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Done in Our Name

by MISSY BEATTIE

This on Facebook:  “See Your 2012 Year in Review.  Look back at your 20 biggest moments from the past year.”

I read the announcement, balked, and refused to click the link.  How dare they?  How dare “it”?  As if this social networking service understands me.

I take this further with a focus on all those ads down the right side of the “wall”—information gathered—proof they’ve tracked my Google searches. That perhaps this man named Zuckerberg is Santa or Christ and has read my lists, the ones I used to check twice and wonder whether I’d be judged naughty or nice.

The Facebook announcement did trigger a reminiscence though, circa 1988—an image and a conversation, first yellowed with age and then highlighted by its decadence.

“Going to a New Year’s party?” I asked my neighbor.

“No, we don’t like New Year’s parties.  For us, this night is a time of reflection.”

“Hmm, no invitations,” I thought.  A few days later, I asked him and his wife to come to our party.  They accepted eagerly.

I suppose they reflected later.  Or not.

“For us this night is a time of reflection.” I think of this now and wonder about the other 364 or 365 days, giving or taking a “leap,” as if the one evening is special, the hours set aside for scrutiny.

Let us reflect daily on the children who are starving, dying, and all who suffer in the name of Western capitalist hegemony.

We are the invading army, the victimizers, the conquerors, sent to repress, torture, rape, loot, and murder while laying waste to environments, cultures, futures.

These are the big moments. Indeed. And they are not just instances from the year 2012, times that have passed.  This year, like so many others, represents the carnage we sanction with our vote, our tax dollars, our participation in corruption, a system of greed.

And we know. We know what is being done in our names.  Instead of raising a glass of bubbly, we should drink the tears of those who have lost so much to U.S. Empire.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore or less:missybeat@gmail.com

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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