July 21st, 2008
Make yourself a cuppa and sit down for a read of Dalry’s story, a circle traveled around the world from fire to freedom…
Freedom is remembering who you are! Seeds of the future are sown in the past.
IT SEEMS THAT I HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FINISH SOMETHING AND TO INITIATE SOMETHING ELSE! IF AFTER YOU HAVE READ THIS YOU FEEL TO PASS IT ON TO OTHERS… OR TO INITIATE A FREEDOM NETWORK OR FREEDOM ACTIVITIES YOURSELF…….freedom from fear……freedom from aggression……..freedom from want….freedom from hunger….freedom to be yourself……THAT WOULD BE WONDERFUL!
THIS IN BRIEF….TELLS OF HOW THE PAST BECAME THE FUTURE!
It was back in October 1974 I when I decided to run away. With good reason mind you! I had no wish to be injured again by my husband in one of his bouts of drunken rage. A few days previously it had occurred to me that if Jews could survive in the wilderness for 40 years on manna alone, I could manage in the Australian wilderness for forty days on $80.00 dollars because that’s all I had.
I set off on the evening of the 7th of October in pouring rain and took a route heading due North from Melbourne. Sure enough within a few days I found myself tucked safely away in a clearing within Cooee of mysterious Red George in the Northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia, where the high cliffs are scored with hundreds of chippings said to have been made by powerful Aborigine Mimi spirits….the perfect location to undertake a 10 day distilled water fast. No food. No people. Just me…. the Aborigine elders…the Mimis…and the others.
From there I made my way on foot, walking from dawn to dark in a straight line which took me initially through the door of the Copley Roadhouse, and eventually some months later through the front door of Tom Agnew’s house. Tom had arrived in the fifties from Ireland, and since then had made a monumental contribution to opening up the outback; first by introducing Landrovers to the desert and later by engaging in a multitude of contracts involving his precious toys….front end loaders…graders…bulldozers… and whatever else was required for the job in hand……
Came the day when the current requirement involved an explosives licence, I found myself holed up in an Adelaide motel for a weekend coaching Tom from the Explosives handbook. Come Monday morning, within the hour the test was done. Licence in hand Tom oversaw the loading of the car and trailer with explosives and we were soon on our way back to Copley.
A few miles on a motorist drives up beside the car and yells “Hey mate! Check out the tail light on the trailer. Must be blown or something.” We pull over. Tom swears and tears at his hair. Fiddles with the light. Gets back in the driver’s seat. An hour later a car comes alongside “Hey! Are you trying to commit suicide or something? You could kill somebody driving explosives without a tail light.” Tom swears and tears at his hair. Juggles the tail light. Gets back in. A hundred miles on a car comes alongside, “For Chris sake get that tail light fixed before you blow someone up.” And so it goes……!
For the next few weeks I assisted Tom with preparing the holes, laying the explosives, priming the fuses and photographing the big bangs.
Years pass! Tom stays in Copley but I move on…and on….and on!
Come Monday, June 30, 2008……I’m asleep in my apartment in Malaysia.
They come to me …the dead people who had been blown up in the suicide bombing I’d been witness to in Jerusalem. They surge into my consciousness on the crest of a cleansing wave. When they have my attention they speak as one. ‘We’re so pleased that you’ve finally got it right ….what you’ve written about the bombing. Now at last we can move!
I ask the question that’s been on my mind for 6 years “What about the… the bomber….”
In one voice they reply “The young woman who fate chose as the instrument? She’s here with us……she’s one of us… she has forgiven and been forgiven. She has taken responsibility for her life….and for her death. Now she is free! That’s why we’ve come. To let the world know…..not just humans but the WHOLE WORLD and EVERYTHING ON IT….. that if WE can forgive THEY CAN FORGIVE!”
The day in question is Friday the 12 th of April 2002. I arrived in Israel on the 4th. For the past week, my exploration of this fabled city has taken me far afield on foot. Everything in Israel closes early on Friday afternoon so that the Jewish people living here can prepare for Shabbat, which I’ve heard mention of but not yet had explained to me. From what I’ve learnt so far, Friday night is their holiest night of the week. Everyone visits their family for a special dinner. Earlier on this balmy spring afternoon I munched on a shwarma of lamb and salad rolled in flat bread…very tasty and surprisingly filling. Since then I’ve been resting in the shade of a tree with a book. The food, the warmth of the sun, and a sense of wonder that I’m actually in Jerusalem, have left me feeling deliciously content, sort of snoozy and relaxed. Because I’ve been travelling alone through a dozen or so different countries for the past few years I’m not up with current events, so a loud boom catches me completely off guard! The book falls from my hands. I let out an involuntary gasp. Give a little giggle. Could that be an explosion? Here! In the heart of Jerusalem one of the most sacred cities in the world? I shake my head. Can’t be! For what seems an age I sit paralysed while the reverberations echo in my bones!
I reach for the book. Good grief my hand is shaking. I pick up the book intending to resume reading, but in less than 10 heartbeats the sirens begin. The sound of sirens echoes eerily in the empty streets. Lots of sirens. They’re coming closer. Off to the left, then round to the other end of the nearby market. Here in my little island of calm I detect no outward change yet the sirens go on and on… I think “My God that must have been one hell of a pile up!”
The sirens stop. I stare into space waiting. Waiting for what? A voice breaks the silence. My own voice. Quite matter of factly I comment. ‘No question! That sort of racket could only have been caused by a traffic pile up. Not far away either.’ By now I’ve realized that the accident must have been very close by indeed. ‘And it must have involved a great number of people to warrant so many ambulances.’
Since my peace has been shattered I decide to call it a day and begin my trek back to the hostel. As I’m a stranger I have no idea where I am, but start out in the general direction. This takes me through the deserted market area. In contrast to the earlier hustle and bustle of a busy Friday morning the market broods, silent and empty. As I walk between the abandoned stalls everything seems normal. End of day rubbish and discards litter the floor. Display tables stand askew. On some, neglected cartons hold a few pieces of unsold produce. An old lady forages for choice left overs. A man in a torn sweater scrabbles among the discards, slipping a few pieces of fruit into a cloth bag. He ducks his head in greeting as I pass and holds out a couple of oranges, an apple and a pear for my inspection. We exchange a conspiratorial smile. I send him love.
Why is the far end of the market blocked? A solid plug of people, less than a dozen are blocking passage out to the main road. As my feet are drawn irresistibly to that beckoning far end, someone barks a command. The group ahead breaks up in disorder enabling me to move forward into the space vacated, and I see. Dear God, I see! Some unknown person has just blown themself and many others to bits. Quite literally to bits! Big bits, small bits, tiny bits! Less than twenty minutes ago these bits and pieces were people. Alive! Breathing! I stand rooted. Someone behind me erects a makeshift barrier. Somehow I’m incorporated into the barrier. If any one tried to move me I would shatter. As a mirror of events I’ve already shattered.
Death does have a smell. Death by explosion has a distinctive smell. A smell that catches you up in a noxious embrace! Metallic! Cloying! Claustrophobic! Enclosed in my shroud of stillness I’m faintly aware of movement on the ground ahead of me. People sitting, lying, bending, lifting! Some of the people on the ground are quite small. Children!
Ah! I perceive now who these oddly assorted people are. Medical officers are sorting out the dead from the wounded. Some of these ‘people’ are actually dead bodies. The wounded are being attended to first. I watch as ambulances load and leave. A constant stream …… not just ambulances either. Other vehicles stand by too! Ah! And I perceive who THESE people are. They’re Emergency Services personnel and Police. There are other people as well, dressed in white. They wear gloves and carry plastic bags. They are picking up stuff with big tweezers, I’m not sure what, and putting it into the bags. Can this be evidence????? What sort of evidence??
They sweep around before me in a frenetic mass, all these different categories of people. A man in a boiler suit firmly ushers me aside. He speaks in Hebrew. I don’t respond immediately so someone takes me gently by the shoulders and shifts me back a pace or two so that they can sling a rope across to confine this area. I cry quietly on and off. Seems silly really; nobody else is crying.
In a surprisingly short time crises resolves into orderly hurry and bustle, as dead and injured are examined, treated, and carried away. Officialdom swiftly cordons off the rest of the decimated area. The first wave of media arrives! Too late! There’s nothing left of the carnage but small remnants. Even the smell has dissipated.
Function is beginning to return to my limbs but I’m still not capable of intentional movement. In any case there is no passage. I watch the men in white bring over a ladder and stand it against the blackened wooden post of the blasted awning. One man climbs the ladder while another holds it steady. Tatters of canvas flutter from the rim of the awning all the way around 3 sides. The man in white is delicately removing them with his tweezers….. Hang on! I gasp in awe. So that’s what shredded human flesh looks like after an explosion. Just like tattered canvas. I stand there, my faculties busy recording the scene in all its horror and fascination – missing nothing! My eyes – my ears – all my senses, all my feelings, every last sub atomic particle of me are on full alert! But I’m not there! I’m not anywhere any more. Fractured bits of me have gone away somewhere into blank untenanted areas of myself that I didn’t know existed before. The animal part of me has curled up in a corner, confused and hiding. The child is frightened but curious. The teenager is on a high….excited by the horror. The daughter in me is stoking up righteous anger not only at my own parents but at all parents everywhere. The mother is building up hatred of mother hood. The very act of conceiving a child seems like a desecration in the face of the carnage I’m witnessing – that children can grow up to do this to each other!
Eventually I find my way out on to the footpath. Lean against a lamp post. Watch. Camera men and reporters rush around seeking….! What ARE they seeking? Gruesome remains? An interview with a survivor? What about me? What am I seeking? Perhaps I was called here as a witness. So WHO is the witness, the woman in me? There is no woman, there’s just a granny! A common run of the mill granny, one of millions. Ah! It was SHE who was called here as a witness! But WHY? Why her? She’s not wise. She not special. She’s not even particularly knowledgeable. She certainly has no influence! Just a common run of the mill grandmother. Maybe it’s because she’s been tempered by life to be ….to be what….Impartial? Resolute? Formidable? Implacable….NO! No! No! No! She was called here for no other reason than that she is just a common run of the mill grandmother…ONE grandmother with millions of faces.
A few young Jewish men dressed in black trousers and white shirts, with little black caps on their heads, make brief but voluble protest. Cameramen gather to film them momentarily while they chant. Then the police come over and move them further away. Several reporters swoop on a man dressed in brown corduroy. He is a ‘somebody’ and he speaks English. Because I’m nearby I overhear what he says. My heart tells me that silence would perhaps be more appropriate. Will his banal words conclusively address the cause, conclusively alleviate the effect? Silence! Better to opt for silence.
One of the wounded limps by in the care of friends or family! He is barefoot and wearing shorts. The white bandages seem grotesquely out of place against the tanned skin, grubby bare feet, and bloodstained torso. Strange! It’s he who is trying to jolly his friends along. To reassure them. Shouldn’t they be reassuring him?
To one who is observing, everything seems to move very slowly, like watching the ocean and waiting for the seventh wave. Someone gets in the bus. Starts it up. Although the body of the bus is burnt out, mangled and contorted, quite illogically the motor still works. Laboriously the tortured shell of steel and rubber, kerthump kerthumps its way down the road a little. Now the final remnants of human flesh and other evidence can be collected into the plastic bags. In a dream I trail behind the bus doing a wide detour around the block to avoid the flimsy barricade. Why has it become so imperative that I get close to the bus? I approach timidly. Already the wreck has been _cordoned off in its new location by a band of orange tape. I stand and pay homage to the contorted steel, like soldiers do when they play the last post.
Returned to the scene of the desecration I watch fascinated until the last ambulance sighs its retreat. Until the burnt remains of the awning are removed. Until the crowd disperses! Until the media leave! Until the last scrap of flesh has been scooped up! Until the barriers are removed enabling traffic to resume! Until everyone has gone and the desecrated bus stop is restored to a semblance of normality! Only then, when the area is completely empty am I drawn to the mystifying space left by the bus. Are they still there? The people who died. I’m struck by a nagging thought, “How will the men in white know which of those bits of flesh they collected belonged to the bomber?”
I observe myself from a distance. A part of ME must have died too because I feel nothing. At some point my feelings got washed away in a flood of disbelief yet all through the process I’ve been broadcasting love. Filling the bus with love and all the space around. Filling the whole market with love. When I’m satisfied that I have done all I can I move on, leaving that part of myself behind to comfort the dead.
JUNE 22nd 2008
Now here on the other side of the world the dead have come to comfort me. When I start to shudder and blubber they offer reassurance, ‘Yes! Cry! Cry till you laugh. Tears and laughter unite and strengthen us. NOW LISTEN CAREFULLY! We who were killed in explosions intend to free this planet ….once and for all…from belief in victim hood. We are enough now to make it happen.” ENOUGH! I look around me. Dear god there are millions……all of them at one time or another blown to pieces.
I brush away the tears and sit up in bed…. still perplexed…..still uncertain. All very well for them! They are numberless. I am only one! It comes out as a croak. “What do you people want of me? I’m weak and old……I’ve exhausted my resources…… I have nothing left to offer. ” As one voice they over ride my protest “Call for a FREEDOM WEEK! One for all and all for one!”
“A FREEDOM WEEK?”
“Yes! A FREEDOM WEEK! This is what you’re to send out: ON BEHALF OF ALL THOSE OF US WHO MET A VIOLENT END…….WE CALL ON YOU THE LIVING TO INITIATE A FREEDOM WEEK to conclude on the 11.11.2011.”
“The eleventh of the eleventh of the eleventh! But that’s more than 2 years away!”
“Never mind! It will take that long. In the meantime EACH INDIVIDUAL can have his or her OWN FREEDOM WEEK, maybe one week a month even. KIDS WILL JUST LOVE THE IDEA OF A FREEDOM WEEK………!”
“EXACTLY! What you need for this is a kid …..not a worn out granny!”
“………..THEN BIT BY BIT INDIVIDUALS WILL JOIN UP TO HAVE GROUP FREEDOM WEEKS! AND THEN COMMUNITY FREEDOM WEEKS! AND THEN NATIONAL FREEDOM WEEKS! DON’T WORRY! IT WILL GROW! …..THE SEEDS WILL BE BLOWN TO THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH ON THE WINDS OF FREEDOM TO CREATE A LOVELY GARDEN…A GARDEN OF DREAMS COME TRUE!”
“OK! So how will it work?
“DAY 1-PERSONAL SOVERIGNTY…
2- ACKNOWLEDGING PERSONAL SOVERIGNTY WITHIN THE FAMILY…
3-EXTENDING PERSONAL SOVERIGNTY TO FRIENDS AND WORKMATES …
4- FREEDOM WITHIN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD AND COMMUNITY…
5-FREEDOM WITHIN THE NATION…
6-FREEDOM BETWEEN NATIONS …
7-FREEDOM WITHIN THE COSMOS.