This was inspired by recent events, written on the train on my way to work. I would like to thank musician Amanda Palmer for giving me the courage to post this. She wrote a chilling and beautiful poem about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombings. She was then forced to defend her actions on her blog. She wrote her piece in the second person. I take one step closer, in my attempt to understand what happened. The only way to have a peaceful planet is to walk for one day (or 20 minutes) in your enemy’s shoes. There is no “us and them”— it is an illusion that breeds fear, hate and then further violence.

You try to understand. How can you? Insulated and safe in your warm homes with your families, whlie the world’s children scream out in pain, from the hunger and the ravages of war. You watch it on the evening news, and it’s so far away. There’s little distinction in your mind between the newsreal and the movie you saw at the cineplex last night at the mall, surrounded by opulence. America’s wealth and arrogance screams out like a heedless vulture, spreading its massive, terrifying wings and overshadowing all below.

I was never your child, was never truly a citizen of your madness. My heart is forever of my homeland. Blood ties and heritage are stronger than your educational institutions and superficial trappings. I rode on your trains and watched everyone with their noses buried in their insignificant little lives, their insignificant little mobile devices. I pretended to be buried too, in an attempt to blend in. But I was always an outsider, always marginalized. You listened to me when I said what you wanted to hear; when I behaved as you expected a 19-year-old boy to behave. But I could see the masked intolerance, the charade of freedom.

And now you try to figure out why I did it. You debate and speculate and mispronounce my name (and not really care if you do). You sit around in New Age circles and talk about the power of love over hate, right over wrong. It is always a war for you and you are always a combatant, even when you wear your crystals and think you are so connected to the universe. I am connected to my god too. MY GOD. Allah. He told me that I must WAKE YOU UP. Make you see. Make you realize. You can’t hide inside your crystal castles and pretend that the world outside your walls doesn’t exist, doesn’t belong to you. It’s always a case of “I’ve got mine, and screw you,” isn’t it? And now you grieve for one child. One Child. What about all the other innocent little children who have lost their parents in regional conflicts? Who are dead and maimed by oppressive regimes, or by drones that miss their intended targets.

You’ll grant a people the right to freedom, but only if their world looks like yours. Only if they’ll convert to your way of thinking, to your idea of justice, your idea of faith. Your sense of truth isn’t big enough to hold the entire world with all its different views that are so alien to your own. But it isn’t “your truth.” It never belonged to you.


A charity to help those most affected by the tragic events in Boston on April 15, 2013.

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