the anti-hero

Several people have said Allan and I are brave and courageous. Emigrating to another country without the kind of compelling incentive that typically causes people to emigrate - hunger, poverty, persecution, even (as one friend put it) a whirlwind romance - strikes many people as an act of courage.

I wish I could own up to that picture, because I admire moral courage more than any other attribute I can think of. But I don't feel the slightest bit brave. We're moving to another Western culture. Although Canada is blessedly different than the US, I probably won't feel as alien there as 99% of the people who move to New York City must, whether they come from Karachi or Kansas.

I'm not brave. I'm just fed up.


Anonymous said...

I suspect that your impending relocation to Canada, while it will indeed take the two of you out of the country, will not take the country out of you. I have some experience in this area having spent time abroad both voluntarily and involuntarily, the latter period lasting some two years under conditions which would have received a very low rating from Travel and Leisure Magazine. There are many good things about Canada, and I was friends with one of them who returned to care for an ill parent. Her kindness and generosity, and I mean this sincerely, is one of the two reasons I'm still around today. Canada is also the home of one of my heroes (we all need some), Gen. Romeo Dallaire (Ret.), the highest-randing U.N. military officer during the genocide in Rwanda. Ordered to leave by his superiors at the U.N. and in Ottawa, he refused, continuously putting his own life at risk to try and halt the slaughter. Bereft of supplies and external support, he did what he could with the troops available.

When he did finally leave, he felt that the slaughter was his fault, that as a highly decorated and trained military officer, he should have been able to stop it, and that he had failed. He asked himself, "why am I still alive when so many more deserving are dead?" He attempted suicide more than once. His book, "Shake Hands with the Devil--The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda," should be required reading for everyone beginning in the ninth grade.

I flatter myself a friendly acquaintance of L-girl's and I certainly agree that the survival of our democracy is at stake. We all must do what we can within the legal framework to keep those hypocritical bastards from ruining our country, turning it into some variation of the United States of Halliburton, with constitutional amendments commonplace, freedom and justice nonexistent, the legal framework collapsed, inequality a given, excellent healthcare for the few, worship of money a requirement, questioning of authority a crime, war celebrated as healthy, photographs of the dead and wounded proscribed, children encouraged to inform on their parents, parents on their children, and the poor elderly "euthanized" in favor of military spending that leaves our troops ill-equipped, -trained, and -led.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to Canada!

Have you seen the website www.marryanamerican.ca ?
I encourage intelligent fed up Americans to relocate here.

I hope that it works out well.

laura k said...

EF: Thank you! It will be a while til we're actually there, but I'll accept your welcome for the future. And yes, I have seen that website - it's making the rounds.

CB: Terrific post, thank you. I've seen General Dallaire speaking, thought I'm not sure where... Maybe I caught him on Charlie Rose? Or perhaps C-SPAN's BookTV. What a story. He is a worthy hero - and yes, we all need them. I have many, whose moral courage I can only dream of emulating. More reply in my next post.

Your involuntary excursion outside of the US - is that Vietnam?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Me too, me too. Exactly. We get the whole "brave" thing. I'm like, "huh?" My husband, ever the glory hound, takes the praise. Perhaps in his mind it was brave, since he was a lifelong resident of one city. For me, having moved around a couple of times, it was no big deal. And once we got to Canada, all I could think of was, "What a fucking relief."

Brave? Give me a break. People who cross the river and risk their lives are brave. People who flew over a wall in a hot-air balloon were brave. All we did was fill out some forms, pack up our crap, and take an airplane to a very, very friendly and welcoming town.