Grasping just checking in just checking in. i don't have anything to say really. just needed to connect. hope you're well i called mom this morning to get her to check on you. she told me earlier this evening that she had heard from both of you so i decided not to worry. i hope you all are settling, not in too much shock. i just wanted you all to know you were on my mind. i'm so glad you're ok. hey lady, thanks for checking in. i almost didn't come to check email today, but needed to know what was going on. my folks are fine. we're fine. my auntie is fine. i know a whole lot of people who are unaccounted for, but the people i'm closest to, that i can think of at the moment anyway, are fine. oh well, there are some more people i haven't heard from yet. i feel, though, that they are untouched. how are all your people? i'm so worried about what's going to happen next, all this macho public dick holding the senate and president are doing. this looks like it's gonna go wronger. still in shock. love and peace peace peace so glad you all were ok. *yes* i'm up north, finally, still getting settled. boxes everywhere, etc. i'll write more in a bit. just glad to hear from you. i, too, am frightened about who is in the rubble. and what this country is going to do next. love and love and blessings hey all, my classes were hard, too. i spent about half of each of my classes talking about the attack. so many kids from new haven have family who work in ny. one of my students' father was working in the world trade center on the 15th floor. he made it home safe, but, woah. her best friend works there, too, and she hasn't heard from her. another student said her old roommate who is lebanese is afraid for her life and is telling people she's greek. she has a lot of friends and family in new york fears for them. her brother was beaten up last night. in my second class, one brother is in the military and is afraid he is about to get called in. i'm not sure if this is your correct email or not, i just thought i would try to contact you. mom said she talked to you the other day. i have been thinking of you every day. i hope you are safe and coping with these crazy times. i'm holding my breath. hoping for a peaceful resolution. my love to all of you. i was just say ing on the way to check email that i didn't think this thing had really hit me yet. reading all your responses, the tears are coming. i knew i was worried but i didn't know what it would mean to hear from you. thankyou thankyou thankyou for checking in. thankyou thankyou thankyou for being okay, you precious, necessary people. please write, those of you who haven't. Auntie, It's good to hear from you. Yes, my mother told me she had spoken with you. I just wanted to make contact for myself. I am so proud of the work you have done in Afghanistan and also so glad that you are returning now to Nairobi. i am shocked, but not really shocked. i'm worried, especially for arab, arab-looking, and muslim people. i said a prayer many many times for arab, arab-looking, and muslim people yesterday. i'm really scared about the possibility of world war 3, macho posturing, etc. what else? waiting. wanting to hear from more people in ny. waiting to hear all the numbers that are sure to come. to have to hear and deal with the pain, the mourning. i have a lot of anger about the things i'm hearing about 'american' lives. shit. lives are lives. trying not to say that i see more death and destruction coming. really angry about things. angry about the way some people can talk of war at a time like this. we haven't even gotten people from under the fucking rubble yet and you want to blow people up! have we learned *nothing*? we don't even know who did this yet. fuck. we are in trouble. love you all. trying to hold on. i'm dealing with a lot of anger over the violent patriotism and public macho bs i've heard so much of since yesterday. at the same time, i'm struggling with my desire not to be touched by this personally, to see the people i know come out alive, the people people i know know, etc. seems like a vicious cycle, but somehow there is a difference. The news of your baby girl's birth is so heartwarming in these trying times. what a beautiful letter thank you for sending it let's say a little prayer to thank god all of us are ok. (are we? i'm imagining we are.) love and love and love and light and peace. Actually, I think of you both all the time, but of course now. One of my students is in the military and we've been talking about things. I hadn't thought of you getting hate mail. I don't know why not. That has got to be crazy. Scary. As if this situation isn't scary enough. I try to talk to my students about things like this--living with the reality of massive loss of human life--to my students. Some of them are with me. Some of them can only think about getting the economy up and running again. "To show them," they say, "Americans can't be stopped." It's frightening. And it hurts to think that after experiencing something like we've just experienced, so many people can still think like this, humanity divided up into nations. Bodies that count over here, bodies that don't over there. Anyway, I hadn't meant to write a treatise. I'm going to go think about reasons for hope. Like Barbara Lee's vote. Thank you for not being swept up in the madness. Thank you for not being swept up by the madness. Thank you for seeing what you had to do and doing it. Thank you for being a voice of reason. Thank you for placing humanity before the other things swirling around us. I feel like I'm tearing my hair out sometimes, explaining to people why seeing these US flags wave scares me to death, almost. Or wondering what my decision to resume wearing my head wrapped means when I'm in the train station and ask someone for a schedule or some coffee. Whoever they are. I'm grasping . I'm really just writing to say thankyou. it is strange to think that because one family member was murdered four years ago, i don't have the feeling that i need to alter my life today when thousands of strangers (presumably) have died in the first attack of a war. but then, maybe it's not strange. it's just that i assumed i would somehow go back to 'normal' eventually. but i didn't. while i am painfully aware that the victims of the WTC crashes and the pentagon are not all (not even necessarily mostly) white [having gone to new york tuesday night and found myself in that heartbreaking sea of paper with faces, personality traits, tributes, family contact information], that is certainly how they are depicted, how they are understood in the US media. the US is invoked now, more than in most times, as a white nation. we are most vulnerable in times like this. we = non-white people who become expendable in the process, yes, but also we = people who are suffering, who are looking for answers, for safety. I appreciate your consideration of everyone else's fragility, need, in this place and your public acknowledgement of your own fragility in this moment. It makes me think that I'm not, perhaps, insane. As I walk around right now I am constantly reminded: there is no reason why I should be here another moment . I don't mean cosmically. Of course I think there are things I could be (am) doing for humanity by continuing to live. But I also know that so many of us are read as expendable. (As I'm writing this I'm not sure what, exactly, it has to do with either of your letters. I guess it has to do with the acknowledgement of our fragility. With regards to interpretation of what is really happening whether the question be Who did it? or Have I touched Anthrax? Will I survive?) I am sad about the sadness in your voice. As if someone has tsked you. Has someone? My impulse is to say: "Shame on them." but that doesn't help, does it? We're all just wading through this mess, looking for answers. I really liked your poem. I'm thinking a lot right now about looking at the sky. I hadn't been writing about it, but your poem seemed to tap into that. It's hard, though, to judge your own words when you're dealing with such a heavy time isn't it? I don't have a lot to say. I just wanted to touch base again. It was so good to hear from you. You *guys*. One of my students came to class today to say he's shipping out on Thursday. I'm so sad. I don't know what else to write. He was laughing nervously. Another student starting talking about how crazy shit is getting. "There's anthrax everywhere, They shippin all my niggas out. Yo, if they give you a big gun and tell you to go to the front lines, tell them you wasn't trained for that shit," he says. My other student replies, "The thing is, I was . . ."
Mendi Lewis Obadike