88 Years Old Today May 1st, 2021
It is May Day, the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, and a celebration of the dignity of work for International Workers of the World. I mopped the stairs and hall in front of the medical and psychological services office, now that I’m upstairs in quarantine for the next three weeks.
I will dearly miss the celebrations at Maryhouse and St. Joe’s today. Last year was missed as well, due to COVID.
In today’s reading of John 14: 7-14, Philip asks Jesus to “show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Poor Jesus. His followers still don’t get it, seeing and doing good works is never enough. If we ask anything that is of God’s will, it will be done.
Psalm 46:9 sings “He makes wars cease to the end of the earth, He breaks the bar and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire.”
This is my prayer and song as I sit out the last days of my time here in Danbury FCI Camp.
It took two months to resolve an outstanding case from a 2014 action protesting the use of weaponized drones at the Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, NY. Otherwise, I would have stayed here until the end of August, my full ten months.
We were all strip searched the other day as inmates continue to get in contraband and get caught smoking. I was rude and impatient with the guards and the women using the bathroom next to me for the contraband deliveries. But no matter how justified I think my outrage is, the system has no room for any efforts to come out right.
We are all either brain dead or complicit in the sin and absurdity.
The inmate rule is, “See something, say nothing.” I won’t become a snitch, but my tongue lashes out and to no avail. When will I learn to let go?
My fellow inmates say, “Give it up, don’t criticize any of the injustice, just get through your last weeks, don’t compromise yourself, just go along, get out, do your peace work on the outside, it is needed there.” So I am enjoying this room with a view (if one stands on a chair to look out), an open window for fresh air, and natural light. Seeing the blue sky, clouds, and the tops of the pine trees makes me burst into prayer, feeling like I am in the Ritz now.
Six of us are in quarantine, (I am alone in this room), and we are allowed out one hour a day to share two phones and one computer. Outdoor exercise is given as well for one hour.
The other night I saw the blood red full moon rise and heard coyotes yipping on the hillside. Last week four of us saw a large bobcat on the edge of the field, – what a treat that was!
Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp has entered into the news lately with the so-called end of our war in Afghanistan.
Our Witness Against Torture community, since 2006, has worked to expose the atrocities and torture of the “Gitmo” prison.
A Palestinian named Zayn al-Abidin Mouhammad Husayn, as reported in the New York Times, described and even documented through sketches what was done to him.
The U.S. military used psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen to enhance the torture, all being experimental on the part of the CIA, expanding the “body of knowledge” on how long a human can be deprived of sleep and other methods of destroying the human psyche. How close to death can we bring a man with waterboarding?
“I can’t breathe” takes on many forms, -now we even see it in COVID patients. A photo shows an elderly man lying on a sidewalk in India, attached to an oxygen tank.
When I worked in the Veterans Administration Medical Center in 1994, we were told that the overuse of antibiotics was going to come to haunt us in the years to come; bacteria and viruses were already mutating to fight back for their own immunity.
We have monkeyed with the cells of life in so many ways, at different levels, including the DNA of food. We are about to harvest a bitter fruit.
In 2007, while still practicing as an occupational therapist, (before compromising my official license), I attended a conference on trauma in Boston, MA. A presenter showed the face of Dick Cheney in his slide show and discussed how the current use of rogue psychologists in the implementation of torture eroded all of our cultural practices and institutions, similar to what happened in Germany under the Nazis.
While working the library here I found the image of the hooded Iraqi standing on a box with electrodes attached to his outstretched arms, crucified by the CIA. I showed it to the case manager whose office was next to the library. His reaction was something to the effect of him being of high school age at the time; he knew nothing about it, and didn’t want to know any more.
He is young enough to be my son, his mind may be formed by the likes of Cambridge Analytica, the psy-ops program that helped to influence elections around the world, thumbing a tech nose at the peoples’ efforts for democracy through voting.
I am sorry dear friends and readers. I could go on with my dark cynicism of what I have witnessed in my lifetime.
Through the power of positive thinking and faith in God, we must believe that we can and will prevent the launching of any nuclear warheads in these times.
After all, the Holy Spirit bows where she will and with the approach of Pentecost Sunday, we will renew our hopes and inspirations for hearing the Word of God, not only knowing who Christ is but also, through him, learning who we are called to be.
As God breathed into Adam, as the Hawaiians know the breath of life in aloha, as George Floyd called for his mother while his breath was robbed from him with the world watching, as Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded, as victims of COVID struggle to breathe, we are called to defend the spirit of God’s law.
Breathe, love, live, – it is the gift given to us in abundance. But that we could only see his face in each other.