Saturday, June 29, 2013

Many sides to every story

Vacations are great!  I find time to read, an old familiar pastime too often elusive these recent years.
I just finished a fascinating book providing a history of an Apache massacre.  Before you misread that, this was a massacre of approximately 150 Apache people - many women and children.  The massacre is known as the Camp Grant Massacre (or “affair” depending on who was describing it).  The book was written as a history of 4 different people groups involved so explored the incident from the different perspectives.  It was not an easy read, but it was a different presentation in terms of structure and well written, consequently, it was not hard to read either.
But the actual story I was reading notwithstanding - think about how many conflicts involve a number of points of view.  Especially those that go on for many years, decades, even generations.  And then let this closing paragraph from the book soak in to your consciousness.  Let is wash over your soul.  Think about how this might fit in the conflicts in your life and relationships.
“Given the obstacles to merging these fragile and diverse forms of storytelling into a single tale, it is, paradoxically, by venturing in the opposite direction -- by listening for the silences between accounts; by discovering what each genre of recordkeeping cannot tell us -- that we can capture most fully the human struggle to understand our elusive past. What this past asks of us in return is a willingness to recount all our stories -- our darkest tales as well as our most inspiring ones -- and to ponder those stories that violence has silenced forever. For until we recognize our shared capacity for inhumanity, how can we ever hope to tell stories of our mutual humanity?”
― Karl Jacoby, Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History
Interestingly I was in Tucson just over a week ago. I looked at a map to see if I could perhaps find my way over to Aravaipa Canyon (site of the massacre) early in the morning before we had to set off to the meetings of the day. I realized quickly that it was a good hour from where I was staying, and that was not practical.  But I hope one day soon when I am back in Tucson, to be there at dawn and listen for the silence.
"To the Lakota, to the Indian,
        when you listen, you're praying.
                That's a form of prayer, when you listen."
- Russell Means

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