I was young once too.
Evenings in the spring my mother would wash my small feet with a cloth and a bowl of warm water. I would sit on my bed and watch her and once she finished, tickling my smallest toe, I would climb into the clean linen sheets that were washed every Monday.
My mother was taken from her land too.
Caught by murderous puritanical ideaologies she was plucked from her family and flung here across sea and land. Eventually she met a man here, and together they begot me, the woman who stands before you now.
And I was told stories.
Of how my mother had been shamed, and of how her (and my) family had died; their ashes now mixed into the fields of Poland. Of the evil acts commited by the blind and murderous men seeking to form their ideaologies into tangible gold. Of what my place would be in this cycle of revenge.
So look at me.
I am a complex being. Now we are unfolding my present before you, like the persian carpet my mother kept in the hallway outside my room. I am the perpetrator in this present. But my story stretches farther back than any living-room carpet. My story reaches deeper than the roots of the Eucalyptus tree’s outside our house.
I cannot explain to you this circle. I can only stand here before your axe, my hands raised in the air, praying that someday you will whisper your children stories of forgiveness, instead of revenge.
I was young once, too.