being weighed in the balance
February 12, 2009 § Leave a comment
The mere suggestion of a threat, of danger, is enough. The invisible scarecrow.
The strategy works because of the not knowing, the waiting, which entirely consumes novices. Every act, every decision, every word is suddenly imbued with a new significance. Immediately after the threat is received, things seem to speed up somehow, and the outside world retreats – or is blocked out – a little. External sounds become distant as the deafening fear courses through the bloodstream from the stomach and the heart until it reaches the head, where it sits like spilt oil on seawater, choking hope and happiness and normal thought.
And in that moment they’ve won.
The knowledge of being watched is suffocating. Its worst, most exhausting, aspect is that after they enter your head, they are in your home, at your work, in your car, in your street, everywhere you look. It is difficult to put into words the feelings induced by receiving a phone call at 1 a.m advising you to leave your house immediately because they might be coming for you. The mad 10 minute rush of getting dressed and putting basic essentials into a bag, waiting, waiting, waiting for the explosion. Your home suddenly transformed into a trap.
And then out into the night, and the comfort – or the illusion of comfort – provided by constant movement.
It’s surprising how you can get used to fear, learn to live with it. Gradually it becomes yet another of the million things lurking at the back of your mind – the unreturned library books, the email not sent, the people not called.
this is how i am feeling right now. struggling with how much or how little i should write about the political situation here. weighing the risks and consequences. what are the risks of self-censorship? of being silent when this human being-ness calls me to speak? and what are the risks of speaking when the dangers are unknown? and it is not only my life and work that is affected by my words and actions but others as well.
today was my first arabic lesson. the call to prayer is floating across my windows. our neighbor’s baby is crying and his cry sounds so much like aza’s that it always takes me a moment to remind myself whose child is whose.
knowing that it is not my child who is crying gives a small moment of comfort. an illusion of comfort. cause i am not comfortable as i am weighing my life in the balance.