Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Washington, D.C. 20.7.93: Solidarity and Death Carts

We’re now en route to D.C. with Steve’s aunts and cousin, all Benedictine nuns. I’ve rarely had such a sense of expectancy on a trip, as if the trip itself confirms that I’m now cresting a hill, and see a new inviting terrain below. It has been a hard uphill battle. I’ve struggled mightily, and I’m scarred, winded, and weary. But I feel there’s something new for me as I crest the hill.


At Holocaust Museum: we have to tell our stories. Every device possible will be used to keep us from doing so, from believing we have a story, from thinking it important.

The unwillingness of other nations, including those who purported to denounce the Holocaust, to take in Jewish refugees: when one is classified in a negative social category, stigmatized, even one’s “supporters” assume one is at least partially guilty. Nothing short of solidarity suffices. Solidarity is not what one gets when one gets “objective” “sympathetic” analysis and “support” premised on these.

Techniques of bullying used: silencing, shaming, suppressing questions, managing information. All this characterized my experience at Belmont Abbey College.

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On Touching a Theresienstadt Death Cart

Touch is always the last thing to go.

Sight fails, ears stop.
Still, we reach out to hold:
The final semaphore of love.

We kiss the dying one
As eyes shut,
Heart stops its beat,
And breath flies forth.

Our lips, our fingers know.

They grasp the lover's soul
Until they loose their grip
And break the bond.

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