Monday, June 22, 2009

Two Daughters

I just watched a video of a young Iranian woman die in the fight for a better life for her people. Maybe you've seen it too. I hadn't intended to watch it; I didn't know about it before I clicked on a link. But I watched. I cried as I saw the life and blood drain from her, as she looked at her father one last time.

I wish I had never seen it. I wish it didn't happen to that girl, Neda. She is, in death, the beautiful, silent voice galvanizing her people, and perhaps most of the world, to continue fighting for democracy in a tyrannical and oppressive place.

Neda makes me think of Trenton's young Tamrah Leonard, murdered on June 7; she was an innocent bystander, caught in the middle of an alleged gang feud. Her death, too, was caught by cameras. I wish I had not seen those pictures, either; but mostly, I wish Tamrah was enjoying her summer vacation, her upcoming 14th birthday, alive and full of promise.

As Neda's death has brought her people together, there's been some talk in Trenton of Tamrah's death inspiring positive changes here.

The families of Tamrah and Neda are faced with the illogical task of learning to live without their daughters.

A young person should not die. But we live in an unfair world, so failing that, young people absolutely should not die in vain. The world is outraged about Neda's death, and many of us are watching as the demonstrations in Iran continue to unfold. The Iranian people have been marginalized and kept down for too long by their own government, and they are willing to risk everything, by protesting in the streets. There's a good chance when the tumult is over, Iran will have changed for the better. The world is watching these pivotal days, hoping, hoping, hoping.

A girl dies senselessly here, and it barely makes the news outside the city. People have rallied, yes. But the police had no help in apprehending the young men who ended Tamrah's life. Neighbors and friends signed the bedsheet memorial, so commonplace in urban murders, but turned away from authorities, who worked diligently, regardless of the community's help, to find some answers for a cowardly drive-by shooting.

A girl's death in the Middle East may change history. Here, we grieve, yes. But our acceptance of the unacceptable has led to a horrific complacency where lousy politicians are not held accountable, and misguided, violent thugs in our midst, continue to wreak havoc on our souls, our sensibilities, our quality of life, and our future.

This should not be. We are capable of more. I'm so sorry Tamrah. I'm so sorry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's another failure of the community at large to take advantage of the opportunities provided to them. As you well know, there are ways for people to safely relay information to the authorities. Once again, the prevailing culture won't allow the people to progress beyond the pathetic state they are in.