Empathy

..means shared pain. Without it solidarity is impossible, and support is optional. With it, we on the trigger side of empire have a chance of uniting with the rest of humanity.

After several years of various activist stints against the Guantanamo Bay prison, I found that the group Outlandish had a song about it. Which led me to their moving piece “Try Not Cry.” Have a listen if you can, perhaps by checking out a home-made video here. Some of the lyrics:

Hmm, a little boy shot in the head / Just another kid sent out to get some bread / Not the first murder nor the last / Again and again a repetition of the past / Since the very first day same story / Young ones, old ones, some glory / How can it be, has the whole world turned blind? / Or is it just ’cause it’s only affecting my kind?!

I grew up with a kind of visceral affinity for kids throwing stones at tanks and riot police. South Africa, first of all. When an a form of oppression cuts you in two, it gets obvious. But Palestine too, where the first Intifada brought out those Mahmoud Darwish would call “the children of the stones,” shaming their elders with their refusal to accept their fate.

No matter how clearly I know that empire isn’t new, it still breaks my heart for my neighbors to be the ones driving the tanks now.

p.s. Also check out Outlandish’s video of Look Into My Eyes.

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