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Who Are These Refugees, These

November 22, 2015

Syrians? And who are we, Americans?

Proponents of an America that is a democratic, progressive, dynamic, and open society are countering extreme xeno phobia (from the ancient Greek) with facts, factual images communicated in the form of photo graph (Grk), writing with light upon the dark plates of the amygdalic mind, the mind gripped by fear. The light reflected from these refugees, as they climb out of small boats, follow the tracks of railroads, stand looking out at us from camps, or wash up, dead, upon the shores of safety and freedom, call upon the mind (“as beauty calling upon the soul”—Coleridge) to re-flect, to think again, and thereby to re-cognize how the humanity of the re-fugees (in flight again, and again), in their extremity, reflects our own. It’s a kind of photo re-conaissance (French) that brings a clarity, an exploration, and a grateful acknowledgement of our humanity, a sighting of land (all in that French word).

It is in our second sighting, the “re” of our language—if we are brave enough to take that risk, that the one soul lives, re-vealing itself to our imagination, our vision, in the re-veiled mystery of its suffering and its compassion. There it is, right before our eyes, if we are American enough, and French enough, to see.

From → democracy, soul

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