March 19, 2006
To bear witnessTopics: Remembering Terri
I had not had in mind to blog about Terri's murder, here during its anniversary. But I have been asked, with other Blogs for Terri writers, to do so.
Whittaker Chambers identified himself as a witness. And many of us, though we did not have first-hand knowledge of Terri's story, found that being a witness from a distance was the best we could do. We prayed, and we watched, and we suffered, through the days of her slow dying, a faint echo of the suffering of her parents.
Perhaps I am not the only one who was told to "move on." We were told to pass by on the other side, to stop talking about it, stop moaning about it, stop looking on. We were reminded, only too truly, that there was nothing we could do. We were even accused of ghoulishness, of a wilful breaking in on the "privacy" of Terri's family, by which, presumably, the accusers meant Michael, since Terri's parents and siblings were eager for the support of watchers like us.
And sometimes, perhaps, we wondered why we were thinking about it so much. We all have lives of our own. There we were, spending our strength in sorrow over a woman we did not personally know, a situation going on somewhere else, and an evil we could not avert. Why suffer? Why think about it? Why bother?
And now, we are being asked to remember, to return and feel an echo of an echo of pain--a recollection of the near-frenzy of unbelieving horror and helpless anger that we felt last year, while she suffered thirst, hour after hour, day after day, while she was slowly and torturously killed to satisfy the malice of one man and a judge's upside-down conception of "justice" and "the rule of law." Why do it? Why look back?
But I say that it is good to remember, as it was good, then, to suffer with Terri and her parents. I do not know what spiritual commerce may be possible. We could hope, then, that we were able by some law of exchange to bear some of their sorrow and pain, to offer something up for them, though we could not know.
Yet even aside from such a hope, it is necessary to tell the truth, to tell it again and again, and not to let it be forgotten. We were, and are, witnesses--we who know that Terri was murdered, that Terri was very much alive, not dead and not dying, until she was deliberately killed, that it is unequivocally wrong to withhold the basic necessities of food and water from the helpless until they die, that this was not a good death. There is value just in saying what we know to be truth, in saying it loudly and unashamedly, even though there will be those who think, for our saying it, that we are kooks and extremists. For if no one speaks the truth, no one will hear it.
So let us not be weary in well-doing and in truth-speaking. Whether there are other results or not--in new legislation, in minds that we know to have been changed--let us still be witnesses.
"And, for success, I ask no more than this,--/To bear unflinching witness to the truth." From James Russell Lowell, "A Glance Behind the Curtain"
Posted by lydia at March 19, 2006 7:26 PM
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