Between 2004-2006, I was really involved in the "Save Darfur" movement.  I co-founded a Regional Darfur Coalition in the Bay Area, moved to NY for 6 months to coordinate participation in a rally for Darfur in Washington DC., and helped to put together a mock UN trial against Omar Al-Bashir for genocide and crimes against humanity.  I could hardly focus on things happening in my own life because I was consumed by what was happening in Sudan.

I am ashamed to say that was 8 years ago.  At the time, we knew that the statistics were wrong - we'd say "over 200,000 dead", even though we knew that the body count was much higher.  Ted and I watched a piece on 60 minutes about Darfur a couple of nights ago that gave the same statistic - a statistic that remains static because nobody can actually confirm how many more have been killed or have died as a consequence of being displaced.

I was watching the piece and I couldn't stop crying.  I stopped being involved in the movement because it felt useless - nobody was listening anyway.  I stopped being involved because I wasn't comfortable with the communities of activity in Los Angeles, where I moved in 2006.  I stopped being involved because I became increasingly involved in my own life.  Terrible excuses.

I can't think about it for more than a minute without feeling sick - the number of women who've been raped, the children dying of malnutrition, the villages being burned and the people being killed.  And it is only ONE place on earth where this is happening.  Just one place.  A place that isn't strategically important enough for us to care about ending its genocide.  It's a forgotten place - a place nobody talks about anymore, nobody sends their money there anymore.  It's refugees are forgotten as well - having been given up to 2000 calories a day five years ago, today they are lucky to get 900.

I am so ashamed - is anyone else?

And, it was only three months ago that 230 school girls were kidnapped right from their school in Nigeria.  I saw lots of "#bringbackourgirls" for a while, but I don't anymore.  I guess they are forgotten too.  I guess we cannot dare to imagine what it would be like to be a child taken from their school by terrorists - or the fear and grief and emotional torture of their parents.  We are overcome by our own lives and we forget.  I honestly don't know how to change this in my own life, let alone advise or admonish anyone else for the same.  I just know it makes me feel ashamed.

And frankly, I can't even post this post without acknowledging my grief over the three kidnapped and subsequently murdered Israeli boys, who were finally found yesterday, buried under some rocks.  Their parents are getting all of the messages we'd expect - about how their sons death brought together an international community, about how everyone they know is going to hug their kids tighter, about how they should be comforted by the Mourners of Zion (aren't THEY the Mourners of Zion?  In this case it actually makes sense because down the road, they will be left to comfort themselves.)  My statement on this one is far from political - I am left wing on Israel - very much for a two state solution - very uncomfortable with settlements - you can even quote me on that.  But I am so sad to think of three young boys hitchhiking (something I've done in Israel too many times to count), being picked up, scared out of their minds, and then murdered.  #bringbackourboys no longer.  They are gone forever.

And - I know these things don't all tie together perfectly.  They do for me - I just have a hard time articulating it.  But, I often wonder why it seems like so many people in my life have forgotten Maxie - and then I remember that he was just one little boy, just one baby, and he wasn't kidnapped or murdered or tortured, and STILL my life ended on that day that he stopped breathing.  And I want so much for him to be remembered.  SO MUCH.  But, I can't even step away from it long enough to remember the suffering that surrounds us all every single day.

Sometimes it really all seems too cruel, too much, too unjust.  Maybe all we can do to preserve our own sanity is to forget.  I just refuse is all.  I won't forget any of it.  I couldn't even if I tried.


Christina said...

Hi Abby,
I have been reading your blog for quite awhile. I think since Mo was about 7 months old or so. My son is his age, within a few weeks. Pretty sure I found your blog linked via Molly Jackson's way back when. Anyway, I have tried posting a long comment/introduction before and it got eaten by cyberspace. My apologies for being a lurker so long. I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your posts and read every single one. How brave I think you are, and how much I hate that you are because of what it means you're going through every day. I want you know that I love "knowing" Maxie through your blog and I think of him and say a prayer for him and your family from time to time. I lit a candle for him and didn't get around to telling you. There are people out there (like me) who you've never heard of that are thinking of your family and caring about both your boys. Maxie will never be forgotten. You have also changed my reaction and feelings forever on grief and how I should or shouldn't be with anyone in my life going through devastating circumstances. I am one of the irrationally privileged ones who hasn't known a lot of grief first hang and your honesty has radically altered my empathy and made me (I hope) a better friend. Thank you, so much, for your and your husband's generosity of spirit in this space. Mo and Max are precious, amazing boys. I have two of my own (the older one just turned two, my youngest is 6 months) and know that we mama's of boys have it good :) Much love from New England ... CBW

jessica said...

We remember Maxie. Every day. We always will. Love you and your boys. xoxo

Bianca said...

Just wanted to say that I think about Max every single day too, very simply he holds a permanent place in my heart. And it is very much on my mind that we are in July now and Maxie's angel day is near. We miss him so much and love all of you.

Cat Haugen said...

I think you are right. We soon forget tragedy. Perhaps because these tragedies are so horrible, perhaps because it creates feelings that are uncomfortable for some. But mainly I think it's because people don't understand. Because they don't understand or don't take the time to, it becomes an after thought. Maxie will always be remembered. By you, by those who care about you and through us in this blog. I often think of Maxie and I hope he's having fun with my little Preston.

Tiffany said...

((HUGS)) I haven't forgotten him. but i know how you feel. sometimes it just seems like the death of our children is just a fact to other people. we are the ones that live the reality each and every second. other people can disassociate.