Introduction: Odi et amo

Introduction: Odi et amo

This project first began in 2015 – as we watched the terrorist bombings in Paris, Beirut, Tunis… followed by retaliatory bombings on Raqqa and other areas of a Syria already war-torn and plagued with violence – as we watched as the world’s greatest military powers fight the Daesh without any plan for peace-making after, and abandon basic civil liberties at home: The escalation of internal security and intelligence measures in our own societies, reducing freedom and trust among people and government, were enacted without thought for the improved integration of marginalized communities or at-risk individuals. This was coupled with the continued rise of the Far Right, and the growing fear and denial of millions of refugees fleeing civil war in their home countries. But why not – in the United States (and assuredly elsewhere, in other nations and societies and of the world as well), people have become wholly desensitized by numbers. And too have people become wholly dehumanized by them; human beings reduced entirely to stats, facts, and figures – we read about genocide, about 300,000 people killed in Sudan, or 700,000 Rohingya fleeing Burma as we butter our toast and pour coffee in the morning. We hear about the nearly 600,000 homeless in America – many of them elders, many of them children – and the tens-of-thousands lost annually to gun violence. We hear about these things without giving pause to think of detached limbs, hands and fingers, eyes closed or still wide-open and staring into the sky, the faces twisted and turning blue. The average person – instead of stumbling to the bathroom to vomit; instead...