Posts tagged “politics

Vacillation

Posted on 4 July 2017

  I am an American. I am a bursting bubble! I survey with an expectant smile. Enthusiastically I trample around. I offer hugs. I throw myself.   I have a shadow self. I say it will be alright. And then it isn’t. And then I squash the best parts of myself. Down with all that isn’t boisterous glee.   Facets spark in different light. In one hand I offer, one hand is a fist. Love me, hate me. It’s fair.   I’m more restless than you know. I know where I’m from, but what is home? Still I admit – proud? Of what, being born? – I am an American.

Borderlands

Posted on 18 January 2017

Ink, after drawn, can blur, but a pen can tear through paper. Borders are a human invention. At times, they stand in the way of geography. But like many other abstract human creations, they have great and terrible consequences. I’ve passed through many borders. Some hardly seem to exist: you’re riding down a road and, at some point, unnoticed, pass over an invisible line. One country to another, passport still tucked away. Other borders are chaotic: long walks over dirt roads, popping in one building after another, unsteadily securing visas, customs forms, stamps. There are other borders, torn down borders, whose remains I have stared at: a concrete wall which held a no man’s land, crosses line the grass today. Some borders kill slowly,…

Glimpses of Slaughter and Silence

Posted on 20 November 2016

There was a wall before me. I ran my hands along it. I peered over it. I spent months perched on top, dangling my feet over the edge, observing. I scraped my elbows and palms, gathering glimpses at foreboding pasts and awful alternative presents, collecting calluses. The wall is cracking beneath my palms. Genocide seems far away. Even when standing on its grounds, an inexperienced mind, sans memories, isn’t elastic enough to fully accept this truth. When I was there, I tried, I really did. I looked at everyone my age and older: Which side were you on? What memories do you hold in your body? Around me, motortaxis zipped by. Rwanda truly felt safe to me. Reconciling pleasant Kigali with what I knew…

Too Briefly, Yangon

Posted on 18 October 2016

The roads were wide and the buildings were tall. Our taxi circled roundabouts with traffic. After the hills of Shan State, Yangon was big and hot, but exciting. As our driver took us from the airport to our hotel, we sped by malls and apartments on the rise. He pointed out Inya Lake as we drove by. “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi lives there. You know her?” Less than two months prior, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy had won a supermajority of seats in Myanmar’s parliament – a rapid change given that she had only been released from fifteen years of non-consecutive house arrest at the end of 2010. Dissidence had been brutally crushed over decades of military rule, but now, our driver…

Riga Weathers

Posted on 21 December 2014

  A rainbow shone further on down the street, flanked by old, tall buildings. Aija and I walked to her apartment so I could drop off my backpack. I had just arrived in Riga and already, I was learning a lot. As we made our way along, Aija expertly kept up with my curiosity and related various facts about the city to me. She was a professional guide, truly—she works for the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. So thus we chattered away as the rainbow faded and the sun began to drift lower. The wind whipped our hair around—even my short hair—an hour later as we stood on the roof of the mall, peering over the skyline of Riga. The sky was turning…

Baltic Chain, Remembered, or History Lingers

Posted on 28 October 2014

People with flags kept passing by us. Not just Lithuanian flags, which would be slightly more expected given that I was in Vilnius, but also Estonian and Latvian flags. Then it dawned: it was August 23, 2014, the 25th anniversary of Baltic Chain. Evelina and I walked to Cathedral Square and were surrounded by people mulling about with flags in hand and television crews zipping around. A stage had been set up for events later in the day. On August 23, 1989, approximately two million people across the three Baltic states joined hands, forming a chain from Vilnius, through Riga, to Tallinn, a distance of over 400 miles (about 675 kilometers). This was a peaceful protest against Soviet rule of the Baltics and was strategically…