Grateful for Isolated Iceland

To me, it would seem that current events have been especially grim as of late.  Life has taken on an uneasy undertone as the frequency of mass shootings committed in America reaches an all-time high, and the political climate appears to destabilize more and more with each passing day.  Perhaps it is not the case, and I am being melodramatic, or perhaps it is just a product of my relatively newfound devotion to keeping up on things, especially American politics, but I mustn’t be alone in having these thoughts.

After waking up yesterday morning to yet another mass shooting, things seemed to fade to greyscale, as they often have a way of doing in light of such tragedies.  The only solace to be found was in the fact that it was not committed by Islamic extremists, and that alone I interpreted as an illuminating factor of how hard these weeks have been.  After the Orlando shooting, the worst in American history, I was left with a heavy heart, just as most of you were I am sure.  It hurts to see so many of our fellow countrymen and women needlessly stripped of their basic right to life, and to see so many others divided by the fear these egregious actions aim to cause.

After kind of a rough morning, I finally got myself out of the room and into the city of Reykjavik.  If I had known how much it would help my spirits, I would’ve done it much earlier.  Seeing other people carrying on with their days, smiling, laughing, eating, walking, taking pictures, just living their lives in general, helped me enormously, returning color to my life.  It almost feels like cheating, watching events of this nature unfold from afar in the comfortable isolated safety of Iceland, but I am relieved nonetheless.

Finally, in my extensive reading about these morbid affairs, I came across an old quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that outlines the problem with this trend perhaps better than anyone can, and I think I’ll conclude this post with it.  The United States could greatly benefit from another prophet of Dr. King’s caliber.

I’m not sure if it was a product of the website I took it from, but it is spaced in a way that is rather poetic, and I have elected to keep it in that same format below.

Thanks for reading.

 

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

One Reply to “Grateful for Isolated Iceland”

  1. Thanks for this thoughtful post on distance, separation and mourning, Noah.

    It raises questions about the ways our various locations overlap (what it means to be an American in America, wherever that is, versus an American in Iceland, which as we often say is a lot like Mars).

    Pokemon Go has since yesterday become a second landscape to us, layered (overlapped) on top of ours, and seems to offer some escape. Yet there’s this provocative piece by Omari Akil over at Medium (https://medium.com/mobile-lifestyle/warning-pokemon-go-is-a-death-sentence-if-you-are-a-black-man-acacb4bdae7f#.q2m6butv6) which suggests his strong feelings about the dangers of playing the game as a black man in America. The points he is making concern race and black lives, but they also concern what we understand space to be, and what rights people have to it – some of which you’re beginning to touch on here.

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