Pages in the Park by Josephine Wright

[…]I had been photographing rain within the hearts and throats of flowers when I saw the pages on the wet bench that overlooked the West Side Highway and beyond to the racing waters of the Hudson. Looking more closely, I recognized the pages as the play Antigone. The two pages on top, 206 and 229, upside down from each other, were not consecutive. Had the reader taken the chunk of the book containing missing pages 207–228 because they had particular significance? Or was the intent to highlight these two remaining pages in the hope that a passerby would pause to read them. To alert them—me?…

Building Connection and Resilience by Carole Geithner

I have been honored to be a group facilitator in the Writing for Friendship program serving young women from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and fourteen other nationalities represented among the students attending the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. […] We breathe in the relative calm of our collective pause, and we share moments of beauty or experiences of kindness we observed over the previous week. And then I invite them to write, to give words to their strengths, their stories, their dreams.

Midnight Mission by Robert Frey

We’d have looked a motley crew, if it hadn’t been so dark. Five of us were on a midnight mission, a small band in dark clothing, struggling up a black hillside a few miles outside Rifle, Colorado. For every dusty yard gained, we slid back a step or two, trudging past broken boulders and scattered sagebrush in our climb up the mountain. No flashlights, since we were planning a criminal act. We tried to be quiet in case there was a guard. The nearest ranchers were in bed, miles away.

Reflections on Plowshares Eight by Dean Hammer

[…] With household hammers, we disarmed two nose cones for the Mark 12A warheads built by the General Electric Nuclear Missile Re-entry Division in King of Prussia, PA. The sound of hammers disarming mass-killing weapons echoes in my mind, heart, and soul, evoking memories of that day at GE and the succession of Plowshare actions in the United States, Europe, and Australia. The reflective process forty years later offers a new understanding of this lived experience, personally and as an act of resistance to genocidal weapons.

Collectively Remembering Coline Covington by Janet Fisher

Five members of ROOM’s editorial board decided to read and discuss Coline Covington’s latest book, Who’s to Blame? Collective Guilt on Trial, the third of a series of writings that interweave psychoanalytic ideas with political, social, and group theories, to arrive at the possibility of a moral world. This was not intended to be her final writing on the topic, only to lay out some of the theoretical problems involved in thinking about acts of destruction and possible paths to repair and reconciliation. In her last weeks of life, Coline learned of our plan to honor rather than just review her book, for which she was touched and thankful.

Letter to the United Nations by Shegofa Shahbaz

I am writing this letter on behalf of all Afghan girls. I am Shegofa Shahbaz. I am twenty years old. I grew up among the dust and smoke of explosions, gunshots, fire, war, and sad stories. I grew up with fear. Fear of an explosion inside our classroom, fear of not seeing my family again, fear of losing my friends, and fear of losing my dreams. Beside all those sad stories in my life, I had a hope for a better future, but when the Taliban took the control of Afghanistan, my dreams were destroyed.


Re/calibrating by Murad Khan

Karachi, Pakistan—1997
“How many times have I said—don’t put spices in the food!”
My father’s voice ignited my nervous system, scorching through the oppressively humid atmosphere. My mother, who had cooked the food, stared silently at her plate.
He pointed at my eldest sister and asked, “Do you like spices?”
“No,” she responded.
He pointed at my second sister and asked, “Do you like spices?”
“No,” she responded.
He then pointed at me and asked, “Do you like spices?”
He stared back at me as if I had slapped him across the face.
“What did you say?”
“I don’t mind spices.”
He took me into a separate room.
“Slap yourself.”


From Exclusion to Erasure by Naftally Israeli

I am writing this on Israel’s seventy-fifth anniversary, its democratic future shrouded in fog. Sections of society that failed to gain recognition, excluded for years from the main public discourse and centers of power, are now seeking to dismantle it from within. They are enraged: they seek to use their power, this time not just to exclude others (as they themselves were excluded) but to wreak destruction and erase everything they perceived as other than them.

Adventures in Turkish Journalism by Matt A. Hanson

I had reached a new low. The heights of the literary profession had never seemed more distant, unreachable. In fact, I lived in an attic. It was a hot and unbearable Istanbul summer. I woke every morning and sometimes every afternoon caked in sweat under the wooden roof on the top floor of a residential building in the modernistic environs of Besiktas, a neighborhood synonymous with football, beer, and anarchy.

On Hair Care by Destiney Kirby

[…] My hair could have been held in court as evidence of child neglect. My birth was preceded by an endless list of questions concerning paternity, but the dark, coarse corkscrews that sprang from my crown only served to lengthen the list. My mother’s loose auburn curls explained half my head, but the other half remained unaccounted for. My family would later joke, “We didn’t know whose you were, but we knew you weren’t white.”