Fears and insecurities

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

In the thick of things, forgive me if I say anything irrational or anything that offends you. My name is Ishmael Hope. I am a Tlingit and Inupiaq man. Today something terrible happened. Many people died. America looks like it might go to war. Fear, anger, insecurity, or, for some, validation of America paying for its arrogance, are some reactions all over the United States. Here in Alaska, we are intimately involved. Relatives are wondering if their beloved ones are alive or not. The planes are not flying.

I'm careful with how I respond to this. I'm careful not to use this event as a matter of adding excitement to my life just because I may be bored. I'm careful about declaring the end of capitalism or America as a monolith. I'm careful not to make grandstanding efforts to show people how amazing and compassionate I am by shedding a tear for the cameras. I'm careful to give in to all my fears and insecurities, to abandon my connection to the nation, or making my national allegiance irrationally too strong.

My fears and insecurities are abundant. I'm afraid that the nation will be swept over by violent and irrational fear and make irrational decisions. I'm afraid that profound and capable leadership do not rise and help direct people. Most of all, I'm afraid that the wrong decisions will be made, and we will not know how to heal and respond to such a huge event. I can only say one thing with clarity: I am hurting. I am hurting for the people who have died today, and I am hurting for what will come after. I am hurting, and as a man, when I get hurt I do not hurt back, I hope to draw the strength to heal and absorb the hurt and make growing, advancing and healthy decisions. I fear that I do not have the strength to respond with healing and love to this tragedy. I fear that it is too much, too fast to heal from and absorb. So I suppose this letter is to reach out to people, and to find ways to help the families of those who died, to find ways to help them heal. I hope for people to understand the special dilemma coming our way. Thank you.

Forgive me if anything I wrote offended you in any way. God bless the families of those who have passed away.

Ishmael C. Hope


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