After Attending the SOA Watch by Carol Wright
by Mark Chmiel
A year ago, many of us were in a course called Writing as a Spiritual Practice. Carol was part of that gang, and she just sent me the following reflection, which I offer for your consideration.
Even if the book were written by the ghosts of the Salvadoran family massacred in 1978, their story would be the same as the man left for dead after a beating in Nicaragua or the kidnapped sister of a Colombian paramilitary – even if the book were written by former prisoners of conscience – even if the book were written by an idiot in an Alabama jail – the conclusions, upon reading, would be the same. The soldiers, trained in the US, committed these crimes against humanity.
Even if the book were written on Monday, published on Tuesday, distributed on Wednesday, sold on Thursday, read on Friday and passed along over the weekend, the conclusions, upon reading, would be the same.
Even if the book were written in Russian, Croatian, Greek or French, translated into Latin and then given an English spin, the conclusions, after translation, would be the same.
Even if the book were illustrated by kindergartner finger painters, crayon wielding seven year olds, painterly high school art students, or adults with elaborate printing machines – prints signed and numbered, the conclusions would be the same (particularly after viewing the preponderance of the color red.)
Even if the book were bound – paper, leather or cardboard (corrugated for added texture, a feel for the roughness of the contents) the writing would remain raw and uncovered and any conclusions upon reading would be the same.
Even if we hold our ears, cover our eyes, plug our noses to escape the stench, glove our hands in order not to feel, wash the lingering taste from our guilty mouths with a good Scotch on the rocks; if we bury ourselves in fantasies, deny reality, conjure up protective, invincible mantras, our conscience is unable to escape and any conclusions upon reading would be the same.
“Enough” by Mark Vallen; 1988