Saturday, October 25, 2008


Geronimo is one of my heroes. Yes, you read right. Even though I deeply believe that violence in retribution for inflicted violence achieves nothing but more carnage, even though I am convinced that the blood of an assailant is more precious than my own comfort and freedom, I have felt a certain kinship to Geronimo since I was knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper.

"I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures." I have never been able to articulate why, but I've always understood why something in Geronimo died when he was forced to adhere to the white man's iron mold of "civilization", with all its walls. A tamed horse might perform well until its master thinks its will conquered, but there always remains a fiery wild streak that, without warning, necessitates breaking the confining harness and bolting to run uninhibited. Why is wildness seen as something to be squashed? Why are so many threatened by the unconquered?

"The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme against each other." Geronimo's courage in his desperate fight against the atrocious injustices committed against his people inspirits my personal battles against the injustices I see in my world. Geronimo knew and admitted his battle was ill-fated. He was a brilliant man who, though he eluded and held at bay the entire U.S. army with his small band of poorly-armed warriors (and the women and children under his protection), could see his inevitable defeat. And yet, he remained tenacious. He knew that success is not dependent on a peachy conclusion to the story; failure is only pronounced upon those who close their eyes and stop their ears to the cries of the oppressed and cease to fight for them.

"I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say." ~Geronimo

No comments: