January 29, 2017

Year Zero

Please forgive me for "waxing personal", but is that not what the blogosphere is about?

I cannot sleep.    I have not been able to sleep peacefully since November, and this last week has ramped the insomnia up  about 500%.

We are now only nine days into the tenure of President Trump, and I cannot sleep.    The eighteen-year-old "me" wants to reject everything and throw myself in to the resistance just as that "me" wanted to in the early years of the AIDS crisis, but the forty-six year old me feels the weight of personal responsibility and keeping a roof over my head.

The eightteen-year-old me doesn't (excuse me) give a damn about what he says, but the "grown up" me finds himself afraid to say what he really thinks.    Unfortunately, that means that those in power are winning.

I'm sure I'm not alone.   I hope and trust that I'm not.   Furthermore, I sincerely hope that you can all share strategies that combine self-care and resistance,  because I can't right now.  

How odd to live in Baltimore, knowing that demonstrations are taking place at airports in the District of Columbia (thirty miles away), Philadelphia, and the city of New York.   How just crazy to sit in my apartment, looking at a stunning painting given as a gift by an Iranian neo-expressionist, and wonder whether or not he will be allowed back into the United States.   How crazy - and this is what they want, folks - to call a dear friend and colleague out of concern to ask her if she's an American citizen,

If I were to go so far, this is Day Nine of Year Zero in the United States of America.

In case you're wondering:

YEAR ZERO: "The term Year Zero applied to the takeover of Cambodia in April 1975, by the Khmer Rouge, is an analogy to the Year One of the French Revolutionary Calendar. During the French Revolution, after the abolition of the French monarchy (September 20, 1792), the National Convention instituted a new calendar and declared the beginning of the Year I. The Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh was rapidly followed by a series of drastic revolutionary de-industrialization policies resulting in a death toll that vastly exceeded that of the French Reign of Terror."
The idea behind Year Zero is that all culture and traditions within a society must be completely destroyed or discarded and a new revolutionary culture must replace it, starting from scratch. All history of a nation or people before Year Zero is deemed largely irrelevant, as it will ideally be purged and replaced from the ground up."
In Cambodia, so-called New People—teachers, artists, and intellectuals—were especially singled out and executed during the purges accompanying Year Zero."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Samuel,

I wasn't sure of the best way to get in touch with you. I am a documentary filmmaker from London and I was hoping to speak with you about your experiences during Hurricane Katrina.

It would be a great help if you could please be able to send me an email: rosie.pooley@blinkfilmsuk.com

Thank you,