I don't know what to say, but a space must at least be made here in which not to be able to say it. When a disaster gets too large, my mind just kicks it out of range instinctively. An effort must be made to reel it back in. Oh, damn. Damn. I have to correct myself. When a disaster is too large and too far away (read: in a non-Western country), that's when my mind seems willing to let it drift into outer space without more than perfunctory consideration. What a vapid and ugly fact. So then I have to find some part of myself that has a small pincer's grip on humanity and compassion and awakeness, and put it in charge.
It feels like this small, not-insane part of myself is like a feeble subsitute teacher in a classroom full of hostile, apathetic high school students with ADD. The kids are just back from lunch and they're either stoned to the gills or zooming around on Red Bull. Plus, it's the substitute's first day ever on the job, and also the substitute has no lesson plan. The substitute is also physically unprepossessing and dressed unfashionably. Pale, a little sweaty. Hair unfortunate. Small voice. Not resonant. Also, the class is large. Fifty kids at a minimum.
Okay, the subject is massive human loss of life and also buried xenophobia. Hit it, sub.
Yeah, so that's what it feels like, and I don't even think the substitute is writing this post. I think at best we have a mildly sympathetic student in charge of this entry. Massive loss of life. Oh, yeah....that sucks. Totally, I bet it sucks. But, um, I have a magazine here on my desk, I want to read it. It's got, um, hairstyles in it. And famous people.
Hundreds of children crushed to death in a school. I don't want to understand. I don't want to understand. I don't want to understand. All Finns. All Finns. Everyone killed by the cyclone, no matter the age, all Finns. Everyone left alive. The old woman in Myanmar who was given a blanket for a photo op, only to have it taken away from her again when the cameras were gone. And then someone else tried to give her a blanket later and she was too afraid to accept it. She couldn't go through having it taken away again. An old, female Finn. Infinitely precious. Grief to infinity times so many thousands. Not vice versa. I want the picture of thousands of little dark silhouettes of people each alone under an enormous starry sky, facing infinity in the form of sorrow. I don't know what I'm saying and I don't care, I'm just trying to say something, I don't know what I'm doing, I'm not the teacher or the student, I have no plan. I'm just opening my mouth and making a sound.
I have no idea what I'm doing. I don't know the good way to crack myself open for this.
A Drastic Remedy: The case for intervention in Burma
'No Hope' for Children Buried in Earthquake"