These words…

These words are written
for Margaret Hassan, friend
of the Arab world, born in Ireland
married to Tahseen Ali Hassan, citizen
of Iraq, a woman who gave
the best years of her life
to caring for the less fortunate
in Iraq.
They seized you
they held you hostage
in dark cells for days
then they knelt you down
they hooded you
and put a bullet through your head
in the name of Allah

Allah Akhbar!
God is Great!

These words are written
for the murdered and the murderers
for the wounded insurgent who, on that same day,
elsewhere in Iraq, lay wounded, unarmed, powerless
on the bloody floor of the mosque;
and for the young United States Marine
who walked in on him, scared, deranged, yelling:
“He’s fucking faking he’s dead, he’s faking
he’s fucking dead”; and raised his weapon
and shot him point blank in the head.
Allah Akhbar!
God is Great!

These words are written
for the killers and the killed
for the women and children of Darfur,
chased from their homes, raped, their villages
razed and burned, and for the Janjaweed
who kill them. These words
are written for the men and women and children
on those Israeli buses and in the market places
and restaurants of Israel, and for the Palestinian boys
who come with explosives wrapped
around their slender waists,
and blow the innocent
to kingdom come.
Allah Akhbar!
God is Great!

These words are written
for six million Jews;
for Rwanda and Cambodia;
for all races exterminated
out of ignorance, and fear, and rage.

These words are written
for those two thousand seven hundred and twenty six
human beings who died in the attack
on the World Trade Center towers,
September 11, 2001, in the name of Allah;
they are written in sorrow
and anger for the vengeful, demented
band of brothers who destroyed them.

These words are written
for those tens of thousands of innocents in Africa
cast out from their dwellings, beaten, murdered,
tyrannized, driven from one bleak, unwelcoming
refugee camp to another,
big-bellied with malnutrition,
their children starving to death before their eyes.

These words are written
for the victims and the perpetrators;
they are written
for us all.
Father, forgive them,” Jesus said,
for they know not what they do.”

Know not.
They know not.
They know not what they do.

Rage, rage drives the world.
Savage, unconscionable, self-righteous rage,
as we go about the business of our lives
and overpopulate this earth we are given to live on;
as we crowd in, ever closer on each other,
each of us wanting, wanting, needing,
needing the wherewithal to stay alive,
each one of us the one
who deserves to live, the one
who deserves to thrive,
we rage.

We rage because we do not receive our due
while others receive theirs. We rage
out of fear. We rage
out of frustration, desperation. We rage
and kill out of self-righteousness
and righteousness, because our need
is greater than the other man’s need,
because our God
is greater than the other man’s God.
We rage and kill.

These words are written
for all of us who rage and kill.
These words are written
in prayer that we may yet learn
to know. To know what it is we do.

Because it will take that consciousness,
that knowing what we do, to save the world.
It will take the consciousness of, first, a few,
then a few hundred souls,
then a few hundred thousand.
It will take the consciousness of millions
to save the world from ourselves.
It will take knowing what we do.

It will take not acting out of rage,
not re-acting, not acting
out of unconsciousness. It will take
not following the orders of unconscious men
who act out of their own inner rage
and hidden impotence;
out of their own ignorance. It will take
knowing those men for who they are, men
without consciousness or conscience.

These words are written
on behalf of those who can no longer
speak them for themselves. For the dead.
For the killers and the killed.
For all of us. Let us pray.
Let us know, always,
what it is we do.

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