12 September 2012

Fallen empires

My horoscope warned me this morning that I must always remember that I don't live in a vacuum. It's something that I remind myself of quite frequently, especially as I write here. Everything has repercussions and I am conscious of my responsibility to myself, my subject matter and my audience. Not that I am able to gauge every action and reaction and consequence, and occasionally, I'm taken by surprise at how some things are taken. Fortunately, it's always been benign; who knew that posting a photo of an old pair of Birkenstocks would take the web by storm.

Would that others thought as carefully of their actions.

I was reading the news over my morning coffee, which was how I learned of the killing of Christopher Stevens, US Ambassador to Libya; Sean Smith of the State Department; and two other US diplomats in Benghazi.

From what I've read of him today, Stevens wasn't interested in living in a vacuum and made a point of getting out onto the streets of the places where he served in the diplomatic service. He appears to have been well-regarded by the Libyans, many of whom were photographed today holding up signs apologizing for his death and proclaiming him a friend.

It is heartbreaking that the work of fools--and I'm not speaking here of just the terrorists who were directly involved in the attack, but also of the terrorists who fomented it--can bring down good work. Stupid, thoughtless fools with stupid, thoughtless agendas.

We all have agendas. We raise our children with our agendas, something that was brought home to me today, when the son forwarded me a polite email he'd received from his college that noted information about his ethnicity was missing from his file.

"THIS," he wrote me.

Yes, that. That which I taught him and his sister: certainly we are all different and that's fine, but at the end of the list and the end of the differences, we are all human and that is, ultimately, the only label that matters. To say otherwise? Vacuum.

So, that. And that a man had to stand on a Libyan street today holding a sign that read "Sorry People of America this is not the behavior of our Islam and Prophet."

But also that the life, perhaps more than the death, of another man moved him to do so.

Go listen to some good music: "Fallen Empires" from the album Fallen Empires by Snow Patrol. There but for the grace of God.

No comments: