tactics...it's ok to have what freedoms we THOUGHT we had to be invaded, taken away..again...better than being hijacked and flown into tall buildings in a single bound. Or poisoned with pathogens and uranium..fried into concrete and stone shadows....
Hitlers allow Hitlers to commit atrocities..some were/are funded Hitlers...some turned into the villains..'THEY'are the Hitlers, the Custers, Chivingtons, Hitos,,,,to fear.
The song..Universal Soldier..plays in my mind..and heart..especially when i see and hear the 'news'....I pick up the guitar and sing along...individual consciousness must rise...or more fear... battlefields, genocide, and like sheep we are led to slaughter...again..others and ourselves.
I saw on the local news here about a woman who had to dump her babies milk that she pumped from her own breasts...no liquids allowed...I thought, she will have to feed her baby opening up her shirt...maybe in the chemical toilet room..so as not to offend others...or break a law...not everywhere can you breast feed in public.
Fear tactics lead to mass control..they have more weapons ready.

Grammysue said...

Could not find another way to contact Joy Harjo. You may already be familiar with the following, but I found it interesting.
From: "The Early Years" (1893-1911)"Enid and the Cherokee Strip" Vol I The Grayt Book Series, Edited by Robert N. Gray, 1999. Publ. The Sons and Daughters of the Cherokee Strip Pioneers Museum of the Cherokee Strip Enid, Oklahoma. Pg: 190. Chapter: The Year 1903.

'"December, 1903" "In an article in the Capital News of Okmulgee, Walter Harjo, a full blooded Creek Indian, says: "Why doesn't Congress allow us to become a state and make our own laws, or pass such laws as will protect us from the current class of swindlers. All we need now is remove the restrictions; protect us from the protector; rid us of the Dawes Commission; elevate us to the plane of full-grown manhood. Give us statehood, either single or double, and you will see the Indian Territory take her place among the proud galaxy of states."'

chilocco creek said...

we travel and we learn, i stood in las vegas yesterday, ready to offer assistance to some european travelers and their understanding of purchasing a monorail ticket, the elder lady asked if I was Native, Yes , I replied, her friend ahead of her was hurrying on, as my new friend yelled to her, look "a red Man" I'm not sure if I'm to call her White or English, I think her accent told me that. Her flesh was very very light, perhaps now I call her White. she was a women, so I guess White Women would be o.k.
......The skin colors they are many, the shades are bright or dull, the blood within is still that color, i see in speciman tubes and blood banks

not the color in movies or on t.v.,

when do we see each of us the way the Creator spoke, as one peoples , peoples that have different tounges and changing lifestyles , but still comomon in caring for one another and for each of our family, the family of mankind, the four legged the winged creatures, the swimmers the rocks the trees, have we learned from them, have we got a good walk, lets us share that walk.

dani said...

you speak to my heart!

so glad to have found you via "la vie en rose" site...

until minutes ago i did not even know of your existence...and now it seems i've found another sister...

very cool!!!!