I listen to the news on the radio every day. I listen to Amy Goodman, and I try to understand what’s going on with all these wars, all these endless wars. It’s hard to get it, it’s hard to feel it, it’s hard to know what to do. It’s so much simpler to do some fun thing, and not think about how much bad stuff is happening. I thought that if I went to Quickley’s performance, I might be able to feel something. I might know what I’m supposed to do.
Jerry Quickley told his stories. He described being in Baghdad when the bombs began to drop in 2003, and he described the harrowing story of his journey back to Jordan. As bombs fell like toothpicks out of the sky, Quickley attempted to identify his feeling as a first-worlder in a place where he was in no way safe. Not excited really-but like he was in a game of Donkey Kong. His stories shift from a level of disconnection to the raw opposite-of-courage preparedness for death at any instant. It was horrible, and graphic, and personal. His tales built up into a gruesome crescendo. But in those moments of the telling, I could feel a tiny seed of the brutal misery, the indescribable destruction. Only a tiny seed. Mostly what I felt was the shame of being an American.
And when it was over, we all filed out of the theater, turning on cell phones. I looked into windows of a wedding reception on the way to my car. It seemed so ridiculously easy. As I got in my car, I knew no bombs would drop on me as I drove home. On Monday, I’ll listen to the news on the radio, and I still won’t know what to do. But at least I felt something.
posted by amber bell