I’m eight days out of my last chemotherapy session and I still can’t sleep and I can’t wake up. A struggle with exhaustion. I don’t really know what to say about it. If I leave the house walking, within a block I am too tied to go farther. It’s a real bother. I’m still not sick, I still don’t hurt, but I can’t wake up and I can’t sleep, and there are times when I feel separated from the work. In a way, of course, that’s being sick. Sometimes in the morning when I get up and the day appears grey and empty, sometimes I recall a line from Marcus Aurelius where he wrote (paraphrase), “On that morning when you do not want to rise, have this thought in your mind. ‘I am rising to do the work of a human being.’”
Mogens Schmidt has replied to my letter of 07 September 2008.
Deputy Assistant Director-General for Communications and Information,
Division for Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace,
Thank you for your letter.
The UN General Assembly is a representative body of all the member states. It has expressed a position on the issue that does not infringe on your right to hold your opinions.
A simple, perfectly understandable note, yet not really. To be allowed to hold an opinion is one thing, to be allowed to express it another. Only today I find that the prosecution of Gustav Mahler is to begin. Fredrick Toben is in custody in London, and men like Rudolf, Zundel, Verbeke, and others are all in prison or in court or in hiding for expressing opinions that they “hold.” I suppose I should point this out to Deputy Assistant Director-General Schmidt. And especially to his colleagues.
Watched part of the Obama/McCain debate last night. Too boring to watch it all. But Obama is a natural. He was born to politics. I don’t know if he can govern the country. I don’t know if anyone can govern this county any longer, including McCain. But Obama is a natural. He is willing to evade, cover-up, and simply lie about anything that might interfere with his getting the role he wants. His behavior with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright story illustrates Obama’s willingness to do what it takes.
When Wright tells his congregation that “America” nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki and “never looked back” (is that how he put it?) he was right. We intentionally burned alive tens of thousands of innocent women and children for a greater good. And then there was Tokyo and every city in Germany. After twenty years listening to the Reverend, I think Obama looks at the world more or less like the Reverend looks at it. Except he is probably not religious but will continue to pretend he is until he gets the role. But if he had told the truth, if he had said, simply, Reverend Wright is right about that, Obama would have been out of the race. He would have been denounced as un-American. Obama wants to win. They all want to win, so we might as well go with the guy who is the smoothest and coolest and most in control and hope he is not a cool guy who is interested in doing monstrous things for a greater good. Good luck to all of us, and to all those all over the world who get in our way.
Yesterday one of the guys in the neighborhood was murdered a couple blocks from the house. He was involved with dealing. Friday night a retired policemen was murdered out on the Boulevard. One of my part-time workers was across the street, heard the shots, saw the two gunmen run off. They weren’t kids. Meanwhile, dozens of citizens and policemen in Tijuana have been murdered over the past two, three weeks. This is the first time I have begun to, sometimes, feel insecure here.
A new café announces itself as a “family restaurant.” It features “Rattlesnake tequila.”
This afternoon we picked up Brad at daycare, then drove to Pepe’s to buy seed for the parakeets. I stayed in the car while Irene went in to make the purchase. In front of me on the sidewalk were cages with birds and puppies and chicks in them. One large case was overflowing with parakeets. Some were standing on the backs of others in the seed trays. The movement inside the cage was full of a dynamic and restless complexity. While I watched, the restless complexity inside the cage came to represent in my imagination the restless complexity of life itself. And, despite everything, how life is so valuable to us.