The world. Bosman writes it in italics. The world. Stepping through the prison gates. After four years in dark cramped quarters, his eyes adjusting to the sight of distance. A young Herman Charles Bosman, Pretoria, 1929, watches a woman and her daughter walk along the dusty red road past the prison, but what he sees is life, movement, color, the flutter of cloth in the breeze, the expression on a face, humanity, freedom, unspeakable joy. And yet he finds words for it, decades later, remembering that moment. His words speak of the soul, and speak from the soul, and are a gift to the world, giving it back to us, glowing, through eyes made wide by darkness.
It is mid-July, 2019. I live in Spain, but I am American. Reading Bosman's words I think of the many thousands of immigrant children, even new-borns, who are in prisons called "detention centers" in America, fleeing their violence-riddled countries with their parents, whom they have been taken from. The children are crowded together in stifling conditions like chickens in factory farms, with perhaps even less concern for their welfare. No beds, no space for playing or even walking, no showers, very little food, no medicine, often no water (a guard was heard answering, "Then drink from the toilet!"), no communication with their parents, and it not even being allowed for the older ones to comfort the younger ones with a hug.
No comfort of any kind is allowed. Not a pillow, not a blanket. With only mylar blankets, they appear like left-over portions of food wrapped in aluminum foil, left to rot in the heat of the desert. Thousands of these children have reported being sexually abused by guards. And thousands more report that they are kicked, hit, and threatened with sexual abuse. Many have disappeared. Sold for adoption. Or worse. Without traceable records. There are 1500 of these camps now, the number of inmates and the mountain of suffering rising every day. In the news today, nuns being handcuffed and arrested for holding small signs saying "Stop the Inhumanity." A government inspector testifies before Congress, calling these places "Hellholes of unspeakable agony."
I believe in the soul, in its true nature as an extension of God's love. I believe it lives outside of the framework of time and space, and chooses to step onto the stage of time, like an actor, to play a part it is interested in. But not just as an actor, as a rescuing angel, as a fireman running into a burning house, as a mother reaching down to pick up and comfort a crying baby, as an adult turning on the light in a room of terrified children who can not reach the switch, as a helicopter pilot flying through crossfire to pick up the wounded, as a teacher, who refuses to stop teaching the truth, that all beings are precious, and deserve love and care, is crucified. I believe with the Bard that we are all actors on this stage, and I believe the children in those camps are heroic souls volunteering to go through whatever it takes to open the eyes of the world, to show what is darkness, and what is light. If one man on a cross couldn't do it, maybe a hundred thousand children on crosses can.
Those who put them into the Hellholes are gambling, that the conscience of the country is a sleeping, bloated drunk, rousing only enough now and then to refill his level of intoxication with base pleasures, the basest of which is to see others suffer, but those who want to get them out are gambling, too. That, as two of my heroes, Anne Frank and the Dalai Lama, have both said, I still believe people are basically good. These souls have volunteered to be mirrors to the state of our hearts that would allow such cruelty, cruelty that has been going on for countless years, in sweat shops, child sex slave shops, factory farms, bunkers and trenches and deserts and jungles, and even the aisles and the cubicles of wage slaves enduring soul-crushing conditions. Angels in Hellholes here to open our eyes, put the age old story on the front page at last, make the world face the cruelty it has gotten used to, which serves, though we never understand quite why, the purposes of those in power.
And since we are all writing the script, in the grandest collaborative project the universe has ever seen, I believe – exposing institutionalized cruelty in service to the powerful and replacing it with a system based on equality – I would like to contribute this idea for the ending of this act: that every one of those souls walks out of the Hellhole and into the arms of a parent and remembers every particle of that moment, so they may one day write it or sing it, dance or paint it, and flood the world with the light of that love intensified and transfigured by the time in the dark. And may that all-transforming light set the stage for the act called The Awakening, that is just now being written.