Open letter to the middle class

And the war goes on. And we continue to play our part, that of the oppressor. Oppressing without intention, dominating without realization, continuing without vision.

So, we say we’re not racist, we’re not sexist, we’re not homophobic, we say we care about the environment and we believe in peace and love (some of us, anyway, perhaps this is a letter for liberals).

Well, our actions say we are hypocrites. We are liars and thieves, murderers, rapists and hate mongers.

To all those who say we have no voice:

Our voice roars across the land, plummets into the waters, shouts into the skies, with a tongue of death and devastation. Our voice is the loudest of all, and we don’t even hear it. Our voice is heard on every continent and in every ocean. It screams out in the language of the oppressor. It has no message except, “submit!” Our voice is heard by all, one way or another. It is heard in third world coffee plantations. It is heard in the fields of migrant workers. It is heard in the sweatshops, in the ghettos, in the factories, on the assembly lines, in prisons everywhere, in the dying forests, in the poisoned rivers, in the stained skies, in the desecrated mountains and canyons, in the shanty towns, in the sex clubs, in the dark alleys and in the light ones too. It is heard on reservations and villages. It is heard as the troops march forward. It is heard as another mother’s daughter dies of gunshot and another son dies of diarrhea and another father dies for speaking and another mother dies from exhaustion, from being ignored and from not being allowed to live in the first place.

Our voice is deafening. It screams at the tear-stained faces of starving children without even looking them in the eyes. Our voice reeks of rape, theft, poison and murder. Our voice knows no sympathy; how can it when it does not see who or what it screams at? Our voice is heard by everyone but ourselves. We hear nothing but the endless droning on and on of the talking heads and the sound bites, the laugh tracks and our own never-ending ego-maniacal psychobabble on and on and on and on.

Our voice is not the only voice, not even the only one that is heard around the globe. There is another much more humble and quiet voice. It whispers a message of its own, “respect and dignity.” It speaks with a mortal conviction to love and freedom. To hear it over our own incessant screaming requires more attention for us than most others.

To hear a tree’s leaves reaching for the sun over the chainsaw’s ripping.

To hear the stars singing over the smokestacks billowing.

To hear the wolf’s pads running over the helicopter’s blades chopping.

To hear the cries for help over the bombs exploding.

To hear the heartbeats of a million dying children over the good business news of the day.

To hear the parents’ tears over the metal doors latching shut.

To hear the forest’s roots being torn from the ground over the bulldozers’ crushing treads.

To hear the ancients’ wisdom over the leaders’ ploys.

To hear the bear’s last breath over the shotgun’s blast.

To hear the seeds bursting open beneath the concrete.

To hear the truth between the li(n)es.

To hear truth’s humble sincerity over lie’s false pride.

To hear children’s loneliness over the cartoons’ and games’ bright colors and quick actions.

To hear the people’s dreams over civilization’s nightmares.

To hear the planet suffering over the money press stamping.

To hear the sheep’s baying over the leader’s beckonings.

To hear self control over instant gratification.

To hear the silent request for respect over unchecked, masculine aggression.

To hear our own accountability over friendly fascism’s consumptive luxuries.

To hear subversion over status quo.

To hear genocide’s utter devastation over political rhetoric.

To hear your own soul over the constant presence of the television.

“Our voice has found other ears, different from ours, and who do not try to make words go away or adulterate them. We have found ears that listen to us and make our words their own. This is the surprise for everyone, including us.” Subcomandante Marcos, Zapatista Army for National Liberation