t came together somewhat accidentally, but I have ended up having a
Memorial Day weekend rich in the sort of remembrance and attention
that I think it was originally intended for.
Yesterday, I saw a film called "Heavy Metal in Baghdad," which
follows Iraq's only heavy metal band from before the war through
their fleeing to Syria in 2007. Because It is such a zoomed in view
of the experiences of a few people, it helped me to identify with and
understand the situation over there in a way I haven't before. I'm
sure it is partly because I am a musician, but my guess is that it
will hit home for most people.
It was also one of those experiences, which I am sure you have all
had at one time or another, that drew into tight focus the incredible
privileges that I enjoy. I pray for this sense to stay with me for a
long, long time.
You can check out the movie here http://www.heavymetalinbaghdad.com -
there is also a paypal link here to make a donation to the band.
Given all of the incredible hardships people are enduring across the
world, it strikes me as a little strange that I am moved to put my
resources here, but there you are. I think deep down, I do have a
Jack Black-esque belief in the power of face-melting Rock to
Transform The World and Stick It To The Man.
Today, on NPR there was a re-broadcast of Terry Gross' interview with
Marine Lt. Col. Steve Beck and journalist Jim Sheeler about Sheeler's
book "Final Salute" in which he followed Col. Beck on his job as a
casualty notification officer, delivering the news of marine deaths
to their families.
I had heard this interview before, but I found myself listening to
the whole thing again, and being profoundly moved by it. You can
listen to it here:
I know that none of this is anything that we particularly like
thinking about - I myself am often turned off by my feeling of
powerlessness - I know that it's horrible, so why get into
it?...however, I have come to believe that there is great power and
value in simply bearing witness, and sharing in the emotional and
psychic burden being borne by so many due to this war we are
There are many people who want to know that their suffering and
sacrifice is being noticed, and that people in the unaffected parts
of the world, particularly Americans, are not simply changing the
channel. I am not finding myself to be depressed by these stories,
although I have shed some tears. I find myself in the end, a bit
better grounded, a bit more connected to the reality of this time and
more grateful than ever for the beautiful things in my life - most
signifigantly, all of you.