Never Never Never Call That Man a Peacemaker ….

Big Bad Wolves and outsized monsters stayed away from my childhood nightmares.  Instead, the gold streaked waters I played in by day transmuted into a murderous tidal wave and the ginger puppy from the house next store behaved as a sharp toothed executioner.  Still, a few deep breaths, re-orientation and peaceful slumber could be attained.

The fear and dread that lingered I encountered in the light of day.  Just briefly, the hateful screed of Ian Paisley accosted, until my parents, too late aware, ruffled, banished me to some safe spot. There the demon’s words, so sinister and malign, fertilized the seed of fear already in the Philadelphia air for those of color. Hate: dangerous new form of  speech, tactile, palpable in those times.   Mephistopheles had spoken.

To grow, to hope, to change. A narrative available to the most undeserving.

And so,  Paisley died a man saluted for a change of heart.  Cameras captured images: his hands outstretched and grasping the hands of those he had zealously christened “vermin”- their hands now  undistinguishable from his own.

So long as his was the titular “First” seat in government, above the “bloodthirsty monsters,” his colossal ego was soothed, his vanity sated. In the waning years of his turbulent public pursuits, he fashioned a more seemly costume.  Though who can judge his madness, his mission?”

The statesmen, and almost all men they are, call him Peacemaker,” Charismatic,” ” Shrewd,”Loved Elder Statesmana “Big Man with a Big Heart.”

And a big, venomous voice .  So many hearts long ago stopped beating in the conflagration of petrol bombs. More pump blood still through weary veins of bodies mutilated by the Troubles. And watch those impassive, static hearts maimed with the words bellowed long ago to a believing mind,  passed down to child, then to the grandchild, growing in the quartered streets still looking for the halcyon days long promised…

True, better that the thunder of his voice ceased its eternal shaming, vicious speech.  True, that voice  awakened the righteous that those  condemned   at dawn for faith or color or choice of loving partner could be freed from hate  and vitriol come sundown should  the zealots  by mere happenstance decree some new prey more worthy of pursuit. True, a hand stretched out in peace, however late, no longer fells or wounds those in its path.

But Never, Never, Never call that man a peacemaker.

http://www.blogsbywomen.org/2013-10-05 05.41.142014-08-18 16.35.29

What Reconciliation Looks Like on Film

                                                           

                 The Past is never behind us.                                                                                          Robert Bolaño, The Part About Critics

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.                                                                                         Eleanor Roosevelt                 

                                                                                      

April accepts longer hours of sunlight,conceding with ambivalence cold winds will warm and whisper life into the dead and barren trees.  The hillside regards the once frozen canal which, halting, softens until the sepia waters offer sanctuary once again to tadpoles, turtles and walleye and permit refreshment to geese and songbirds returned for summer.  Bordering ridges  carpeted with shaggy bits of lifeless foliage  spawn shocks of color: purple, pink, yellow: Violet, Sorrel, Thistle, Milkweed, Phlox, Anemone. The sound of life is silken, subtle, an orchestration  at once unpracticed and sublime.  Springtime perfumes with intoxicating simplicity.  The moment offers unconstrained contentment.  Spring absolves  past cruelties of other seasons, nurturing life, generous, assured.

Traffic on the street fractures contentment. The horn shivers theatrically down the small town street.  Shoppers tote packages marked with identification:    “I am expensive,” “I am chic,” “I  am  used goods.”  Cell phones supplant conversation between partners and among families as the time for the excursion concludes.  Acquaintances smile at one another across the asphalt, and then each one quickly demonstrates preoccupation and turns away.

The radio names yet another aggrieved person, fallen victim to the endless cycle of domination for the right or might of the Other group guided by religion, wealth, nationality, political philosophy  or control of land. Justice is reported denied by protesters on the corner who demand a life sentence, not twenty years, for the convict who drunkenly extinguished the life of the child.  A vast  amount of dollars are awarded to the survivors whose river land was despoiled  by thick, black  oil.

The actor struggles to contain a rage which contorts the handsome face that fills the screen.  Provincialism spawning shame he could acknowledge.  Shame punished as a crime he could not accept.   For crime committed against the shamed, he would have vengeance.  The greater retribution as the outrage is compounded by deceit.

Philomena privately recalls  the  precise contours of  her injury.  Its depth, its size, its never-ending pain.  She shields herself as a simple-minded woman.  Her full heart accepts a world she has never known.  She apprehends that her son, too, endured ritualized shamining to protect the power of those in charge.  She possesses her experience, her pain and her trauma as her personal history which no other can apprehend nor own.  This empowers her to confer forgiveness upon  her aggressors.  She chooses to move beyond the moment of her loss.

Philomena’s story is not one of reconciliation.  It is a story of a woman’s power to regenerate against all odds.

 

Forgiveness

                                                           

                 The Past is never behind us.                                                                                          Robert Bolaño, The Part About Critics

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.                                                                                         Eleanor Roosevelt                 

                                                                                      

April accepts longer hours of sunlight,conceding with ambivalence cold winds will warm and whisper life into the dead and barren trees.  The hillside regards the once frozen canal which, halting, softens until the sepia waters offer sanctuary once again to tadpoles, turtles and walleye and permit refreshment to geese and songbirds returned for summer.  Bordering ridges  carpeted with shaggy bits of lifeless foliage  spawn shocks of color: purple, pink, yellow: Violet, Sorrel, Thistle, Milkweed, Phlox, Anemone. The sound of life is silken, subtle, an orchestration  at once unpracticed and sublime.  Springtime perfumes with intoxicating simplicity.  The moment offers unconstrained contentment.  Spring absolves  past cruelties of other seasons, nurturing life, generous, assured.

Traffic on the street fractures contentment. The horn shivers theatrically down the small town street.  Shoppers tote packages marked with identification:    “I am expensive,” “I am chic,” “I  am  used goods.”  Cell phones supplant conversation between partners and among families as the time for the excursion concludes.  Acquaintances smile at one another across the asphalt, and then each one quickly demonstrates preoccupation and turns away.

The radio names yet another aggrieved person, fallen victim to the endless cycle of domination for the right or might of the Other group guided by religion, wealth, nationality, political philosophy  or control of land. Justice is reported denied by protesters on the corner who demand a life sentence, not twenty years, for the convict who drunkenly extinguished the life of the child.  A vast  amount of dollars are awarded to the survivors whose river land was despoiled  by thick, black  oil.

The actor struggles to contain a rage which contorts the handsome face that fills the screen.  Provincialism spawning shame he could acknowledge.  Shame punished as a crime he could not accept.   For crime committed against the shamed, he would have vengeance.  The greater retribution as the outrage is compounded by deceit.

Philomena privately recalls  the  precise contours of  her injury.  Its depth, its size, its never-ending pain.  She shields herself as a simple-minded woman.  Her full heart accepts a world she has never known.  She apprehends that her son, too, endured ritualized shamining to protect the power of those in charge.  She possesses her experience, her pain and her trauma as her personal history which no other can apprehend nor own.  This empowers her to confer forgiveness upon  her aggressors.  She chooses to move beyond the moment of her loss.

Philomena’s story is not one of reconciliation.  It is a story of a woman’s power to regenerate against all odds.