Friday, April 23, 2004

What Happens To A Dream Deferred? 

Langston Hughes' answer* to that question provided Lorraine Hansberry with the title of her great play in the American realist tradition.

Sue Diaz is the mother of Spc. Roman Diaz, currently a resident in Iraq, courtesy of the 1st Armored Division. Her answer to the question of what happens to hope too long deferred is as eloquent and haunting and as fully in that tradition of American realism.

There are two hopes here: the first is the hope of a twenty-year old soldier that his call to duty in Iraq will mean something good for the people of Iraq. The CSMonitor article, written by his mother, is accompanied by a photograph Spc. Diaz taken on the day Saddam was captured. Here's his mother's description of it:

The photo, full of light, movement, and color, is beautiful. In it, a small group of Iraqi children are skipping, laughing, and running toward the camera on a dusty road near Baghdad. At the center, a boy waves a newspaper high above his head. In the low sun of early evening, the children's long shadows fan out in the direction of the person taking the picture. The photographer, a kid himself not all that long ago, is an American soldier.


Back in December, a few months after his 20th birthday, he snapped this photo from the back of his Army vehicle the day Saddam Hussein was captured. He used a small digital camera he'd brought with him on his deployment to Baghdad last spring - tucked it into a pocket of his uniform so it wouldn't get bumped by the machine gun it has also been his job to carry.

The attached message that arrived with the photo on Sue Diaz's computer said, "It is a time of great hope here in Iraq."

Sue and her son have carried on an online conversation during his Iraqi stint. The mother's hope is that against her intrinsic skepticism about the war, her son's optimism, his hope, would prove to be the more accurate. It hasn't, as the son's emails confirm.

The second hope, that Sue Diaz's son would be returned to her after he's completed his military obligation, is proving as illusory. The scene, as Ms Diaz sketches it, in which they both face this reality is heart-breaking and unforgettable.

You are obligated to read it, whether you were/are for this war, or were not, because it is a scene that is being repeated in the thousands of Americans homes of those who have already been asked to sacrifice too much for their country, while the rest of us have been called on to contribute, other than our tax money, next to nothing.

* If you have not committed to memory this simple to remember poem, here's another opportunity.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

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