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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The death of innocents and the death of innocence.

I feel the need to share this.  J. Michael Straczynski originally wrote these words in Amazing Spider-Man (v2) #36.  That issue came out mere weeks after the 9/11 attacks.  From the first time I read them I have cherished these words.  All 9/11 references have been removed by JMS.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you the following special bulletin.

Follow the sound of sirens.

Some things are beyond words.
Beyond forgiveness.
Beyond comprehension.
Because only madmen could contain the thought, execute the act.
The sane world will always be vulnerable to madmen
because we cannot go where they go to conceive of such things.

Even those we thought our enemies are moved. 
Because some things surpass rivalries and borders.
Because the story of humanity is written in tears.
In the common coin of blood and bone.
In the voice that speaks within even the worst of us, and says "This is not right."

Also here are those who face danger without fear or armor.
Those who step into the darkness without assurances of ever walking out again,
because they know there are others waiting in the dark.
Awaiting salvation.
Awaiting word.
Awaiting justice.

Ordinary men. 
Ordinary women.
Made extraordinary by acts of compassion.
And courage.
And terrible sacrifice.

Ordinary men. 
Ordinary women.
Refusing to surrender.

Ordinary men.
Ordinary women.
Refusing to accept the self-serving proclamations of holy warriors of every stripe, 
who announce that somehow we had this coming. 

We reject them in the knowledge that our tragedy is greater than the sum of our transgressions.

There are no words.
There are no words.

The death of innocents and the death of innocence.
Rage compounded upon rage. Rage enough to blot out the sun.
And the air still filled with questions.

“Is it going to happen again? 
What do I tell my children? 
Why did this happen?”

What do we tell the children?
Do we tell them the evil is a foreign face?
No. The evil is the thought behind the face, and it can look just like yours.

Do we tell them evil is tangible, with defined borders and names and geometries and destinies?
No. They will have nightmares enough.

Perhaps we tell them that we are sorry.
Sorry that we were not able to deliver unto them the world we wished them to have. 
That our eagerness to shout is not the equal of our willingness to listen.

Or perhaps we simply tell them that we love them, and that we will protect them. 
That we would give our lives for theirs and do it gladly, so great is
the burden of our love.

In a universe of Xboxes and Itunes, it is, perhaps, an insubstantial gift. 
But it is the only one that will wash away the tears 
and knit the wounds 
and make the world a sane place to live in.

We could not see it coming. 
No one could. 
We could not stop it. 
No one could.
But we are still here. With you. 
Today. Tomorrow. And the day after.

We live in each blow you strike for infinite justice, 
but always in the hope of infinite wisdom.

When you move, we will move with you. 
Where you go, we will go with you. 
Where you are, we are in you.

Because the future belongs to ordinary men and ordinary women, 
and that future must be built free of such acts as these, 
must be fought for and renewed like fresh water.

Because a message must be sent to those who mistake compassion for weakness. 
A message sent across six thousand years of recorded blood and struggle.
And the message is this:

Whatever our history, whatever the root of our surnames, 
we remain a good and decent people 
and we do not bow down and we do not give up.

The fire of the human spirit cannot be quenched by bomb blasts or body counts.
Cannot be intimidated forever into silence or drowned by tears. 

We have endured worse before; we will bear this burden and all that come after,
because that's what ordinary men and women do. 
We persevere.
No matter what.

This has not weakened us.
It has only made us stronger.

In recent years we as a people have been 
tribalized and factionalized 
by a thousand casual unkindnesses.

But in this we are one.

Flags sprout in uncommon places, the ground made fertile by tears and shared resolve.

We have become one in our grief.
We are now one in our determination.
One as we recover.
One as we rebuild.

You wanted to send a message, and in so doing 
you awakened us from our self-involvement.
Message received.
Look for your reply in the thunder.

In such days as these are heroes born. 
The true heroes of the twenty-first century.
You, the human being singular.
You, who are nobler than you know and stronger than you think.
You, the heroes of this moment chosen out of history.

We stand blinded by the light of your unbroken will. 
Before that light, no darkness can prevail.

In their memory, draft a covenant with your conscience, 
that we will create a world in which such things need not occur.

A world which will not require apologies to children, but also a world whose
roads are not paved with the husks of their inalienable rights.

Graft now their echo onto your spine. 
Become girders and glass, stone and steel, 
so that when the world sees you, it sees them. 

And stand tall.

Stand tall.

Stand tall. 

J. Michael Straczynski

1 comment:

Sara Gray said...

JMS hit the nail on the head here. I think this is the most appropriate response I've seen from anyone about what happened yesterday (and believe me, I've been seeing a LOT on the book of face in the past 24 hours).