A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || September 14, 2001 || 11:46 pm

I was eight years old when the American hostages were taken in Iran. This is the first memory I have of being conscious of world events and our part in them. I thought of those people often….more frequently than most eight-year-olds, I imagine. I asked question after question of my parents, and to their credit, they were quite honest with me.

To an extent, Ayatollah Khomeini fascinated me. I marvelled at how someone who looked so granfatherly and biblical could be so unrelenting and heavy-handed where other people –people who had families and lives and were so far away from home for so long– were concerned. And why did he think that a few lousy bombs mattered in comparison?

One day in the midst of all my ruminations about the whole situation I drew a picture of Khomeini and in it I gave him blue eyes. The eyes were kind of squinty and were devoid of compassion, but they were blue….perhaps to remind me that he was a person, just like me, and not some great infallible presence that held sway over the people that controlled 52 American lives for a time. With the help of a little artistic license, I garbed him all in white, his caftan and turban matching his beard, the little patches of gray representing folds in the cloth. No boogeymen here….

At the time, I had a set of bunkbeds in my room. I found it quite fun to have them all to myself; I randomly moved from the top bunk to the bottom and back again to pass my sleeping hours. Upon drawing my picture of the Ayatollah, however, I began to camp in the lower bunk nightly so that I could look up at the colored-pencil image of him, which I had carefully taped to the bottom slats of the upper bunk.

Each night I would stare at the picture, beseeching Khomeini silently to give the word and let the people from the embassy go. I directed every ounce of the power of my thoughts at his being. I would ask God to please bend Khomeini’s heart and then would expend every ounce of compassion and pleading in my own trying to somehow connect with the man on a subconcious level. The power of absolute belief, the courageous defiance of a staunch faith. I possessed them both.

I bought a skein of yellow yarn with my allowance. Each Sunday afternoon, I would cut five equal pieces from it and have one of my parents tie a bow on each digit of my right hand. Each weekday I would remove a piece of yarn before my nightly bath and place it into a shoebox and then make a hash mark on the inside of the lid. I do recall sighing a lot as dirty yellow bits of fluff gathered in the cardboard home and pale rings formed around the base of my fingers.

Give me a face now. My skills with colored pencils haven’t much surpassed those I had in second grade, but I would sit and form the lines nonetheless. Give me the image of the person that for sure engineered this thing so that I can garb them in white and see them as a person and stop being so angry and so afraid for my own children, who are the same age at this tragedy as I was at that one.

And God help them and God help me, because right now all I see is some entity void of any real structure, swathed in the red of their own blood and drowning in hatred.

Nobody worked it out »

Don´t be shy. Lay it on me.

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