NATO Airstrike Killed 8 Afghan Civilians Yesterday

Eight Afghan civilians—a mother, father, and six children—were killed by a NATO air strike yesterday.

Well, the article says it was yesterday, anyway. But it may as well have been any other day of the week or month or year. It’s not like this is anything new or exceptional. Like always, their names are not reported. History has already indexed them as mere tally marks, etched ever closer together on a crowded death toll. What does the tally even mean anymore? It’s hard for indignation to keep up with this level of continuous atrocity. Tragedy has become the norm. What happens to humanity when inhumanity becomes commonplace?

I have cried so many tears for the victims of our wars in the Middle East. But sometimes I feel numb. I see these headlines and it just feels like déjà vu. Didn’t I already cry for these civilians? Because I do not know any of the individuals. Without names or faces or histories, I can only cry for humanity in general. And there is cause to cry for humanity every single day.

Six children were killed in Afghanistan yesterday. Today, I will imagine names and faces for these children, and have my own moment of silence for their loss.

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Verse Journalism

Check out my post on the JOT blog!: http://www.jot.org/blog/2012/03/22/verse-journalism-seminar-with-quraysh-ali-lansana/

It’s a recap of the three-part seminar I participated in, hosted by the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and lead by Quraysh Ali Lansana, poet, educator, and activist mentored by Chicago’s own Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks. The workshop focused on the technique of “verse journalism,” a term coined by Brooks to describe the method of using poetry to report the news.

Art has always played a crucial role in the fight for justice. Today, with our globally connected technology, we are also witnessing an unprecedented surge in citizen journalism. Verse Journalism weaves the power of art and activism into a single poetic punch.