Statement

posted in: Uncategorized | 19

Bare branches of a cherry tree in a kindergarten near my home, Chofu, Tokyo, Japan, 2004

I’ve had a lot of time to think. And the conclusions are not quite so cut and dried that I can claim enlightenment, but there have been some tightening of convictions and brushes with clarity. Here are some of the pebbles of insight into myself that I found:

• I love the Earth. Ever since I can remember it has been a more than average, deep anima within me. When close to the natural world, when interacting with other living things, when walking between the ground and the heavens and no human intervention to obscure the view, when the childlike excitement and fascination envelopes me while I crawl through thickets or wade up to my waist in swamp water or climb a tree to get a closer look at a nest or walk for days and days along a mountain ridge, those are the times I always feel most alive. I live in the heart of Tokyo now and am denied these things. It goes against my nature. Like Dersu Uzala (from Kurosawa’s film and the book by V.K. Arseniev) something dies within me when cities are the only connection to life that I have access to. For those who love cities this is impossible to explain.

• I love the human race. People can be capable of so much beauty and grace and generosity. When they open their minds and care for one another and the places they live in, our imaginations are limitless. As a integral participant in the dance of the natural world, our role is as the steward of this world, with the means and awareness to protect all that is around us. Other animals have their place in the scheme, ours is to protect. And therefore I want to see that I position myself within my own life to fulfill my role as steward. And to resist with all my heart and intellect and abilities those who would destroy our world.

• The planet is in danger. How long are we going to sit around squabbling about this? It is not some parlor room debate where the “winner” gets to make a toast. It is the lives of millions and millions of our fellow creatures and our very own survival that is at stake. The danger is NOW! And yet we sit around like crash victims, staring with disbelief out the window. Meanwhile we play like fools with our weapons, our chemicals, our water, our air as if there isn’t a care in the world. The whole scenario seems to be following, step-by-step, Kim Stanley Robinson’s warning, from his Mars series books, where the Earth falls into worldwide catastrophe. We are on the verge of meltdown and still denying it. The planet cannot take this abuse any more.

• My anger is not impotent or inconsequential. When I react with anger to what the United States and Bush are doing it is out of pain and love for the planet and for all people. I cannot sit idly by while there are those who would destroy it all. Meditation and a letting go of self is all important of course, but what self will there be to let go of if there are no people to examine themselves? Before Hitler took control so many people had opportunities to voice their anger and prevent him from coming to power. If the Blacks in America had not voiced their anger at and opposition to their suppression, where would they be today? Certainly much worse off than they are. Or the Indians. If Gandhi had not seized upon the strength of his anger with Britain, where would the Indians be today? No, I will not back down and whimper in a closet. I am angry. I am opposed to what is happening and, though I am but a small voice and cannot do much, I will do what I can to oppose the world order that the United States is forcing on everyone. This in no way means that I am not angry about other countries and what they are doing, or that I think other places are perfect, but the United States poses the biggest threat to the world today. If the United States cannot learn to live in harmony with the rest of the world, if they continually shake the tree without thinking of others or the tree itself, then I will work to oppose it.

• Bush is a criminal. Not just a local criminal within the U.S. itself, but an international war criminal. He has attacked and murdered thousands upon thousands of people. He has started two wars, based on lies, and defied the international community. He has upset the balance of the entire world, possibly putting the stability of the world’s economy in jeopardy. Personally, I believe that he was responsible for the New York tragedy… there are just too many coincidences, lies, and sleights of hand to see it any other way, much as Americans are just too horror-struck to admit the possibility of such a heinous act on the part of their own president. Almost no one in America has even entertained the possibility of this, in spite of the awful lies and acts that Bush has already committed. The fixed election; denying access to the information about what happened before the New York tragedy; tripping up the investigations; planning the attack on Iraq long before the tragedy; the inability to find bin Laden (who was in the employ of the CIA for many years…which is suspicious in itself); the convenient death of Senator Paul Wellstone; the illegal and humiliating internment of people denied even the most basic human rights at Guantanamo; the backing of Sharon’s atrocious subjugation of the Palestinian people… just how many more outrageous and “evil” acts must cross the television screen before people wake up and inquire into the goings on behind all these things? Bush should be subjected to an investigation at least… really he should be facing trial in an international court.

I am certainly not going to back down and quietly “accept” the state of affairs. Bush losing the election this year allows a great criminal to get away without answering for his crimes. That simply is not enough for me. Someone has got to say something, even if the outcry is ineffective. At least I am trying and not simpering in some cage. If Bush manages to get you to cower, then he has won. He’s managed to gain the crown without even really making much of an effort.

• I will find peace. If I hold fast to my convictions and practice loving what I love, if I get out there and protect the world and people who mean so much to me, if I don’t let someone bully and intimidate me, I will find the steadfastness within me and know who I am. THAT is what I will meditate upon, not some wilted stem that forgets who and what it is.

But it would certainly be easier and the going a little lighter if others of you would join me, if we would join hands and stand up together. Many small voices can chorus into a roar. Even mice have strength in numbers.

19 Responses

  1. Actually, I am an American and I couldn’t agree with you more. And there are many others like us. We are possibly not the majority, admittedly, but we are out here. I would like nothing more than so see Bush tried for his crimes against humanity. There are websites all over the place, like http://www.impeachbush.org that are crying out the very same.

    I feel powerless sometimes, though – what, other than leave the country, can we do to affect it? I don’t now. Pay sttention, perhaps. Get educated. Join others in protest and in standing for his impeachment and his trial. Pray for justice. Pray for America and for the world. Vote for a Democrat in the next election. Rally. I don’t know, this is what I know to do.

  2. I just really don’t know how.

  3. Anne, just keep being the person you are. I have never met you, but from what I’ve read of your words and the way you see things, you are a delight for people around you. You certainly make me laugh a lot. And I love reading about all the things that happen in your life. I don’t think anyone need do more than what you are doing; just be true and honest with yourself, while respecting others the way you do. It is the little things that we do every day that matter, and when added up with so many of us, can tilt the world towards a more healthy life, don’t you think?

  4. Well I think so. It would most certainly help if all criminals, terrorists, pollutors and idiot politicians such as mr. B. would turn into more friendly and thoughtful creatures with respect for all that is alive.

    But as long as they don’t.. we do need as many people as possible who actually take a stand against everything bad and actually DO something about it.

    That is the frustration sometimes.. starting with ourselves is one thing, but does it really make a difference.

    (thank you for the friendly words :)

  5. Wonderful statement. You have articulated what I believe many Americans are feeling. We could sure use a Gandhi right about now.

  6. Yes …. one thing at the very least we can do is stay informed and hold to our beliefs and express them when we have a chance. Anyone who has a vote in November – hopefully they will use it wisely. Those of us without – well – we just have to hope I suppose.

  7. Individually I would have to agree, there seems so little we can do.
    But what if we found a way to unite?
    So many but so disconnected.
    Many different versions of a similar discontent.

    How could we pull together? Is there a way to create a blogmovement?

  8. I was completely with you up to the point of: “Personally, I believe that [Bush] was responsible for the New York tragedy.”

    Lost me right there.

  9. I don’t want to sound contrary simply for being argumentative, and I’m not stating that I believe that this IS definitely what happened, but may I ask why it is so difficult to entertain the possibility that the Bush administration engineered the whole New York tragedy? If you can suspend your loyalties and emotions for a moment, try to think about it logically. Everything comes together and makes perfect sense, chronologically, politically, and philosophically, if you allow yourself to see the “unthinkable”. Why must only people like Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden be admitted into the realm of “monster”, but Bush is exempt? Just because Bush is American in no way ensures that he is above committing horrible crimes. After all, he showed no remorse in his denial of Karla Fay Tucker’s plea for clemency before she was executed while he was governor of Texas; he even joked about her plea during an interview with Tucker Carlson of “Talk” magazine in 1999, “”‘Please,’ Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, ‘don’t kill me.'” ( Salon.com; The Atlantic; Bushwatch.com ).

    Ask yourself these questions and at the same time mentally connect the dots to “… and what connection do Bush and the New York tragedy have to this?:

    • If, as the evidence seems more and more to be pointing to, Bush and the Neoconservative cabal were planning to attack Iraq and remove Hussein from office long before he became president, how would they come up with a strong enough ruse for inciting the American people to invade another country that hasn’t attacked them? Could the ruse for war against Iraq have been incited any other way than with something as horrorfying as the New York tragedy? Would the Americans have backed a war with anything other than something so awful?…

    • Why hasn’t Osama bin Laden been found, and worse, why has his capture been relegated to some incidental historical anecdote? How could Hussein have become more important than bin Laden as the world’s greatest threat to safety and peace? How does bin Laden’s former connection to the CIA relate to his true relationship to the US government at the moment? Is bin Laden being protected by the American government? And, something that everyone seems to have completely forgotten, how did the American government manage to convince the whole world that bin Laden was responsible for the New York tragedy when he himself never claimed to have done it (go back and read the news from back then… he only ever claimed that the New York tragedy was what America needed, never that he was responsible)…

    • Why is the Bush administration obstructing the investigation of the New York tragedy? What possible excuse could they have for not allowing people to find out everything they can about what happened and why?…

    • Why did Senator Paul Wellstone suddenly and so conveniently die just a week before the November elections in 2002?…

    • Why did Bush manage to win the election if he hadn’t actually won the majority of votes?…

    • Exactly why are the prisoners at Guantamo being held indefinitely, to the point of the media beginning to forget about them? What does the American government know about them and the Taliban that they are not telling any one?…

    • Why didn’t the American military find any holocaust weapons in Iraq? And why was it necessary to attack Iraq?…

    • Why hasn’t there been any kind of new tragedy even close to the New York tragedy? Is it possible that there never was any threat from the outside at all? That there simply wouldn’t be any threat that anyone could carry through, except from the inside? The Oklahoma bombing was considered an Arab attack until it was discovered that an American was actually responsible; why not in this case?…

    • And last, but not least, simply, why is it necessary to resort to all these lies over the last two and a half years, if there is nothing to hide?…

    It is understandable that people in America don’t want to even consider that Bush may be much worse a president and person than they can allow themselves to believe, but if you are going to be just and open minded about possibilities it behooves everyone to open to all sides of the arguments. If Bush can so cavalierly execute people or blatantly and illegally attack two countries (in spite of what the Taliban did to their people Afghanistan never attacked the U.S.) or send his own soldiers to die for no good reasons, why can it not also be possible that he was behind the New York tragedy? If you are going to look at the whole incident fairly and objectively, you have to figure in that possibility. Otherwise the truth will have been slanted from the start and the whole last two years was based on racial and cultural prejudice and simple denial.

    As long as only non-Americans are made out to be inhuman and cowardly, of being capable of great crimes, then this whole story is a fiasco. Americans need to be implicated in all this as much as anyone else. Who seems more guilty than Bush himself? He doesn’t even have a trustworthy alibi.

  10. Let me say what I’ve said before in leaving comments here: I have admired your writing and your insights in the past. Let me also, by way of background, tell you that I think Bush is a terrible president, and I will be working for whomever the Democratic candidate is running against him.

    Having said that…

    If this is the best “evidence” you have for your conspiracy theory, it’s lacking, to say the least. It would take too long to address each one of the points above, but none of the questions (and that’s all you have – questions) has as its most obvious answer the conclusion you reach.

    Senator Paul Wellstone’s plane crash is evidence that Bush was responsible for 9-11? Puh-leaze. (Explain the link for me.) Bush’s residency in the White House despite getting a minority of votes is somehow evidence of a conspiracy? No, it’s called the electoral college. It’s how we elect our presidents (not by a majority of the popular vote). Why was it necessary to attack Iraq? Because Bush had it in for Hussein. Did he misstate the evidence? Yes. Is that serious? Yes. Is it evidence of what you say? Not even close. The absence of another tragedy is evidence that the first one was an inside job? Um…OK, if you say so.

    We have lots of bizarre conspiracy theorists in this country, and they’re allowed to do their thing. Even they, in their paranoid thinking, haven’t come up with the doozy you pose here.

  11. Yes, my questions and stray thoughts are quite bizarre, wouldn’t you say? Wish they didn’t keep merging with the salad so much. The inside of my head is quite a zoo now, after three years of all the mumbo-jumbo going on. Sometimes I pinch myself in hope that I will wake up and it is all just a dream. But I’m finding that real life is far weirder and trippier than my imagination could ever concoct. So here, have another drink! I think it will all make sense when we’re besotted enough.

  12. I agree with Trey here. Butuki, your anger has tempered your logic on this one. Or rather, I think you let flow with a list of things angering many of us about the current political climate. That does not mean they are justification (or evidence) for what you suggested.

    However, I think the initial suggestion(Bush could have been behind September 11 is relatively valid: i.e. there is as much evidence that Bush did it as that Saddam did it. None in both cases.

    So Bush can hardly complain (or deserve defending) if someone levels the same kind of accusations at him that he used to go to war on Iraq.

  13. butuki, there are so many of us who agree with you and who are working for change and have been standing up and trying to say, from the beginning, that this administration is the worst in the country’s history. I stood on frigid strret corners with signs and banners against the war and the government’s policies every Friday from August 2002 through last summer. I will work for the Democratic campaign. I talk to everyone I can, urging them to vote and to kick this criminal and his cronies out of office.

    For these reasons, it is hard to hear you attacking all of America as if it is monochromatic. It is not; I know you don’t really think so, but it comes off that way. I also don’t agree with your conspiracy theory; I think your anger and despair have affected your usual rationality this time. Having said that, I would n’t put it past this cabal to engineer another “terrorist attack” close to the election. But I don’t think for a minute that they, or the Israelis, or anyone other than the fundamentalist group who claimed credit were the ones responsible for 9/11. And this is not a “naive American” speaking, it is someone who is highly skeptical. I think it is very important, in the present climate, to avoid over-emotionalism and to stick to absolutely factual arguments. On that basis alone, this administration should fall from the weight of its own lies.

  14. Yeah, maybe you’re all right and I am being unreasonable, perhaps even sounding a little crazy, though honestly I’m not trying to be! Seeing everyone’s reaction sort of helped put things in perspective in a way. I certainly make no claim to know more about what happened or is going on than anyone else. And I would dearly like to believe that nothing awful occurred on the American side. But the whole sequence of events since the tragedy has led to me to ask a lot of questions and to look around corners where it seems no one wants to look. There should have been some answers or at least some public, unobstructed endeavors to find answers, by now. But nothing. The New York tragedy, like for so many people around the world, shook up that island of innocence that I was living in. The world is a violent place now, full of lies and deceit and death. I never wanted to be shown this face of the world I live in.

    But at the same time, the questions and opinions all of you posed made me wonder why it is that the American media and a huge portion of American people, so very easily accepted Bush’s accusations of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Korea, leveling “conspiracy theories” at them that so many Americans accepted without so much as a murmur. Sometimes I think that, for so many Americans, it is acceptable to paint other people as monsters, but the moment anyone even mentions the possibility of America itself being involved with huge consipiracies, it becomes taboo and “bizarre” and “irrational”. This is patently unfair and racist and blindly nationalistic.

    I have to ask, what is the painting of Iraq hoarding “weapons of mass destruction” if not a massive conspiracy theory? One used to actually go ahead and attack a country, overthrow its government, and occupy that country? Exactly what is the difference between so many Americans accepting, condoning, even cheering this crime and believing this conspiracy theory, and my posing the question that perhaps Bush and the administration did the same thing in America? Painting Hussein as a “monster” it seems no one questions, but Bush is somehow exempt from this. Why? Because he is American?

    What gives Americans the exemption from also being capable of the same terrible crimes that the Nazi’s did? Their constitution? Their wanting to believe that they would never do such things? So many Americans just don’t want to accept the truth, but it was Americans, and only Americans, who actually allowed themselves to consider and then actually carry out the dropping of the atomic bomb on innocent people. If that isn’t a crime on par with the Holocaust, and which makes the New York tragedy pale in comparison, I don’t know what is.

    What I am trying to do here in saying all these things is not set in stone that I believe America is evil or that Bush actually did any of the things I am wondering about, but to make people ask questions about some very shady and questionable goings on. It is not enough to just accept Bush at his word and to let the cause and legacy of the New York tragedy slip away into oblivion. There are reasons why Bush will not allow the investigations to be carried out, and some very hard and unwavering questions need to be asked and carried through. He ought be going through the wringer for not answering important questions about what happened. If that means questioning the very source of how and why the New York tragedy occurred, then so be it. Anything else is to betray the death of so many innocent people.

    Why does the demand for the full truth and for justice, for something that happened in America and shouldn’t really, place-wise, concern me (except that the event affected me personally by terrifying my mother, who lives in Manhattan, and my having had to worry for five days what happened to her while I couldn’t get through to her on the phone) automatically translate to my voicing “hate” for America? Since when is wanting justice and reckoning for a wronged people considered hate? And since when is looking at all the circumstances surrounding a crime, without prejudice or preconceptions, considered a poor way to conduct an investigation? By arbitrarily sweeping aside the mere suggestions (I reiterate, I am not saying that these things did occur, and I would appreciate it if people would stop inferring that I am) that my questions pose, especially if no one seems to be making any headway into the inquiry, aren’t you, in effect, throwing away leads to a possible answer?

    Or are Americans just too horrified to even consider (and I’m sayiing “consider” here, not “accept”) such awful questions?

    Two and a half years have passed since the New York tragedy occurred. So far nothing seems to have helped anyone get any closer to the truth of what happened. It almost seems as if the whole event is slipping away into media amnesia. Keeping the infomation, that the Bush administration is witholding, secret is a monstrous slap in the face to all those who died. Don’t those who died at least deserve to have the truth out, whatever the truth is?

    Surely none of you have forgotten the horror of that day? Even I, who many of you accuse of “hating” America, still feel the waves of horror, despair, grief, and anger of that day. And I want the truth. I spare no one from whatever questions are needed to find out what happened and let the world know. Anyone who obstructs these questions ought to be deeply suspect, and the outrage that those bodies falling from the windows engendered in all of us should fire us up to forgive no one who would belittle their deaths.

    Again, I ask, why is Bush witholding information about the tragedy? How can any of you not be more than a little suspicious of the motives? Doesn’t it all feel like a sacrilege to you? And during this whole time has anything felt even remotely honest and conclusive? When will all our hearts be put to rest?

  15. Your comment: “I am not saying that these things did occur, and I would appreciate it if people would stop inferring that I am.”

    Your post: “Personally, I believe that [Bush] was responsible for the New York tragedy.”

    You write too well for me to think this is a language problem.

    Here’s the bottom line: Wild, speculative accusations are reckless. Making such charges without any suport whatsoever simply undermines your credibility for the larger, perhaps more legitimate point that Bush has done some things that make his forthrightness and honesty suspect.

  16. You have a point. My argument has been pretty shoddy. Sometimes I write and keep writing to beyond the point where what I am trying to say and what I am actually saying continue to match. That’s the problem with this whole Bush-watch business. There is so much flotsam flying around that it’s hard to keep your own thoughts in order, let alone the flood of often unreasonable anger.

    But I hope, at least, the gist of what I am trying to say comes through. I don’t believe in violence nor do I subscribe to any form of injustice, and if I do happen to assume things about someone that are wrong, I do my best to learn from my mistakes and to understand others, and to apologize.

    So I guess I can say thanks for watching my words and keeping me honest, but also please don’t toss aside what I am trying to say and call me ignorant. I have a lot of legitimate and, I believe, important reasons for reacting the way I am, all of which have arisen out of what is happening, I didn’t create the present atmosphere. I am certainly not going to sit back and wait out my whole life in this despicable aura of fear that we are all living in.

    Bush deserves every backlash, unreasonable or not, that is thrown at him. He doesn’t want to listen to any one? Well then, he can expect a lot of fury and merciless criticism. I hope I can keep myself reasonable and rational, but it’s really hard at times. I simply have zero tolerance for people who kill others, most especially if they take pleasure in it or trivialize it.

  17. Why attack Butuki for his theories?
    I came to the same conclusion about Bush and his possible connection with 911.
    Whenever I hear anything from the current American government, I immediately question it and then more often than not, refuse to believe it.

  18. Noreen: I don’t think anybody is “attacking Butuki.” Seems like healthy debate to me, which has to be a positive thing, right?

  19. Noreen, thanks for your defense. It helps in keeping the debate going when at times I feel that either it is going no where and no one really cares enough to say the difficult and scary things, or else I just feel a little hopeless. It always helps to have someone on your side.

    But I did put myself out on this limb, in public, and I am aware that there will be people who don’t agree with me. So far no one here has been mean or belligerant, just skeptical. This is a healthy debate, as Setsunai put it, and I think it is important to hear voices that disagree, in part to help me clarify my own opinions and also to learn more about a vast topic that is much bigger than I am. I by no means have all the answers and am very often simply wrong.

    I feel that the most important thing is not whether anyone is “right” or “wrong”, but rather that there is a debate or conversation at all. More than anything else I fear and deplore the atmosphere of intolerance that is growing these days, in which people can no longer voice their opinions. Just yesterday, in a phone call with my mother living in New York, my mother pleaded with me not to “overdo it” with the posts here on the blog, lest the eyes that are watching in the States permanently bar me from ever entering the States again. Perhaps I have already squandered that “freedom”, and, if so, that is really too bad. It only shows what the American government and society have become. As a non-American, living in what I believe is the free world, the fear of such retaliation is intolerable. I will not be gagged.

    So many of the things happening in the world right now are ugly and exhausting and just plain stupid. So few people want to face them and risk censure for debating them. So many people just want to write pretty things and gadget things and “don’t vex yourself or you’ll get sick” things. That’s all very well and fine, but none of that solves a thing.

    One of the big differences between the peace within the States and the peace within, let’s say, Europe, is that until now Americans have generally been able to disengage themselves from the big, ugly goings on in the world. The wars were always “over there”, and so no one had to face hard internal questions and learn to mature as a nation within a world community and deal with big social issues. Americans have always had the habit of running away from these problems, because there has always been, until now, some “frontier” to disappear into. Now that distance can no longer insulate the country, suddenly everyone is waking up to the reality of the “world out there”.

    Europeans, on the other hand, have already been through these social upheavals, during which they had to come to terms with the consequences of imperialistic ambitions or destroy themselves in the process. For Americans the First and Second World Wars were exercises in “securing freedom” from some distant tyranny, but for Europeans it was much more than that… I don’t think it was coincidence that both wars occurred right after the demise of the European empires… the wars erupted out of an imbalance in social pressure, from nations existing side-by-side but not yet learning what attitudes and mechanisms needed to be implemented in order for all these volatile societies to co-exist without destroying each other. Since then the Europeans have worked hard on creating a forum for maturing socially, and while not always successful, at least there is peace. Even the borders have been opened, and more members are set to join the whole. This, I believe, is the direction that the whole world must take if we are to survive and overcome some of the enormous problems we have in the world right now.

    When the American government, press, and people ridiculed so many European countries for advocating caution before the Iraq war I had to shake my head in disbelief. It was like listening to pouting adolescents whining about not being allowed to do whatever they damn well wanted, “because we aren’t children any more.”

    Even most Arab countries, in spite of their often appalling social records, have had to learn to coexist without always resorting to war, simply because they live right next door to one another. I often wonder how America would be handling its place in the world if its geogrpahical fate hadn’t placed it beyond the reach of other nations? America has never been a good neighbor, but it’s certainly time for it to learn.

    There was one comment by Susurra that has been etching away at the back of my mind ever since she posted it:

    But what if we found a way to unite?
    So many but so disconnected.
    Many different versions of a similar discontent.

    How could we pull together? Is there a way to create a blogmovement?

    I know there are many such attempts going on, but as she stated, “so disconnected”. Nevertheless I sense the possibility in this. Can we all not speak for world community? Can we not stop talking about “American” or Iraqi” or “Japanese” or “Nigerian”? When is this debate going to start addressing the problems as “world citizen”? If we can talk just what is the hitch?

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