The Artist’s Path was birthed in my sub conscious after working six hundred hours on a production of Golda’s Balcony, a play that explores the life of Golda Meir, the first woman prime minister of Israel. It was never a conscious intent of mine to start either a theatre company or one that tends to focus on social justice themes. One of the drawbacks is that once the work has been done on topics like apartheid in South Africa, nuclear arms in Israel, the aftermath of 9/11 and its impact on firefighters, the challenges women face in Cambodia, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and Nigeria, and finally this past April the changing landscape of journalism with a memorial tribute to fallen journalists—well, these subjects never really leave you. When any of these places, people or issues rise up in the news, I’m drawn to them. Often the news is distressing as is the nature of social justice issues.
So this morning the news of yet another journalist, James Wright Foley, lost to the risks of his chosen profession weighs heavily on me. See article at Committee to Protect Journalists. This past April when The Artist’s Path held its third ‘festival’ on the topic of journalism, just over 1050 journalists had been killed since 1992. Today, August 21st 2014 the number stands at 1071.
|James Wright Foley Died August 20, 2014|
There are days when I am overwhelmed by the horrors happening on the world’s stage. I question why I care so much about total strangers half way around the world. I want to withdraw and bury my head in the sand. I ask what is the point of doing the work of ‘Path’? Then I look into the face of James Foley in his final moments, into the devastation of his parents’ faces and I realize that of course my angst over the state of our planet, my feelings of despair, frustration, sorrow are not even in the same universe of their own loss.
And I remind myself that my efforts to make a difference in my small corner of the world, while negligible, are mine and those I’m privileged to collaborate with. I tell myself that making a difference takes many paths—raising a family, being a great co-worker, planting a garden, calling home, engaging in civil discourse, listening to understand the Other—and that for a while my path is to explore that of the artist. I will honor this young man's memory by not withdrawing from my own field of battle.
So James Wright Foley I thank you for your contribution to bringing light to bear on dark places.
Rest in Peace…