Friday, March 15, 2013

A Dangerous Proposition

In her blog post last Sunday, my friend Heather King ponders war and peace.  She cites an interview she saw in The Sun with former Vietnam veteran and war resistor, S. Brian Willson.  Here is part of that interview conducted by reporter Greg King:

King: In Vietnam you accompanied a South Vietnamese lieutenant into a village that had been napalmed just an hour before. Burned and blown-up bodies of women and children lay scattered about. But when you broke down, the lieutenant couldn't figure out what your problem was. How was his reaction humanly possible?

Willson: I think we're all capable of being in denial of our humanity. And we're all capable of participating in evil.

When I looked into the eyes of a dead woman I saw there, what I experienced wasn't a thought, it was an overwhelming sensation that hit my body. The lieutenant asked me what was wrong, and my brain and nervous system struggled to come up with words. "She's my sister," I finally said. It was just an interpretation of what I felt. It's like when a father goes home and sees his child and just wants to hug her. It's a response that comes out of your whole being. It's love. It has nothing to do with thought.

After reading this, I responded stating that Mr. Willson's comments remind me of those of the grandmother at the end of Flannery's short story, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Though in a different context, the grandmother views her assailant, the Misfit, through the same eyes of love: "Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" And we all know what happens immediately afterwards when she reaches out to touch the Misfit's shoulder.  He blows her away. Heather remarked: "Yes, just like they/we blew Christ away...realizing everyone is our sister and brother is an extremely dangerous proposition."
- Mark

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