The Art of Apologizing
These days, when friends or colleagues ask me—which happens from time to time—what I’m writing now, I tell them I feel impelled to apologize to a whale. I tell them I am considering the question: how do you apologize to a whale?
What can you tell it that it may not know already: how the seas in which it migrates thousands of miles each year are becoming more acidified with each season that passes. How the waters turn warmer, evicting the denizens of the temperate waters farther towards the melting icecaps? How the bodies of the small fry in the northern waters gape with the same ugly blood bruises of radiation sickness the same bruises that surface on the skins of people in Japan? How the larger fish eat the small fry? How do you explain how one species, and only one species on earth has insisted on dominion over all things, driving the dynamic of its planetary habitat to chaos?
What do you say? Do you tell it why in its migrations it must avoid the sea of plastic detritus spiraling slowly in Pacific waters in a now lifeless waste once teaming with plankton, with all forms of life. Tell it to steer clear from the very depths to the borderland where water meets sky, and where it sounds for air between its hour-long dives? How would you explain—or justify—something impossible to justify?
How could you apologize?
Would you enumerate the Earth’s gaping wounds? Its fracking sites, its radiation-contaminated grounds? It’s carbon emitting smokestacks, the feeling of entitlement of the western world to drive exhaust belching cars, to fly planes, to contaminate its rivers and streams, to clear cut its own lungs, the trees; to kill everything that moves? to wage perpetual war for wealth and aggrandizement, and because one nation can blackmail another with knowledge of its secret acts, to decimate its own species by the millions and to leave behind a poisoned earth wherever its armies passed?
Would you begin to ask yourself where in history and pre-history your minor species started to go wrong? Was there such a moment? Why did it come about? Where there several such moments? How would you explain the imperviousness of the Princes of the Earth as they go about the business of business, insulated in their air-conditioned boardrooms, and in the hallways of Empire where the deals are struck and where mountain-by-mountain, forest-by-forest, invasion-by-invasion, assassination-by-assassination, they condemn the Earth to die?
Would you tell that to a whale? Could you imagine trying to explain, knowing all the while that your species was hell bent starving it, evicting it from its habitat? What might be the whale’s response—assuming you were intelligent enough to hear it?
How do you frame that apology? Apology, not in the sense of asking forgiveness, not even in the sense of trying to explain, or to offer excuses, but as an act of reverence for a being whose intelligence far outstrips my own. As an Act of Reverence to it and by extension to all life. All life on earth, all living things who are not living here as members of the human species, but to all others. That’s what I mean by apologizing to a whale.
That’s what I am attempting now. Tune in next year.
Syria, State of Chaos: Empire Is Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Empire does not intend to apologize. Empire’s repertoire is offering more lies and more excuses.
The good news is as Thurber said: You can fool some people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time—especially when they are sick of war—and of the lies that bring them to us.
And we must not deceive ourselves that because the powers that be are signing off to a face-saving delay, they intend that delay to be in anyway permanent.
To register your own objection to further military adventures, please consider signing the RootsAction petition.
To get up to speed on what’s really going on behind the Syria hysteria Global Research published out of Canada, is a reliable bibliographic source.
John Pilger twice won Britain’s highest award for journalism. He shares some reminders about the art of goose stepping and reminiscences of tanks on presidential palace lawns.
This past week, after 60 years, the report of the CIA-backed coup against the PM of Iran, Mossadeq was finally declassified. For the REALLY BIG PICTURE, Paul Craig Roberts shares his views.
And investigating the source of all those insta-explanations (within the first 30 minutes) Brasscheck TV points to Jerome Hauer.
Best of all, you can watch the remarkable Syrian-American Rania Masri, environmentalist and political reporter, tell the story from the factual point of view.
The Japanese Bid to Stage the All-Time Olympics of Catastrophe
“Fukushima is under control.” Lies by other government figures are all the rage as well. PM Abe’s efforts to bamboozle the Olympic authorities won the day—at the expense of the Japanese people who overwhelmingly register their opposition to nuclear power and their anxieties about Fukushima, and at the expense of the Japanese Treasury which will have yet fewer yen left to throw at Fukushima’s catastrophic disaster.
Activist Cathy Iwane writes: If there was ever a more imperative ACTION item for our planet, this is it. Please sign and share with your communities to call for Prime Minister's Office of Japan to take IMMEDIATE action to contain the uncontrolled radioactive releases from Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific Ocean, into the water aquifers under the reactors and releases into the atmosphere. Implore Abe to do the right thing by bringing together the world's best to set sights on cutting our grave losses NOW!" And tell PM Abe he missed his calling. He should have been a fiction writer.
And please sign the petition to appoint an international group of independent experts, working with Japan, to assess, plan, gather resources, and implement remedies.
As news reports have surfaced at last, painting the alarming situation at Fukushima Daiichi, Congressional Members Henry A. Waxman and Paul D. Tonko have addressed a letter to the Congressional Committee on Environment and Economy requesting the committee hold a hearing to examine the status at Fukushima and determine what lessons the United State has to learn from the Japanese response.
And Now—Just When You Thought It Was impossible—Here’s the Good News
The City of Richmond, California initiated their CARES program providing for the City of Richmond to exercise eminent domain to seize homes of its residents currently in foreclosure, to pay the banks off for the mortgages owing, and to reschedule the debt such that residents can stay in their homes. The City Council voted to form a joint Powers Authority to enact local principal reduction, and took the next formal step to advance the plan despite threats by Wall Street to file litigation, and to mount efforts to sway public opinion. Following suit, a S.F. City Supervisor announced he would introduce a resolution before the Board of Supervisors in support of Richmond’s innovative effort to save hundreds of underwater borrowers, and to explore the opportunities for San Francisco to adopt a similar program. The campaign got an added boost when a coalition of fair housing groups came to the defense of Richmond and other communities exploring local principle reduction.
Announcing My Last Bay Area Fukushima Address
Before I get to turn my attention to readingsof the Second Edition of Face, my prize-wining debut novel, originally published by Viking in 1985, (and now up for a Neustadt Prize).
Readings are scheduled for
October 8 at 7 Pm at Modern Times in San Francisco, 2919 24th Street at Alabama St. 415 282-9246
October 30 at 7:30 PM in Berkeley at Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Avenue at Dwight (510) 649-1320
And at the Main Library, Oakland, Wed. Nov. 13, Time TBA, 125 14th Street, 510-238-3134.
UN—USA-Eastbay Chapter is sponsoring an evening at Bacheeso’s Restaurant on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on September 24. Hope to see you there!
Read My Blog Posts at:
From the Face epigraph:
The meaning of extinction is...to be sought first not in what each person's own life means to him but in what the world and the people in it mean to him...When that community is all mankind, the loss of the human context is total and no one is left to respond. In facing this...we will either respond to it before it is done...or...pass into oblivion.
— Jonathan Schell