May 14, 2004
The Only Thing Left To Say
BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
In the last year I have written over 35 letters and articles and done a fairly decent job of ridiculing, exposing and generally demonizing our president and his band of sociopathic henchmen, as I am so fond of calling them. I have not changed my opinion. However, the events of the last year and especially the last week have left me with the realization that thereís only one thing left to say and I would like to say it as an American who loves her country but feels duty bound to say something at this dark hour in her countryís history. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry that we, as Americans, didnít try harder to prevent our government from invading Iraq.
I am sorry that we didnít leave our homes, our jobs, our spas, our racquet clubs, our luncheons to go outside and lie in the streets until the traffic came to a halt and the country began systematically shutting down in protest against an unspeakably horrible action that was about to be undertaken in our name.
I am sorry that we didnít chain ourselves to the troop ships, lie across the railroad tracks, parade onto the runways and block the passage of so many of our heroic young people, many of whom truly believed that they were leaving their families, their neighbors, their friends to help build hospitals and schools and restore priceless artifacts.
I am sorry that we didnít try harder to protect them from the repercussions of this hostile invasion.
I am sorry that we didnít hear the cries for help from the family of Nick Berg.
I am sorry that his unspeakably horrifying death is going to be exploited as a reason to escalate this war that, as is becoming clearer and clearer, no one will ever win.
I am sorry that we have abandoned the Afghans once again and left them to fight for themselves while trying to restore their once grand and magnificent country.
I am sorry that we in America are so complacent about our democracy that, out of all of the democratic countries in the world, the percentage of people per capita who vote is the lowest in the US.
I am sorry that America has a history of nefarious deeds and ruthless treatment of its enemies.
I'm sorry that we use 75% of the planetís resources and are doing nothing to stem the tide of global warming.
I am sorry that we eat so much fish the oceans are barren.
I am sorry that we eat so much beef and chicken that most of the crops grown in our country are grown to feed animals, not people.
I am sorry that there are so many people in this country, including myself, who have no idea what itís like to have no home, no food, no clothing, no schools and no hospitals and are oblivious to the fact that so much of this world lives this way.
I'm sorry that our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers who died on 9/11 still havenít seen the global alliance that could and should have been the result of their sacrifice.
I'm sorry that I have so many words of scorn, anger, and disgust and so few words of humility, despair and remorse. I am going to try to begin communicating in a way that articulates the fact that from this moment on I am taking a stand for something that, as yet, I have no words for. Something that is not the opposite of what we have now...something that is not the opposite of anything...something that existed way before we did and will survive long after we donít. Maybe I can give it a name, like PEACE, but I canít define it and I desperately need to learn. We all need to learn what it means and begin practicing it in our daily lives and we need to do this soon and we need to do it forever.
I'm sorry that I waited so long to figure this out and I am sorry that I donít speak for everyone in my country, though I know I speak for many, and if and when we begin this work, I hope to God itís not too late.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Ms. Burgwinís writings have appeared in Time, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Counterpunch, Alternet and OpEdNews as well as several other online Op Ed sites. She is on the Board of Aid Afghanistan and one of the founders of The Assisi Center for the Practice of Peace.
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