When there is nothing left

Burning down a world without justice (CW: extreme self-harm)

This afternoon, a woman wrapped herself in a Palestinian flag and lit herself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in downtown Atlanta. There are no details I can find about who she is thus far—the police wont even confirm a gender, although witnesses on social media claim the protestor was a woman—but she was still alive in critical condition after being taken to the hospital around 1PM EST, at least according to what sparse news reports appeared. A guard outside the consulate was also injured in moving to put out the fire.

She self-immolated, apparently, without cameras, without attempting to record it and thereby make it into a traumatizing event for those beyond the consulate and its employees. This seems to me a mercy, a gesture of kindness even in this act of deepest despair and horror. There are very few details and I have little to say, other than that it is the bravest and most horrible thing, and I love her.

I just don’t want this story to be forgotten, or drowned out, or ignored. They have spent the day talking about Sandra Day O’Connor, whose job title was literally justice. But the woman burning on the sidewalk before the consulate had an infinitely more refined and beautiful sense of justice in her every fiber than the Sandra Day O’Connors of the world could even imagine.

If she survives, I hope we can all support and someday celebrate her. And if she doesn’t, we must guarantee that her memory will be a blessing. But please don’t let her action happen in silence. We must destroy this world where, for so many, destroying ourselves feels like the only possible option we have left.