Voices on the Wind Voices of Protest
ROSES FOR MY COUNTRY by Beate Sigriddaughter When my student was raped on campus between one dance class and another one night, I brought her yellow roses. We kept them under the music table for privacy until the end of class. I hope in time she accepted the sickness wasn't hers, though she was forced to carry the scars. Today my country carries open wounds, so much vehemence against our will, a friend is violated at the airport by TSA—six officers, dogs, prods—no good reason except the snarling jabs, small victories of tiny power in an atmosphere of fear and hate and pressure. Mostly fear. Women speechless once again at having to take seriously men who give them ulcers with jeers and undeterred entitlement. License has been granted at high places. It is a free for all of lust and money and disdain. Some friends withdraw into denial, wanting to be left alone, to breathe, to heal, to quietly reclaim their precious lives. Others prepare to reach for weapons they don't believe in, claiming they have no choice, now, they must defend what no one should ever have attacked. Some merely watch in mesmerized gloom. Some are in shock at having been surrounded all along by dreams so utterly alien to their own. A sudden fear, like acids, eats into recently gentle and generous faces. At my kitchen door the roses calmly bloom as always. They are for you, my chosen, my beloved country in distress.