Reading on the one hand the words of “Peter H. M. Brooks,” & on the other those of Jerry Falwell, I have begun to feel the anguish & despair behind the story in Genesis in which Abraham pleads w/ his God to spare Sodom & Gomorrah for the sake of the innocent.
That text imagines God agreeing to spare the cities if as few as 10 innocent people could be found. But the fire came anyway.
I have never understood how any human being could attribute such evil to what is divine. But it seems to me that Brooks & Falwell each worship a form of that sadistic, misconceived divinity, mistaking monstrosity for justice. As do the people who committed these murders.
Of course, where Brooks might see innocence, Falwell might see guilt. But I find myself saying yes, I can find 10 people, easily, in NYC, to meet either definition of innocence – hundreds.
Hundreds who protested any & all of the wars & interventions & policies Brooks mentions. I meet nearly all of his specifications myself.
Hundreds who are paragons of Falwell’s form of Christianity. They live in every neighborhood of my city. Hundreds of devout Muslims as well, enough to meet the standards of the most exacting defender of the holy shrines.
But the fire came anyway. & this was not justice, divine or human.
One of the missing is my colleague's only son. His office was on the 105th floor of One WTC.
The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova
edited by Roberta Reeder
Boston: Zepher Press / Edinburgh: Canongate Press, 1994
Lot’s Wife - translation by Judith Hemschemeyer
And the righteous man followed the envoy of God,
Huge and bright, over the black mountain.
But anguish spoke loudly to his wife:
It is not too late, you can still gaze
At the red towers of your native Sodom,
At the square where you sang, at the courtyard where you spun,
At the empty windows of the tall house
Where you bore children to your beloved husband.
She glanced, and paralyzed by deadly pain,
Her eyes no longer saw anything;
And her body became transparent salt
And her quick feet were rooted to the spot.
Who will weep for this woman?
Isn’t her death the least significant?
But my heart will never forget the one
Who gave her life for a single glance.
Aquilino (Oct 1974 - Sept 11 2001) …
… and too many others.