In this together…

I get home weary, with shoulders slumped. My movements to the front door fluctuate between shuffle and ooze. Dazed, blank, I turn the key and step into the living room and, each time, it’s such a warm and energetic shock what I see.

Each time, for about the last month or so, I get to enter the house and see my daughter’s masterwork. I get to see the joyful product of her newest, most dedicated hobby.

You see, my daughter is a radical librarian. And a damned systematic one, at that.

Pretty much each morning, afternoon, and evening, she race crawls into the living room, grips our bookshelf and lifts herself up, then proceeds to pull my books from their homes one, by one, by one. We put them back, she crawls back and does her work again. She will not be deterred.


I think about those books today, and their soggy corners from all the chewing and slobber…and I can’t stop thinking about the news.

Guatemala. The historic, heroic trial of the dictator Efrian Rios Montt–the architect of the worst of the Guatemalan genocides in 1982-3. Just before damning testimony will be shared about the current president, Otto Perez Molina, and his involvement in the genocides as a young officer…the trial is annulled. There is video of those days, when his code name was Major Tito. He is standing over the bodies of some radical peasants. Their skin is dark brown, like Glendi’s brothers. Her dad.

The peasants had radical books on them. Like mine. They were killed.

Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Today. FBI agents in Hawaiian shirts are visiting activist houses. Not so subtle intimidation before May Day. They even visit Left Bank books, where so many of these books–now on the floor–once came from. Where so many times I thought about which titles would be most useful for building a revolution.

All the death and all the fear of so many generations who have struggled for a different world than this one. So many legacies are in those pages, now squeezed between those craggy, tooth-pocked gums of my baby. How many people have had to hide, or burn, or justify their possession of those books I come home to? How many comrades in danger, or shock, just because they happen to be more active than I am?

If, one day, my daughter chooses to agree with what those books are about? And she chooses to act?

Will she be safe?

Will she remain undeterred?

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi