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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tim Hetherington-Bearing Witness


Broad Street & the Old Executive Grounds ©Tim Hetherington



Wedding Parties at Centennial Pavilion ©Tim Hetherington


When I select a piece of literature- a poem, a short story, a lesson about commas- for my young students and my own children, I do so with the explicit goal of moving them  forward on their journey of learning about themselves and their world.   I am an ideologue with an agenda; with a passion for people to discover not my truth, but a truth about the underbelly of this fat, beautiful world.  And I am most humbled and stripped of all swagger by those who seek not only to discover something new and uncomfortable, but to also bear witness to humanity when it has fallen and crawled into darkness. I am equally awed by those who purposefully seeks to affirm any dignity left standing.  This is what photojournalist Tim Hetherington did and this is why his death today in Libya was met with much sadness.  

Listen to him and learn how he navigated our perilous place as one who bears witness for us.

Source: New York Times/ June 2, 2009

In Defense of Flowers
By Octavia McBride-Ahebee

When I smell the wind of an AK-47
before it sounds its name
before it travels in rounds of seconds
splintering the thoughts of sterile termites
pushing through the destiny of evil
in search of me

I run to hide in the voluminous fury of a jasmine shrub in bloom
its pale butter blossoms shield me
from the bloodletting
bathing its roots

I snort, in silent gulps, which claim my dignity
the calming splendor of the jasmine’s bouquet

I am rescued
for an instance
from a hunter high
on the dizziness of his own deprivation

I am rescued
from my brother
by a performed bush

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