Thursday, March 29, 2007

Updates - Further Thoughts From My Review

While I did enjoy the memoir, I often was frustrated at reading about the suppression of the women. I used to be a member of the Feminist Majority Leadership Allianace (FMLA) at Hunter College, which is part of the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF). I had joined this group as an undergrad about a year and a half before 9-11. The first thing I had learned via the group was about the atrocities that was occurring to women due to the Taliban. To raise money for awareness, we sold pieces of burqa with the net. I remember students stopping by the table, putting the net to their eyes, and being in shock over the situation occurring. What I learned has affected me to this day. My hope is that women who are fighting to build a better life can do so that they will be able to attain peace and gain back what was taken from them.

In the memoir, Ms. Rodriguez is able to connect with the women, and in doing so, we learn that some of them had your average life - a working family, a nice home, and most of all, a reason to smile. Imagine if everything you knew was taken away from you because one group decided that they knew what was best for society. Imagine if these same people who had promised a better life instead took away a child's laughter, art, the basic beauty of life, and instead murdered and caused havoc. The Taliban promised to make things better, but instead stole husbands, wives, sons, daughters....

My family was also affected by the actions of those who wanted to destroy just to prove a point. I was still living in NYC when the attack occurred. Just writing this makes me shake. So much to remember. What I can say right now is that my father was one of those who went downtown to help with the recovery. He was a Correction Officer at the time and his department was asked for volunteers to help. I remember him coming home with such a stench that I cannot describe, his face drawn, weakened by what he saw. There are things he saw, he recovered, that will haunt him for life. Of course now he is suffering from the aftereffects. He has some sort of mass growing behind his eyes. He had to get an operation on both his eyes because one day they just swelled shut. He has just been sick since that time. One of his fellow volunteers died because his health rapidly deteriorated. The attack not only killed thousands but also destroyed families, and the repercussions to this day are unfathomable. Every time I hear a plane that sounds too close for comfort, I freak out inside. My husband saw one of the towers collapse. He does not talk about it.

Sometimes I get so stressed over the most mundane things, such as running out of butter or not being able to buy a book. Then I open my eyes and realize how lucky I am to be able to just live. It may not be perfect, but I can smile, I can dance, and I speak my voice. I reflect and I understand that what I take for granted is another's treasure. And a treasure is worth keeping.


Joy said...

I'm speechless and sorry.

I've been sitting here for quite some time and really don't know what to say. This is a very deep post. My heart is saddened.

I appreciate the reminder to keep our focus on what we have and to not take it for granted.

Judytta said...

In last days my time to run very fast!!
I haven't leisure.

But I will to read yours latest news postes.

danielle said...

How sad--I hope your Dad is okay. He must have seen horrendous things. What is sad is that I think that things are deteriorating once again in Afghanistan. They don't seem to talk much about it on the news anymore, though. And it is disgusting how some women are treated in some countries!

Les said...

Amelia, I'm feeling very much like Joy. Completely at a loss for words. And after all I've experienced in the past couple of years, I thought I had learned how to be a better listener when it comes to such horrific tragedies as this. I can only say that I am thinking of your dad and hope that all goes well with his surgery. I can't imagine how it must have been for him to be right there in the midst of all that destruction. And for your husband to have seen one of the Towers collapse. Just watching it on tv was awful enough.

I can say that losing a family member really puts things into perspective. I no longer get upset about "the little things" in life. Or even the big things. I've learned to let go of my controlling nature simply because as much as we'd like, we can't control life and its tragedies. And, I never ever forget to tell those I love that I love them. Every single day I see or speak to them.

cipriano said...

Really insightful, touching, blog posting Amelia.
What [to me] makes the events you are describing all the more sobering is the profound conviction that the Taliban [who oppress women, among doing numerous other completely immoral & irrational things] and the extremists who flew their suicide bombs into the Towers while inflicting their irrationality upon all the innocent people in the planes and buildings.... all of this was done with the profound feeling that God was honored [pleased] in their actions.
But WORSE than absurdity.
Thinking I am Bugs Bunny is absurdity.... and almost funny.
But what we are talking about here goes far beyond absurdity.

Nancy said...

WOW! I don't know what to say. I am so sorry. HUGS!

The health of those working that day is a gigantic secret in the news. Ya know you rarely hear about it. Wishing your dad the best.

kookiejar said...

Amelia, I just dropped in to say that I nominated you for the Thinking Blogger Award. I look forward to seeing your list.

Literalicious said...

First time reader here, and I just had to say what a moving, heartfelt post this is. Thank you for the reminder of what is precious and important.

As an ex-pat American, I know exactly what you mean when you still feel the effects of that day. I nearly lost a friend in the World Trade Center, and that rocked me hard enough.

My heart goes out to those like your dad who gave of himself to help out in such a tragedy, and who is still dealing with the after effects. *hugs* to you and yours.

Bookfool said...

What a beautiful, touching and heartfelt post. I hope your father improves; it seems so wrong that someone who went to help should suffer ruined health as a consequence. As others have said, it was hard enough just seeing the buildings collapse on TV; I can't imagine having lived through the sight, much less having to deal with the aftermath.

Hugs and prayers to you and your family.

indigo said...

Hi Amelia...I'm so sorry to read how 9/11 has affected your family. Especially your dad. I pray his health improves... hugs.

Literary Feline said...

Like so many others who have commented, I'm at a loss as to what to say. Perhaps there are no words that could ever express all that we feel about such a horrific event. My thoughts and prayers are with your family, including your dad.

iliana said...

Hi Amelia - Just stopping by to check on you. Hope all is going well! Miss your posts :)

Amy said...

This is a wonderful post, Amelia. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Your dad is a true hero, please thank him for all he did at the WTC site. I hope he is okay and the surgery helped him a lot.
I'm a fellow NY'er (I'm living in Brooklyn) and 9/11 feels like yesterday to me, not 8 years ago. I'm not sure I could read this memoir, although some day I'd like to. I watched one of the WTC movies and that was really rough. It makes me so sad to think what the people in the WTC went through that day and what their family and friends are still going through. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this memoir.