“Most people seek after what they do not possess and are enslaved by the very things they want to acquire. ”
Day 356 – I was around 11 years old when Anwar Sadat was assassinated. I remember that time period collectively as my pre-teens and many of my memories are filtered through the eyes of a fairly content 10-year-old. I remember teenagers who I knew–older folk, but not too much older–smoked a lot of pot (I discovered this about that time), I remember dancing around our Christmas tree, playing “old-fashioned girl” in my long skirts, singing, I remember gymnastics practices and watching old movies on a black and white television in my room late at night, playing Barbie dolls, and I remember hanging with my school friends (whose home life was much different from mine). I remember the assassination, like I remember John Lennon, a friend’s father going ballistic for no apparent reason (my first inkling of domestic violence), a friend teaching me about kissing (and she was way too knowledgable for a 10-year old), and I remember writing silly poetry with my grandparents on long weekend stays. I remember the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald playing over and over on the radio (gosh, what a long song), and Ted Nugent and I-Robot being played over and over in the afternoons when my parents were at work by my brothers. Reminiscing this time period, in short, brings back mostly happy memories, but also the first reality checks to process. I felt mostly safe, but I remember hearing and seeing that Anwar Sadat was assassinated.
Throughout the school day, I often wonder if any of my pre-teens and adolescents think anything about the world. Consequently and not irrelevantly, this week I began a unit on ancient Greek in World History, having finished–so to speak–Israelites (the book so full of Christian, right-wing propaganda), Mesopotamia, and Egypt. I am busy studying and refreshing my Latin (and ancient Greek) to add Latin K-12 on my teaching certification. I fervently–as I often do–read copious texts about the ancient Mediterranean civilizations, compelled mostly by that ultra-Christian, right-wing propaganda about ancient Israel found in our district’s textbook. What is important for the students to know? Re-examining this ancient world, which produced the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, the Israeli-Palastinian conflict, today’s news of chemical warfare by Turkish forces in Syria (promulgated by Russia, most likely), etc., I begin to question our sense democracy and rebellion, our sense of what will bring about world peace, and how that is achievable given the literally thousands of years which the Middle East has been warring over Jerusalem and borders.
In short (well, not really), there is a lot going on in this read today, Day 356. Rolf relates that Anwar Sadat, imprisoned in the mid-century, used meditation to step back and run through his personal scripts. When he was freed and became a leader, he used these personal scripts to promote peace, and he brought them to the world. Rolf states that “we fulfill the aim of artha when the work that we do, the way we relate to people in our lives, the decisions that we make at every level reflect our deepest beliefs.” Even at 11, I sensed that Anwar Sadat’s assassination was a turning point in my lifetime, a reminder that our peacemakers are true revolutionaries, men and women who must step out of their heads and act in love and service so that others might be liberated from tyranny and the fear that tyrants bring.
No longer do I feel safe in the world as I did back then. Each news story brings much sadness that our world is much divided. In Sadat’s words: “There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, not as many separate ones.” And, so, I feel I must continue to push forward that peace is an alternative and that words can be more powerful than weapons. And that choice of words is true cultivating true nonviolence in the world. #loveisall