From the Midwest to the Middle East
I am sure you are familiar with David Graeber and David Wengrow's Dawn of Everything, one of my favorite books. He suggests Cahokia was abandoned after a massive revolt against a controlling priest hierarchy. I was glad you mentioned it today, And thank you for again keeping the bombing of Gaza constantly in our hearts. I came of age with the Vietnam war and the Israeli indiscriminate bombing of the population of Gaza bought forth feelings of rage and sorrow I have not felt since then. Thank you for mentioning 972 magazine. I read the piece in bed this morning before getting up. It needs more publicity. Israel is using AI to develop targeting hundreds of times faster than in other conflicts, and is deliberately picking Power targets designed to terrorize civilians with high casualties. Similar to the US and Vietnam, they think terror will turn the population against their leaders, ie Hamas. But we know it does the opposite. It is a terrible for the US to be hooked to Netanyahu's losing racist strategy. This will not end well for Israel, which makes me worry for my family there.
I was initially drawn to your writing because of the political analysis/perspective. My mind liked your mind. Now I seek you out as salve. I am an invisible passenger in the car with your family, grateful for the escape, momentarily, from reality. I ride the currents of your thoughts and float. The mourning moon feels especially full this month.
Beautifully written, poignant and real. Again all I can say is thank you for the education and how lucky I feel your children are. We are all fortunate when you write and share your detailed knowledge of our tragic past. Hard to even grasp what the world is witnessing in the Ukraine and Gaza. Horror for children. I saw a photograph of young children being educated in an underground school in the Ukraine this morning. Horror . The horror that war is inflicting on our children is disgusting and makes me angry. Stay well Sarah hold your children close. Keep educating and informing all of us I’m grateful for that!
You are my light in the dark desert. I am pleased to be in a position to subscribe and donate. I have walked the paths these last 8 years listening for your voice. Know you are writing for all of us, and we soak up your imagery, your contextual understanding and your joy/ sorrow at the simple, ordinary and pain of things in life and this extraordinary dark time. Take gentle care Sarah
Sarah.......I grasp for words in response. I cant find any that are fitting of what I feel when I read yours. Thank you
"There is power in grief, even though when you feel it, you feel powerless. There has to be power in it, or people would not try so hard to prohibit its expression." There is no greater truth. Amen, and thank you.
When I drove across the bridge of I-70 some 40 years ago, I wondered a bit why East St. Louis looked the way it did. Now I know. Thank you for the knowledge. We hear about Tulsa, how white's destroyed Black Wall Street there, but I had not heard about the travails of E. St. Louis until now. And yes, we disparage, even cancel, views we do not like. Ask Mehdi Hasan, a recent victim to that, perhaps? He was not what is en vogue today, Yellow Journalism, in the mass media, most who are owned by corporate entities. Did you know the media ran into the ground Hillary Clinton using the word deplorable as opposed to barely mentioning Le Grande Orange calling people vermin? The score would be something like 40 to 5. As for racism, it has been here since Columbus and crew landed on the tribes. I always wonder if some of it can be tied to a certain book, where the first humans are always depicted as white, the woman often with blonde or red hair? And the creator himself, as seen on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, is white with a flowing white beard and his son is from Wisconsin?
Back when the Iraq invasion was about to begin, I asked a supporter why? He had nothing to do with 9/11 and as for WMD's, what is his delivery? No air force, no missiles like Russia. And he keeps Iran at bay. Did not go over well. Thoughtful analysis is not always welcome.
Ending on a nice note....go to https://www.geotab.com/americas-quietest-routes/. This is an interactive map that highlights the least traveled routes in the country—and some of the most scenic.
Peace, quiet, kindness and love to all.
Your literary sense of place has no rivals.
Exquisite writing, as always.
The old saying "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
I was fascinated by Cahokia, and followed this journey to Child death in Gaza and am sitting here in quieter tears than a minute ago--yes of course you are right about all of it. Excellent article. I am always wondering why so many Americans are reacting as they are; here in the ME, everyone sees it coming. They may not mention it outright, but that's politeness as I'm American. My chest feels crushed.
The whole essay is packed with so much history, horrors and family love but this part struck my heart with a searing, comical truth.
“because it’s too special and too stupid to be understood, just like America.”
Well done, Sarah.
Sarah, your essays are so rich and provocative, that I have to find a quiet place to read them, slowly, often in "portions", the way I would when eating a nutritious meal. Strange how your "slowing down" and pondering the moon, broken cemeteries, catsup bottles, baskets - affirm, as a reminder, how vibrant and weird our own landscapes are, if we take time to slow walk and be willing to see what's there. I mostly want to hurry past, whatever - because I don't want to feel the pain I'm experiencing -- paradoxically, your tours in your essays are soothing.
Through some miracle, I was able to get a meeting with my Congress member's DC staffers via zoom. They gave me 30 minutes. My big ask was for a ceasefire in Gaza. Another ask - to stop aiding and abetting the indicted Netanyahu and his barbaric war. How could this not violate the terms of the Geneva Convention? How was bombing Gaza to powder not endangering the Israeli hostages? (this was the day before the "Humanitarian pause". ) Their replies were defensive and obfuscating. It was weird how the blinky zoom connection seemed to help the staffers deflect my requests -- and these staffers are the same age as my kids, who are in their thirties - These staffers were probably in middle school during 9-11. I wondered how they really felt witnessing, as you said, as we all are ---the daily reports of Gaza massacres. They must feel frightened too, my own kids are. Are they already corrupted, these young staffers - to ignore their own values in order to keep their job with a rep who is funded by AIPAC, and who is also probably frightened too, as Zionist? ( I wanted to ask them that too - as if I have that right - as if I think I'm everybody's mother or auntie. )
As a mother, like you, I feel gut punched too. every time I see another dead or mortally injured child being carried by a relative, or lying burned on a gurney, or holding her cat while half of her is covered in rubble. The last thing I told the young staffers is that so many of us feel our psyches have been seared by the daily cruelty flowing through our phone feeds & TVs. I told them that I personally will never, ever recover from our part in this mass murder.
They nodded and thanked me for my comments, then left the meeting and I'm sitting there, grieving at a flat screen that's gone black. Boy, was that lonely.
Thanks again, Sarah, for bringing us on your tours, with all its frights and sadness and beauty and the vibrancy in the small things. Your essays are an antidote to the loneliness and isolation that these days invite.
Loved this. I read a phrase recently that stuck with me: "Not all writers are poets. And not all poets write poems." You, Miss Sarah (as we say in Mississippi), are a poet. Oh, and though some people criticize you as a relentless downer, I find your sense of humor delightful. LOL'd at the Catsup Bottle (although it looks more like hot sauce:)
Starting my day with such beauty and truth. Thank you. The children of Gaza visit my heart and mind frequently and it is crushing. Their parents too because as child or parent, nothing is worse than losing each other.
I was touched by your thoughts on the atrocities of the past and current ones. For too long we have allowed religious and political leaders to sacrifice people for their selfish greedy agendas. All human life is sacred and should be in the forefront of any decision made by our leaders, build homes not destroy them, feed all people, health care for everyone, hold the billionaires accountable for putting their profits before people. Not one person should ever be considered expendable.
A simple response from me to this articulate and insightful writing: I love, that as a child, you were able to ignore your parent’s view of what the moon is / isn’t and decide to lean into your belief that it was indeed following you! That strength of will and character has obviously stayed with you and helped make it possible for you to remain steadfast in your writings in spite of all the contrariness (and worse) that comes your way.