The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, July 03, 2004  

And See This
Bring Kleenex

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I just returned from a walk through the birthplace of America, the cradle of democracy: Independence Park, just a handful of blocks from my house.

Normally I would avoid the heart of tourism in Philadelphia on Independence Day weekend, but it’s different this year. It’s different because, well, as you know, September 11 changed everything, and because this weekend the American Friends Service Committee is at the park showing Eyes Wide Open.

Blow me away. Pass me the handkerchief I forgot to bring along. Knock me over with the reading of the names of the dead: the Americans, an incredible number of whom carry names it is fair to assume belong to African and Latino Americans, and the Iraqis we’re not supposed to care about.

“Eyes Wide Open,” which already has been seen in, among other locales, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Washington, will be in Philadelphia through tomorrow, July 4. On the schedule for the near future: Charleston, W.Va., July 5-7, call (443) 983-2600; Rhode Island/Southeastern Massachusetts, July 10-16, call (617) 661-6130; Connecticut, July 17-22, call (617) 661-6130; Boston, City Hall Plaza, July 22, call (617) 661-6130; Western Massachusetts, August 3-11, call (413) 584-8975; and New York, August 28 - September 7, call (212) 598-0950.

On my way home from Independence Park I encountered a group of four middle-aged tourists with whom I engaged in the following conversation after having offered them an information card about the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit:

Tourist: No. No. No, thank you.

J.M.C.: You don’t care about Americans dying in Iraq?

Tourist: No. No. No, thank you.

J.M.C.: Americans dying for nothing?

Tourist: The Lord is on George Bush’s side.

She no doubt sleeps well pondering that dementia thought.

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