Tuesday, June 23, 2009

40 seconds on youtube

My morbid curiosity, while surfing a networking site, made me watch a 26 year-old woman die in front of a camera after being shot by militia during an Iranian protest.

Watching blood spill from her eyes and mouth, sprawled in shock on the ground, people nearby in grief and panic, I was instantly traumatized; the moment felt like déjà vu in my compliant familiarity of it all; and in that: it made too much sense to disregard it as another casual incident of war in the media, of people blowing people up with suicide bombs, AIDS in Africa.

And for weeks people in New York were sick and scared to death of dying from a sneeze or cough on the subway, breathing into their sleeves, wearing masks, terrified by a swine flu from Mexico.

My thoughts attempting to grapple and digest the incident said: She must've suffered a severe internal injury, she's hemorrhaging through the orifices in her face; and I can't recall where I learned about that particular side-effect of being shot in the chest, since I studied mostly Art in school, but certainly and without a doubt, this was real. Anyone with even half a brain could see that.

This was on youtube, someone filmed this; it wasn't Apocalypse Now; it wasn't some R rated street fight whateversploitation kickboxing flick; and it certainly wasn't ER, or a forensics show with an indignant-gun-happy-tough-guy-cop named Mancinni.

A very disgusting fact about my life is: I watched a beautiful young woman die on a day that I was mad at the weather for not being bright and warm enough to enjoy. On a day I casually discussed boredom as a noxious disease, over a miso soup and fried dumpling dinner, while complaining that my donation-based yoga class was too "extra sweaty" as a reasonable fitness strategy.

What the hell is wrong with me? What the hell is this obnoxious product of idle human waste I've become? It's terrible. And now I can't shake this weight-laced guilt of taking up too much space in society as a worthless, unproductive American.

To think: that tragic scene of real blood and death was displayed on the same medium where I watched David visit the dentist only a few days before. Where in a 7-minute horror film spoof, a few friends and I get shot down and slashed to death by machetes on rural soil by the hands of vicious redneck marauders.

Imagine all the incidents left unrecorded. Undocumented history. Unknown incidents that slide by undetected. This girl had blood pouring from her face. Everyone was screaming. She was at a rally. For Freedom. All recorded on a cellphone camera.

Had Neda ever even heard of youtube? I'm hoping that question's not completely ignorant. But then again, what if she had?

Either way, her dramatic "faces of death" scene has burned a vision of tragedy into the eyes and souls of the world's attention, and in the untimely death of a beautiful, young Iranian protester, a new media martyr is born to stir a drowsy, distracted mass--awake.


steve d said...

Last night, while it was too hot to sleep, I asked myself what do I believe it means to be alive? How am I contributing to the world in any positive or meaningful way other than my dutiful, relatively law-abiding citizenship, taxpayer, pink floydian brick in the wall comfy american lifestyle?

the high class problems that I have...the luxury of being able to contemplate the deeper existential questions; the existence of God or a higher power, the chunks of soul sheared off by my cubicle dwelling knee knocking cowardice to do something daring and brave with my life for fear i might not pay my taxes, the constant distractions like leeches, sucking blood from the bottom of our feet while i view the results of yet one more facebook quiz that someone i knew in high school took...the luxury of having to 'sort through some personal issues' when we don't have to hunt or gather our own food.

in some way i think the developed world's problems are as severe as the developing worlds. the psychological fight for sanity in the advertising saturated, identity reductionistic subliminal mindfuck that we deal with...is pretty fucking tough to navigate. constantly being told we can have it 'our way' but also being told that if you have this or that 'their way is better'.

you wrote:

"What the hell is this obnoxious product of idle human waste I've become? It's terrible. And I feel this weight-laced guilt to be the one who's healthy and alive"

so, now what?

Sabra Embury said...

"So now what"'s much easier to question than it is to answer.

This is how others get off on complaining as their effort of actually doing something without coming up solutions to neutralize the problem.

I suppose, feeling the guilt, I could blow myself up and say it's my anti-materialism campaign to take up less space as a consumer, but I don't love America THAT MUCH.

I need to try to be less distracted by the internet; that's where I start. The internet's a huge crackpipe. I can't even get much writing or reading done anymore because of it; and I believe, like many others should believe about themselves, that I've got something to say, and need to say it.

This is where the adjustments will begin, in my trying to focus and pay attention to what's going on on a larger scale versus what's going on in my friends of friends photo albums.

Sabra Embury said...

I like what you had to say.

steve d said...

i whole heartedly agree about the internet being a megaduty crackpipe. especially the social networking sites. i agree with that is where the first adjustments need to be made...becoming more aware of what your attention and energy is given to. i did the same thing about a year ago with going to bars and it has been a major change...all the time and energy i suddenly had available.

i do believe that you have something to say and will continue to try to nudge you to write and write some more.

it was good to read something by you, that you were really affected by and stirred you up.

Ken Baumann said...

I think that these words are a worthy effort, an answer to 'So What Now?'

I think that as citizens in this very privileged situation in time & place, we should focus on utilizing the tools that can amplify our voice; the internet. I think that speaking about your own subjective interpretation of tragedy can be a fractal that emits a beautiful and affecting light.

'becoming more aware of what your attention and energy is given to.'

Exactly. That's half the battle, and a life-long battle at that. The continual refinement, rerouting.

It's so damn hard to rewire the brain to not get caught up in petty and temporary problems (will I worry about this in a year? a month, even?) and to not fall into the trap of consumption and sheep-human strata. But just know that events like this, horrible motion, horrible image, is affecting many, this 'I' included.

Let's try harder. I'm right here with you.

Ken Baumann said...

typos galore. but does that matter?

Sabra Embury said...

You're both beautiful thinkers. Typos or no (I make them all the time) the thoughtful points made in this forum are tremendous.

Sabra Embury said...

You're both beautiful thinkers. Typos or no (I make them all the time) the thoughtful points made in this forum are tremendous.

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