The Solidarity of Grief

If you haven’t seen it yet, poet Nikki Giovanni’s address at the Virginia Tech memorial is truly moving. What really moved me about it was this passage:

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

It it always my great humanist hope that out of tragedy can come a renewed empathy and solidarity, that through the crucible of torment and sorrow we can understand our connection to all those around the world who suffer. That was also my hope after 9/11, though it didn’t quite turn out that way.

But as a humanist and a Cubs fan, I remain eternally optimistic that we’ll be better in the future than we were in the past.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.


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