April 20, 2013— So much anger and hatred exist in the world. It seems someone or some group is always on a crusade. Some, bearing standards, ride horses across continents. Others tote pressure cookers, setting off bombs along a racecourse. I raise my pen and write, bidding my instrument be more incisive than a sword, that it serve towards enlightening a mind rather than eliminating a head or limbs. What good would the latter do, anyway? In the long run you’d be the only one left standing – which would be O.K., I suppose, if you were a misanthrope.
Over the course of the five-day pursuit of the Boston Marathon bombers, I have watched the news and observed reactions on television and across the Internet. Understandably, these traumatic events produce pressure and cause stress. Throughout these days I have tried to move through the stress, neither to add to it nor to be receptive to it. I’m not very good at this. But I am aware of its polarities; I think about it; I correct my thinking on those occasions I catch it headed off to join either opposing team. This awareness ushers me one more step closer to the finish line. It takes long; I stumble often; I get thrown out of religions, like I get thrown out of stores, like my ancestor may have gotten thrown out of England. My experiences lend credence to the rumor about my ancestor; although, unlike he, I don’t fool around with the lord of the manor’s daughter, I go straight for the lord of the manor. This last sentence is metaphoric. Or, maybe I did go for the lord of the manor – and got thrown out. This is why I write “The Scheherazade Chronicles” (check out my Facebook page), my tales to save the maidens from certain death at the hands of this particular lord of the manor, the maidens in this case being humanity.
These last few lines may make you think I’ve gone over the edge. One of the fun things about being a writer is that you can go over the edge. I love that freedom of imagination, that freedom to create my world as I desire it, if only on a sheet of paper. But, think … if I can conjure up all these images in my head, reeling out like a whole movie – one with a happy ending, then why cannot I and the rest of us create the worlds of our lives to be such. When I was young, I read Emma’s childhood book Tales of the Arabian Nights. It is a beautiful book, with a forest green cover and colorful illustrative plates throughout the glossy pages. This book lit my imagination as campfires illuminate the tents beneath a deep sapphire sky.
The camels are restless. I have to surrender my ego as best I can in order to wrap my mind around recent events. This week I’ve heard individuals saying things like, “I HATE that person. He or she should fall into a deep pit of snakes with a pressure cooker nailed to his stomach and a Catherine wheel rolling down the center of her body.” Vivid imagery. I heard the Marathon bombers’ father and aunt say Americans framed their boys. The family are Chechen, admitting that in Chechnya they have to move around and be watchful to slip between agencies, whom, by a word or deed, they may offend. Well, if you spent most of your life in such a police state as Chechnya, might you not react likewise? Who would influence you?
I heard that the older brother of the two bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, shot dead by police this week, had stated that the media conditions everyone. I don’t recall the exact quote. The media can condition you, if you let it. It is easy to allow yourself to get lulled into a trance in front of your TV or the Internet, especially, it seems, by social media. I try to avoid too much screen time, but I get sucked in, too, sometimes. As some comedian said, “Ve must be wigilant!” (If you remember who the comedian is, let me know, please.)
It may be of note that Edgar Allan Poe wrote an epic poem titled “Tamerlane.” It was first published in 1827 in the collection Tamerlane and Other Poems,” not credited with Poe’s name, but rather by “A Bostonian.” In his poem, Poe has Tamerlane sacrifice his young love for a peasant girl in order to gain power. On his deathbed, Tamerlane regrets his decision to create a kingdom in exchange for a broken heart, his love’s beauty now in his mind but “shadows on th’ unstable wind.”
How was it that Ambition crept,
Unseen, amid the revels there,
Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
In the tangles of Love’s very hair?
Isn’t that always the way. Making reparations in this regard means just more stuff to untangle in the next lifetime.
Tamerlane owned the Silk Road. Tamerlane is the Latinized name for the Turkic ruler, Timur – Timur the Lame, the Persians called him – (April 9, 1336-February 18, 1405). He conquered West, South and Central Asia. Timur means iron, and he referred to himself as “The Sword of Islam.” He was a great patron of art and architecture. He walked with a limp, because half his body was paralyzed.
We never know what moment we may tread upon the fringe of a dark magic and all the rich colors of today be pulled out from under us.
My thoughts and prayers are for all those who suffered losses from the Boston Marathon bombing. I wish them well and in the future, at the very least, all of the good that has come to me.
As for those two young men, those brothers who set the bombs, I can only feel great sadness and compassion. I cannot hate them, because I don’t know – I do not know their karma, their history, their needs, and the complex interrelationships with all affected by this tragedy. This is well beyond the scope of my little mind.
I really enjoyed your article and the reasons that you gave for nor being able to hate. As an expatriate living outside of the United States of America who is also a believing Christian, I don’t hate either. I tend to shun away from the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth philosophy. Sure those young men were wrong, but hating them doesn’t make it any better because it destroys your life and not the lives of those who committed the crime.
My prayers go out to the bereaved families and to those who are injured. Their lives have changed tremendously and I pray that they find the strength to move on and continue living.
I’m not an eye-for-an-eye person, either, Patricia. I don’t think I ever have been. That doesn’t mean I condone what they did, but it’s not going to do me any good to “get even.” Ditto all that you’ve said here. My prayers, too, are for the bereaved families and those injured. I pray they find the strength.
Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my post. I know how busy you are. Do get some sleep sometime. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband, as well.
You’ve given me a lot to think about, Samantha. I like your bringing Poe’s ‘Tamerlane” in — it adds a whole other dimension to your post and a powerful one.
I like texture, T.J. — enter Poe. And I have always savored the name Tamerlane as poetic. It just kind of rolls off the tongue (in most cases). The name and his story woven along the Silk Road are so exotic — like the song goes, “Far away places with strange sounding names….” Poe’s poem, written now almost two centuries ago, shows that human nature does not change (unless the human works at it). How paradoxical that what is so intoxicatingly exotic is also so appallingly horrid. Indeed a lot to think about.
Thank you for suggesting compassion. That may be what is missing all the way around.
And, thank you for writing truthfully.
For me, R., compassion is this simple — I always have at least one foot stuck in the sh*t somewhere. –And I hope someone will understand, be patient and not judge. I hope to treat others the same.
Ever, “Carrie” 🙂
Lovely post thank you Samantha, interweaving current with historical events. Love the EAP..thank you. I’m glad you haven’t joined the chorus of haters who wished those 2 brothers fire and brimstone – we don’t know their stories, yet.and it just adds to the pile of hate. But yes it was amazing and wonderful how Boston rose to the occasion and captured them .. Bravo!
Yes, Bravo, Boston! –And to all those involved, from first responders to families to capturers. Thank you, Susan.
It is wonderful being a writer. We get to say what others are afraid to. We are their voices. It is an awesome gift and even more awesome responsibility.
In our free nations, yes, Val. The ability to write is an awesome gift, one I feel obligated to share, albeit being watchful that this sharing is an awesome responsibility. And I am thankful for the opportunity to avail myself of our fourth estate.
Yes, the entire bombing is such a sad story. It leaves me desolate, feeling there is no hope for our world sometimes. I suggest you use your delightful imagination and create a NEW PEACEFUL WORLD for us… please!!! 😉
I wish I could, Gwynn. I would start with myself, and spread the joy from there.