Have you ever passed a bad car accident? It’s not easy to look away. You don’t want to see the contorted chunks of metal, or worse, disfigured, mangled bodies, but somehow you just can’t turn your head the few inches it would take to spare yourself a lifetime of bad dreams. We traumatize ourselves daily with the nightly news, NPR, BBC, and a whole host of the media’s fear and scandal mongers. With all these methods of self flagellation at my beck and call, I have to wonder why must I find creative ways to torture myself further?
Many of you know that my partner has gone missing in Tibet. Trying to find him has been an exercise in despair and frustration. The closest we have gotten is, someone may or may not have seen him killed after an uprising at a Tibetan monastery. Every two years the Congressional Executive Commission on China publishes a political prisoner data base. This year there are 7250 people on the list. Although I am strongly believing the likelihood of his death, I just don’t know what I want to believe. The list is like a bad accident. I have to look. I can’t turn away. I’ve been methodically moving through each listing. Each is a fairly detailed report of where the prisoner is from, when and where they were detained, and any additional information regarding their offense, what may have happened to them upon arrest, and where they were last seen.
Most of us torture ourselves with the negative self-talk, watching the news or one too many SPCA commercials. I would like to think my form of self-abuse is fairly unusual, but really how unique can it be when I still have to read through at least 2000 more stories?