I read this on Paul Lisicky’s blog (a great poet and teacher). I don’t know him but read his blog often for its beautiful photographs, poems, and prose. It is from a few days ago:
The Women of Lockerbie
Listening to the radio one day, I heard about a play written by Deborah Baley Brevoort, called The Women of Lockerbie. One day in December the sky exploded and the remains of Pan Am Flight 103 fell upon Lockerbie, Scotland. Among the many horrors one stood out for its seeming insignificance: what to do about the 11,000 articles of clothing belonging to the victims? The clothing, of course, was filthy and stained with jet fuel, clothing that carried the stench of death; the authorities called the clothes "contaminated" and decided that it must be incinerated. But the women of Lockerbie prevailed upon the U.S. government to release the clothing to them. Over one year’s time, 11,000 items of clothing were washed in streams before being packed and shipped back to the families.
When asked why they had done this, one Lockerbie woman explained that every act of evil must be turned into an act of love.
Until recently I didn’t know anything about this clothing or the women of Lockerbie who washed it, but right now I am wondering what their thoughts are this week, and, more importantly, what they are doing. It seems urgent to me to find out.
I googled the story. Here you can find a brief London Times news item with additional information about the play Paul mentions that was written and produced based on the women of Lockerbie story.
I suppose the story especially touched me after having watched how Libya “heroically” received one of the architects of the Lockerbie bombing a few weeks ago after Britain released him for health reasons. Or perhaps I just find their act beautiful.
Remembering W.S. Merwin (1927-2019)
5 weeks ago