I Could Hear the Silence
While I Raged

Allow me to set the stage. In Cody Keenan’s Grace, he talked about the ten days at the end of June 2015 in the White House. He was President Obama’s chief speechwriter. When reading the book, it seemed like an American version of Camelot.

Soon after, Trump became president. I felt like Keenan was saying, “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.”

Beyond longing for Camelot, I was fascinated by Obama’s parable that he gave to Keenan. To grasp reality, Obama told Keenan to go home, kick off his shoes, pour a drink, sit back, and listen to Miles Davis. Then he said to Keenan to “find the silence.”

So, let me repeat to you what Obama said to Keenan. I want you to find the silence, listen to it.

That is the backstory. Centuries from now, people will remember Obama’s speech due to the silence. Last week, I faced a maelstrom and was engaged in putting together my legal brief. To be candid, I’m not a legal eagle. In fact, in three hundred hours of college, graduate school, and post-graduate school classes, I have never taken any course related to legal matters or the law. I’m familiar with the Code of Hammurabi, the Magna Carta, and the US Constitution, but that is the extent of my legal knowledge.

That being said, my legal brief will be emailed to someone extremely knowledgeable about jurisprudence. As soon as I complete my legal brief, this person will receive my legal brief. While compiling it, my phone rang. It was from the college where I teach. I answered it, and it was my dean. Talk about silence. It took me several long seconds to leave the world of my writing my legal brief and get into the present. Finally, I asked her what she needed. My dean had a couple of questions about the class that I was teaching online. I answered her questions, and then there was another sound of silence from me.

Then I expressed my hopes and fears to my dean about Ti Ti. Anyone that knows me knows that Ti Ti has been accepted at that college. In fact, Ti Ti is one of my students that I’m teaching online. I showed my dean my online grade book. I expressed my delight that my three best students who have received 100% on every assignment this semester are females from varying backgrounds. One of them is Ti Ti.

I was on a roll. I mentioned how critically important education is to women and other racial, religious, or ethnic groups. Education will assist them in getting to parity as they face discrimination in America.

On and on I went. I told my dean about an assignment I give every class at the beginning of the semester. I dealt with my family moving to Mt. Lebanon, my two dances with death, The Epic of Gilgamesh, the importance of overseas travel, my family in Myanmar, and Andrea Bocelli.

I went back to Ti Ti and her problem getting a student visa. My dean knows my game plan. She knows how the mistreatment of Ti Ti by the US Embassy in Myanmar rattles me to the very core.

This is Ti Ti’s photo required by the embassy to get a student visa.

Ti Ti

This picture is Ti Ti’s office in my home. I took the photo of Ti Ti when we first met a decade ago. It is next to the Lady, Aung San Suu Kyi, her mentor.

Desk area

My dean knows about my legal brief, which will be emailed to one of my mentors, who I never met. He doesn’t even know my name, but he will in a couple of days. I told her about an essay that my web administrator had just posted to my website, Problems are Assets. Problems are invaluable to all of us. I fully understand that. However, my knowing how poorly embassy personnel have treated Ti Ti is beyond the pale. She and I are facing both pain and suffering. Nevertheless, it will be worth it as soon as she gets to attend college in America.