Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 1



The Beloved

Tahnee Kirk


“The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence is emptiness and bitterness.” &Mdash;1957 speech, Birth of A New Nation, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Abuela, tell us the story of how Papi died.”

“Ay, queridos, I’ve told you that story a thousand times.”

“Please, please, Abuela, tell it again.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you the story again. One more time.”

 

“It all started when your Papi was just a boy. President Obama led the country for eight years and things were pretty good for us, even though the bank foreclosed on the house your Papi grew up in. We were some of the lucky ones. We moved into an apartment with our little white poodle named Scruffy. Your Papi went to high school across the street, played football and tennis and e-games, and we had a good life. But I was a teacher before the War and I saw that life wasn’t good for everybody in the United States. A lot of my students had parents who were called illegals and some of them, children like you, were called illegals, too. Every single day they feared being arrested and sent to another country where they didn’t want to be. At that time, people like us were being killed by the police for no reason. Your great-grandfather was shot and killed by the police when he was elderly and very ill, yet the police said that they shot him in self-defense. Some of our friends could not get married because they were not hetero. When they finally won that right, there was a new President who took it away again.”

“But why Abuela? Why doesn’t everybody have rights in the United States?”

“Ay, such questions you ask! Me and your Papi and many others asked the same questions. But there are people in the United States who don’t want everyone to have equal rights. The US doesn’t allow women to decide when to have babies and the ill to decide when their suffering is too much to bear. Many people there agree that the government and the church know better than the individual. Perhaps they are right. Their citizens aren’t taught the truth and therefore can’t make good decisions.”

“That’s why you and Papi fought to get away from the US, right Abuela?”

“Yes, mija, that is why we fought. We wanted human rights and freedom for ourselves, our friends, and for future generations. You see ninos, there are two reasons why people fight. The first is because they are stupid and angry. When we lose our tempers and fight, we hurt other people and ourselves. We must not let anger make us stupid. That kind of fighting only makes things worse. But the other reason people fight is for self-defense. There are times when someone wants to hurt others. Then we have to fight smart to defend ourselves and our friends. We fought the War to defend ourselves from those in the US who had been hurting others for a long time and refused to stop.”

“And we fought smart, didn’t we?”

“Si, of course we did. Your Papi was one of the most intelligent. He took over planning the War in the first year of fighting. He saw that we weren’t being as smart as we needed to be to win.”

“That’s when he met Mama, right?”

“Ay, yes. Your Papi never met anyone as smart as he was until her met your Mama. How they argued! Long into the night, after you three were asleep, they argued endlessly about the proper trajectory for the war and philosophies to guide us after the war. They knew that winning the war against the United States wasn’t the end of the struggle. Creating a better society, a place where every person is respected and cared for, that was the goal. The United States wouldn’t let us do that, so we had to fight. Your Papi died fighting for you and all children to live in a better world.”

“That’s how you got your scar, in the battle where he died, isn’t it?”

“Yes, my face carries the scar from that battle. We had infiltrated their Pentagon with a squad of ten other warriors. We planted explosives that would knock out their communication system for weeks but we couldn’t get out, their soldiers were everywhere. Your Papi gave the order to go ahead even though we were still inside. Individual sacrifice for the greater good, that’s what we always said. If we waited too long, the explosives would have been discovered and the final stage of the war would have been prolonged. There were squads all over the US, destroying their major communication systems at the same time. We had already disabled their satellite communications but their ground system functioned too well. Our squad agreed to give our lives rather than watch the death toll on both sides continue to rise. Remember, the combined loss of human life in the War was more than 11,000. That was not only our warriors and US soldiers, but also innocent children just like you, elders, pregnant women, and even animals. No one is safe in war.”

“Will there ever be war again, Abuela?”

“Always the difficult questions! Si, mija, there will probably be war again. Here in the Pacific Union and north in Canada, we settle our differences with peaceful dialogue and negotiations. But we are neighbors with the United States and Mexico, where they do not want to learn the ways of peace. There is still war in the world. But if you keep fighting smart and using the ways of peace to win, your generation will spread peace and someday there will be no more war.”

“Go to sleep, children, and dream of that day. Dream of a world where mamas and papas and children and elders are loved and safe.”


Tahnee Kirk: "I am a forty-plus year old female-identified writer of mixed ethnic background including African, Native-American, and European ancestry. I started writing at the age of seven, after several frustrating years of writer's block. This piece, like all my work, reflects my love for family, justice, and the human race."




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