September 16, 2002 - 9:44 am

i'm on the mailing list for the CPUSA (Communist Party United States of America). I'm not a communist and you can choose to believe that or not. I understand that it may be difficult to believe given some of the positions i've taken on issues in this diary.

We have a biased media. We hear lies. The evening news is composed of gossip and half truths and I choose not to allow what i hear on NBC be the "end all, be all" to my opinions.

I chose to subscribe to the CPUSA mailing list in order to hear 'the other side'. I'm constantly reminded of things that I know, but don't always call to mind when i'm shaping an argument. It offers me a broader spectrum and from this spectrum I pick and choose.

this morning i read an interesting email that brought tears to my eyes.

not a lot of people know who Augusto Pinochet was, despite the fact that he's has been compared with the likes of Hitler and Stalin. He was a dictator in Chile that rose to power in the 70's. During his regime, the term "desaparecidos" became a household phrase throughout the country.

"desaparecidos" translates loosely to "disappeared ones".

the families of "desaparecidos" are known for making altars of remembrance for their loved ones.

they put signs up around town of their missing relatives, not knowing if they are even alive.

they wander the streets with pictures, posters, t-shirts etc. containing the images of those they've lost, hoping that someone might have a clue as to their whereabouts.

sound familiar?

last year, new york city's streets were swarming with these people looking for their loved ones in the exact same way that people in chile (and many other countries) had done.

i'm not trying to compare situations or say that one was worse than the other, i'm trying to show how much americans and the rest of the world have in common.

we are all the same. lets stop thinking we're better.

gain some insight from the x-files, we are not alone.

so, back to the email i read this morning. I understand that some of you may not like to what you read here. It might all be true, it might not. Personally, i choose to believe most of it, but that's only my choice, you're free to make your own, that's one of the many beauties of this country.

"In Santiago, Chile, on September 11th, 1973, the presidential palace was bombed and their democratically elected government was overthrown. The president, Salvador Allende, died in the coup and dictator Augusto Pinochet began a reign of terror, rounding up all "dissidents" and herding them into the National Stadium, where they were tortured, shot and buried in mass graves. During the next several years, many college students, professor, artists and musicians were arrested, tortured and assassinated or jailed.

Pinochet was able to gain power with the support of covert operations of the U.S. military. Recently, new evidence suggests that U.S. military planes were used in the bombing of La Moneda, the presidential residence. And U.S military ships waited on the shores of Playa Ancha to invade Chile, if the coup failed."

now, that was basically just a briefing on the situation in chile. this next part, was my favorite part. You have to read to the end to get the message. The "A" is the american woman and the "C" is the Chilean woman.

A. I was an ordinary woman.

C. I was an ordinary woman.

A. Who lived a normal life.

C. Who lived a normal life.

A. My husband carpooled to work. I shopped at the mall.

C. My husband rode the bus to work. I made my own clothes.

A. I waited in long lines at the check out counter in the grocery store.

C. I waited in long lines at the bakery for the daily rationing.

A. I took my children to baseball games, movies, and amusement parks.

C. I watched my children play with a rag ball in the street.

A. Then one morning...

C. Then one morning...

A. I heard a plane fly by very low overhead.

C. I heard the planes take off from the military base.

A. And watched with horror as it crashed into a building downtown.

C. And suddenly heard explosions downtown.

A. I ran inside and turned on the TV.

C. I ran inside and turned on the radio.

A. Panic immobilized me as another plane crashed into the second tower.

C. My heart stopped as our President spoke his last words before the transmission went dead.

A. Fire engulfed the towers as they collapsed in a cloud of dust that burst over the city.

C. Gunfire erupted as the troops began to search and scourge through the city.

A. Somehow I know my man will never come home.

C. Little did I know my man would never come home.

A. With my cell phone in my hand, I waited. My flicker of hope faded with the sunset.

C. I waited more than 25 years with hope at each sunrise.

A. He disappeared with so many others in the flames and the rubble.

C. He disappeared with so many others who were herded into the stadium.

A. Why do they hate us?

C. Who are our enemies?

A. Faceless ghosts flitting in and out and leaving terror in their wake.

C. What did we do to them that they should do this to us?

A. They lived in our towns, went to our schools, hijacked our planes, and killed our people.

C. They bought out our newspapers, infiltrated our military, flew the planes they sold us, and incited the killing.

A. How dare they attack the heart of our country and destroy our symbols of freedom, economic stability, and democracy?

C. How dare they attack the heart of our country and destroy the presidential palace, symbol of freedom,

popular suffrage, and democracy?

A. Our military leaders brought to their knees by violence at the door of their stronghold.

C. Our military leaders kneeling before them as their ships lay waiting off our coast.

A. And my man never came home.

C. And my man never came home.

A. And I know fear as a weight settling in the pit of my stomach.

C. And fear became a pit I struggled to climb out of.

A. I dared not open the mail afraid of death in an envelope.

C. I dared not open the door afraid of death in plainclothes.

A. I dared not send my children to summer camp afraid of airplanes and airports.

C. I dared not let my children play outside afraid of tanks, tear gas, random shootings.

A. Deep inside I barely survive, alone and afraid.

C. Deep inside, for many years, I barely survived alone and afraid.

A. Hate is one step behind fear.

C. Hate was one step behind fear.

A. Today, I want them to hurt as badly as I did.

C. 28 years later, I watched them hurt as badly as I did. (She looks over at the American woman.)

A. I think I could never forgive them. (crumples to the ground.)

C. I thought I could never forgive them. (Touches the back of the American woman who looks up at her, then extends her hand to help her to her feet.)

A. I am an American woman. (lights a match)

C. I am a Chilean woman. (lights a match)

A. And my life changed on September 11th, 2001.

C. And my life changed on September 11th, 1973.

(Both light a candle together.)

i cried when i read this. i cried and got so down and thought today was just going to be another day like last tuesday where i just want it to be over.

but then i was inspired. i was inspired by a cup of yogurt. i was holding it near my mouth as i was reading the email and i noticed two things on my yogurt. the first thing i read was "Contains Active Cultures". I smiled at this and thought of all those people (including myself) who choose to remain active and involved with what's going on in the world. I thought about how lucky I am to live in a country that contains active cultures. the second thing i read was "pre-stirred". like yogurt, i think america has also been pre-stirred with the events in the past year. now that we're all stirred up, what are we going to do?

Friday Bingo - Pigeons in the Park

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