Friday, July 25, 2014

Violence is even hitting close to home

Violence is even hitting close to home


With the daily reports of the horrors inflicted on Gaza and airplanes falling out of the sky, there is the question of what can one do?  Social media has been a godsend.  Although Russia still dupes its citizens, we learned almost immediately that the Ukrainian separatists armed by Russia shot down Malaysian flight MH 17. At least we did in the international media; the US media took much longer.  If you stick to reporting that isn’t the standard US newscasts, you can find out what is happening in Gaza and let others know.  That might help change the impressions of a public that has always been fed one point of view.  Here’s a moving article by a Jewish writer living in Canada:


The next question is what to do about our local neighborhoods.  Lately, Buffalo (where I’m living) has undergone what the media calls a renaissance. 


At the same time there were a series of rapes in what are among the most gentrified neighborhoods in the city.  I’ve heard nothing more except for the arrest of one of the perpetrators.   The website, which tracks crime statistics, lists even more sexual assaults in the City since late last month:

•07/07/2014 | 300 Block FOX ST

•07/07/2014 | 1100 Block MAIN

•07/06/2014 | 1 Block KINGSLEY ST

•07/05/2014 | 300 Block BRECKENRIDGE ST...

•07/05/2014 | ELMWOOD AV & ALLEN ST

•07/02/2014 | 400 Block DELAWARE AV

•06/29/2014 | 200 Block ALLEN ST

•06/29/2014 | 1 Block FAY ST

•06/29/2014 | UNKNOWN & NIAGARA

•06/29/2014 | 300 Block W FERRY ST

•06/28/2014 | 100 Block HIGH ST

And unfortunately more.

Yesterday I found out about 3 violent assaults in the same neighborhood as the one where some of the rapes took place.  Thanks to the neighborhood association which has put out this information.  Otherwise, I don’t think many of us would even know what is going on at night. Has it always been this way?  Or is social media making us more aware and able to take more precautions?  Is the violence a backlash in the 4th poorest city in the US?  Is it some sort of gang initiation?  The property crimes can be connected to poverty but the rapes?  There are more questions than answers here.  Fortunately, there are women who organize free self-defense classes and marches at night but how many women are afraid now and how is that limiting our lives?

Here's a poem that I usually open my poetry readings with and will probably continue to do so:


Past knots and tendons,


I look


to bone


and see,


 centuries past.


my face shrivels


as flames rise higher.


The point of a sword


slashes my belly.


Today, head to toe in black,


I barely breathe,


walk the requisite


steps behind.


The open hand


of my husband


reddens my cheek.


In  India and China


girls form


the Greek chorus,


and chant,


Never born,


Never born.

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