“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”
– Elie Wiesel
I’ve been absent from blogging these past few days. It’s been hard to watch and hard not to watch the news. Although this blog is not political, it is a personal blog and I cannot be true to myself and remain silent at the same time. I can’t pretend like everything’s normal. It feels like cheating.
I’ve been so upset and disheartened about what happened in Charlottesville. Writing is like therapy for me and I know that I will feel better the moment this is published. I have to get this off my chest, then and only then can I return to my camera and work on blog posts that inspire me and bring me joy – as I hope they do you. Bear with me today, as I share my personal views. You may or may not agree with them, but I hope you appreciate my passion.
I was pacing my home thinking about what I wanted to write today. Every time I walked through my kitchen I would get a fluttering glimpse of the American flag that is outside my home. Before Charlottesville happen, I had finally gotten around to installing the flag and planting flowers in the window box, and I took some pictures. I went upstairs and took the photo from the window because I loved the view of the flowers, the flag and the Adirondack chairs on the green grass. Later that day, as I was leaving our home, I looked up and saw how nicely coordinated the colors of the flag and the flowers are. It is such a small thing really, but I appreciate that image every time I drive by my home.
I’ve been thinking that there are not many sides to this. There are not even two sides to this. There is only one side. Love.
Individuals spewing their vile and repugnant chants of supremacy, hate and intolerance is not the same as freedom of speech. What they were doing is evil and ultimately, murderous. In addition to the freedom fighter, Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday, millions of people have died from another person hating them so much because of the color of their skin, their background or religion. There have been wars to fight immorality like this. The kind of wars where the whole world was involved and brave men and women sacrificed their lives fighting for the freedom and right for everyone to be treated equally.
I think back to that flag. It’s the symbol of the decency and greatness of this beautiful country. The very essence of being a patriot means that I cannot be silent about what happened. I wanted to be clear which side I am on.