These are ways apart, it seems, these three big issues in US-land: the question of red alert in airports everywhere, the exile going the rounds of good luck and good fortune, and the hopefulness every immigrant-to-be puts a premium on the fairness of the upcoming immigration reform the US Congress is thinking.
There is this terror of truth, not the truth of terrorists who are holding us hostage today.
For in the terror of truth is the poetry of life lived in earnest, with its blood and gore, and this time around, the bloodbath that happens between countries who are otherwise related by blood through their ancestors and by history even if they are apart, at least in theophany.
The truth of terrorists, unlike that of art, is that of a one-track ideological positioning of an end-of-world theme that holds believers and fanatics in awe, brainwashed to that idea that in the heaven that is promised to martyrs and heroes to the cause—The Cause—virgins and gold and rewards of eternal life await. This surfacing of reward-and-more-reward central idea that governs the conduct of recruits to terrorist causes is an ugly poetic—ugly because it denies all of us the very right to claim and re-claim our humanity, as if only those who are capable of igniting the bomb’s fuse have the right to sit in the right hand of the lord and master of human life.
We take three steps backward and with the distance allotted us, we foreground the struggle to let loose liberty and justice in their “day-to-dayness,” in their everydayness. The poetic here is based on its lack, this penchant for that which debases the very value this war or any war for that matter, attempts to preserve and promote: life itself.
Contemporary human life has gone to the rocky ground, unable to germinate and grow because right at the start, the bud is nipped, the sapling cut, the crown trimmed to make it sure that the trimming matches with the character of the transient, those things that do not know the meaning of forever.
In all these, poetry comes to the rescue, poetry as a resurrection of the human capacity to alter the contour of suffering and fear.
Poetry guides, and guides our thoughts in remaking our own images as people capable of loving tenderly and with compassion, of seeing that world with kindness, and of understanding The Other with openness, that other that is both enemy and friend, that Other that is both us and not us.
Even as wars go on all over the world, with the warmongers presumably exporting wars in many countries, there is something we can hopeful of: this resiliency of the im/migrant spirit, the same resiliency that never permits you to quit in order to protect your head from the sniper’s bullet.
Resilient the im/migrant is and the terror of exile will be overcome, like the fear the terrorists sow each dawn and dusk of our desperate lives.
A S Agcaoili
August 11, 2006