Recently I was listening to a panel discussion on NPR on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and war(s) in the Middle East. One of the panelists commented that the U.S. does not speak to a number of countries and that in the last couple of years, when Iran tried to communicate with the U.S. via the Swiss embassy (at time of writing —August 2006— there is no U.S. embassy in Iran), the U.S. reprimanded the Swiss for accepting and attempting to relay the document.
I am writing here as a reflection of what that discussion has stirred in me. I thought: How stupid! How can we make peace, find peace, live in peace, when we won’t even listen to the country we are supposedly wanting peace with. But, over the past weeks I’ve begun observing such a phenomenon right within myself and I am finding a very disunited states right within my head.
I have a number of things I hold dear, things I fear losing: people, ideas of where I think I want to go, ideas of what I might do… But there must be some part of me that is not being heard because I have also become aware of a very dark heaviness on my chest at times. I wake up in the morning sometimes with this heaviness and I just want to get rid of it already, as evidenced by this thickness in my throat and, even sometimes, a desire to throw up, though I don’t. It’s an energy there in my solar plexus, on my heart, in my throat. And as I’ve sat with this more and payed it attention, it seems obvious that there is some part of me not being heard. My Iran is trying to communicate and some part of me wants nothing but to throw it up.
I say I want to know the truth, and yet, some part of me is afraid. I say I want peace in my head and heart, but I don’t want to hear from you, my Iran. I’m afraid of what my Iran might want. I’m afraid of the demands my Iran might put on me. I’m afraid my Iran will tell me I should do something that I don’t want to do. I’m afraid it will tell me I shouldn’t be with someone I love. I’m afraid it will tell me I need to be alone. But I love him, I retort, and I don’t want to be alone. And I love me, and sometimes I love being alone. Like right now sitting in front of my open window with a summer breeze stirring the curtains.
And so it comes to me that I cannot make peace when I have Irans I am not listening to, not talking to. And somehow I can no longer wag my finger so easily at a world at war.