Let man be noble
Generous and good
Goethe as quoted by Holocaust survivor
Gerda Weissmann upon release from hell
We all know the saying, “write what you know.” It’s why I have pages and pages about the Chinook winds battling against the foundations of my home here in Bear Valley, Anchorage. Or why, if I close my eyes, I can write and tell you I see. It’s the bifocal line in my grandfather’s glasses and that crinkle of the corner in the corner of his eyes that let me know he was up to something good.
I can give an inning-by-inning encapsulation of Game Seven of the World Series -- the only one that mattered -- when the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians after ten innings of hope, exasperation, and then unadulterated joy. I can write about the click of a dog’s toenails on the oak floor in the bedroom at this very moment. And I can tell you about a relatively not- so-long-ago moment when Abbie’s giggle ripped through the years of want for a child.
But that isn’t what I want to write about – not today.
I want to write and ask why people forget. I want to know what happened to the care and the outrage. I want to sneak into the minds of one of the 109 living (we think) human beings (just a few days ago we said 136) held captive in Gaza so I can convey his or her thought at this very moment. Is it about his want of oxygen in tunnels so deep he wonders when his lungs might just give out? Is it her compartmentalizing the pain of another sexual attack, one in which she proclaims at this very moment, “that’s not my body, that’s not my body, that’s not.”
It is the 101st day since October 7, 2023. And despite my two hours of searching for new stories or websites, I can’t find a list of all of the names of the people still in Hamas captivity. I want to honor them, declare their names in a poem of remembrance and outrage. But I can only find:
Orion Hernandez Radoux:
Almog Meir Jan
Just nine. I know there are more.
Just yesterday I could have listed
Yosi Sharabi and
But their gone now. Hamas made this girl ---
Noa Aragamani -- listed above -- proclaim their deaths in a Hunger Games style video released just today.
I can find photos for the remainder of the original 136, twenty-seven now dead counting Yosi and Itai:
But I can’t find their names. So, of the remaining 98 of the 109, I ask
Are they alone? What do they eat? What do they wear? And how do they sleep? When do they shower? And who watches them shower? Do they cry still or just sit in defeat waiting for death? Do their mothers visit them in their dreams? Do they still feel their father’s arms around them? And what are their names?
We all know the saying, “Write what you know.” Here is what know. Despair, when I have the choice to let it trickle in. Want, for the ability to do just one small thing from them, such as list their names. Fury, at stupidity of college students ignorant of history and moral sanity. And outrage, for the lack of global outrage.