Photographs of children


“Early on, I learnt … that the only meaning of life lies in conscious participation in the making of history. The more I think of that, the more deeply true it seems to be. It follows that one must range oneself actively against everything that diminishes humanity, and involve oneself in all struggles which tend to liberate and enlarge it. This categorical imperative is in no way lessened by the fact that such an involvement is inevitably soiled by error: it is a worse error merely to live for oneself, caught within traditions which are soiled by inhumanity.”
― Victor Serge, Memoirs of a Revolutionary
Recently a pair of photographs of Rui appeared on the Internet, posted by a member of his Japanese family, and I discovered them. Along with the photos, there were messages mocking me, this site, and the melancholy of the purposeful alienation and estrangement that his Japanese family imposed on him and on me, his father.
The one undeniable thing I could see is the degree to which Rui looks like a carbon copy of me when I was 13 or 14 years old.  His uncle said, “He’s a Prager.” His grandfather said, “He’s Brian all over again. I wanted to reach out and hug him.”
There’s a strong identification that goes with that; but he is not allowed by his Japanese family to experience what that recognition might induce in his psyche. It might awaken the knowledge of who he is, and what a pointlessly cruel deprivation was imposed on him without regard for the emotional and psychological scar it would give him, as it does in all children who lose a parent young. Rui’s mother knows this damage intimately, having lost each of her parents as a multiply traumatized child, before finally regaining one of them. But acknowledging this early damage and the inter-generational transmission played out by Machiko’s repetition is a difficult, painful truth to face. And it hasn’t been faced because the governments of Japan and the United States affirmatively sanction child abduction, and do nothing to prevent it. That is how the Japanese State perpetuates one of its most terrifying patriarchal, totemic delusions.
Rui’s cousins are pictured here, as well as aunt and uncles. Look at these faces! Do you see it? Rui, you were born a Prager. Here, you are one of us too, and you belong.
As November fades into December, remember you can reach us here. You only have to use the contact form, and I will get your email. Write to me Rui. No harm will come to you, but our worlds may open more pathways.
TOO MANY ANGELS
There’s an angel on a ribbon
Hanging from the armoire door
There’s a Cupid with his feet crossed
On the bird cage by the door
There’s a baby angel drummer
His eyes are open wide
And two more tiny cherubs
On the mantle side by side
Too many angels
Have seen me crying
Too many angels
Have heard you lying
There are photographs of children
All in their silver frames
On the window sills and tabletops
Lit by candle flames
And upon their angel faces
Life’s expectations climb
Where the moment has preserved them
From the ravages of time
Too many angels
Have seen me crying
Too many angels
Have heard you lying
Bring the morning on
Voices sing of day
I want to step out in the morning sun
Through the flood of tears
I want this darkness gone
Your sweet face appears
These apparitions coming one by one
But there’s no end in sight
Only the dead of night
And too many angels
Pragers 1969
Bring the morning on
Voices sing of day
I want to step out in the morning sun
Through the flood of tears
I want to greet the dawn
Cast away these fears
Forget about the things we could have done
Bring the morning on
Voices sing of day
I want to watch the children as they run
Through the broken years
I want this darkness gone
Your sweet face appears
These apparitions coming one by one
But there’s no end in sight
Only the dead of night
And too many angels
Zach & Grandma Lois
Zach & Sarah
Sarah & Zach
Wesley
Rui and Grandpa Morton


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