The news stations hovered around the front lawn of the White House. Even the days sporting events were interrupted as every tv station showed footage of a lone wolf laying motionless on the lawn. The likely intended target, the president, remained in the oval office, defiant. No terrorist was going to scare him. It was the same on every channel, speculation as to who this was. ISIS was already taking credit, but some comentators were asking if perhaps it was white nationalists, angry that the president hasn’t done more for their cause.
The president was safe, everyone else in the White House was also safe. A snipers bullet had hit the suspected terrorist somewhere near the right shoulder. They hadn’t made it ten feet before dropping. you could see their chest slowly rise and fall, beneath what appeared to be a suicide vest. The mask they were wearing was causing even more speculation. Why an Edward Snowden mask? Were the Russians behind it?
Still, the suspected terrorist lay there bleeding to death on national television. Official word from the White House was that the bomb squad couldn’t get their robot to work, so they were waiting for a backup. There was a lot of doubt now about weather this was a white nationalist. Everything was pointing towards ISIS, though there was certainly still a chance this was the Russians.
Homeland Security raised the national threat level. “There’s no reason to be alarmed. All we know at this point is that the suspect is likely a foreign national, with probable ties to ISIS. The President is looking into his options at this time. That’s all we have for you right now. We won’t be taking any questions”. After cutting away from the press briefing, the cameras zoomed back in on the suspected terrorist. Pennsylvania Avenue and the surrounding area was being evacuated, ‘Just as a precaution’.
The suspected terrorist started to move a little bit. “Our boys are showing a lot of restraint, I’d have lit ’em up already”. All of the who’s-who of retired generals were chiming in on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC. Scroll through the other channels and there were countless ‘experts’ explaining whats going on, and what should be done about it. “Of course, this is only speculation, but we all know that both North Korea and Iran have the ability to pull something like this off. If it’s them, this is likely only the decoy. The real attackers are waiting to strike”.
The suspected terrorist is standing up and stumbling around a bit. “They’re lighting him up, they’re lighting him up. This thing might be over” added the expert who had been assisting Anderson Cooper with the play-by-play. In a split second, the suspected terrorist dropped dead on the White House lawn. What were they reaching for? There appeared to be sticks, or branches of some sort, that they had grabbed from their jacket just before they were hit.
The backup robot finally arrived and wheeled over to the suspected terrorist. As it peeled back their jacket a little more, over 100 million Americans had to do a double-take. It was a small, lunch box-sized cage with a bird in it. The experts were still chiming in, “They have a bird of some sort, and they’re holding a handful of sticks. Maybe the explosive is attached to the bird”
A lone member of the SWAT team reached down and gently pulled the Edward Snowden mask off this persons face. It was a young woman, a young Middle Eastern-looking woman, holding a handful of olive branches in her right hand, with a frightened dove in a small cage, attached to a chain around her neck. As she dropped to the ground the second and final time, an envelope fell from her left hand. This same man reached for the cage and opened the latch. Out flew a beautiful dove, with nothing attached to it. Just a dove.
One of her roommates was talking to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, “She told me, ‘if anything happens to me, if I get arrested or whatever, I want you to share this with Amy Goodman” said the friend, through tears. Amy pulled up the young, dead woman’s blog and read a letter on the air,
“To whom it may concern:
I’m sorry for any trouble that I may have caused. My intent wasn’t to cause trouble, and certainly not to cause harm. My intent was to deliver a letter to the President, or more likely, to the secret service, in hopes that they might deliver it. Same thing with the dove and the olive branches. You see, I come from a a family of olive farmers. Well, my family used to be olive farmers before our land was stolen from us and we were forced into crowded refugee camps. I was born in these camps. My parents were both born in these camps. All of my grandparents died in these camps, with the dreams of returning to their life as farmers, denied. I honestly wish to extend an olive branch to the President of The United States, and more importantly, to the government that he represents. I hope this dove soars high above this city and finds its way to the Pentagon, and I hope it can teach valuable lessons to the hawks they reside there.
On some level, I wish that I could respond with the same anger and hatred that so many people, out of ignorance, direct at my family and neighbors, butI have learned in my short life that Dr. King was right. Hatred and violence beget only more hatred and violence. It is a vicious cycle that we must break. What Dr. King said about Vietnam rings true today, only there are far more bombs falling on far more countries killing far more innocent people, leaving far more Americans in financial ruin, mental anguish, and spiritual poverty.
I understood that there was a chance I could be killed, and if you are reading or listening to this now, I am dead. Though I didn’t want to die, it was worth it. Violence was out of the question, and self-immolation would have been unfair to my, for her to have to bury the charred remains of yet another child.
I would have certainly preferred to have been arrested in my attempt to deliver the letter, the dove, and the olive branches, but I am okay. Whether there is an afterlife, or not, I am okay. I realized that it isn’t about me. It isn’t about my family. It’s about humanity. I offer this dove and these olive branches to each and every one of you. I hope that you’ll take them, and I hope that you will forgive me for any stress I may have caused you. I know that there must have been all sorts of speculation before I was killed. Fear is the only enemy, here in America, and around the world. Fear not, my brothers and sisters.”
Somehow, Amy made it through the letter without crying.
A few days later, The White House still hadn’t released the contents of the letter this young woman had hoped to deliver. She had left an envelope with her mother, and her mother delivered it to Amy Goodman. Amy read the letter on Democracy Now!
“Mr. President, I don’t hate you. I am sad for you. My heart breaks for you, for America, and for the world. I know that you didn’t start the game. You are simply a player taking your turn at the board. Please sir, be remembered as a hero. Please sir, don’t treat humanity as pawns, and Mother Earth as the board. This is not a game. This is life, and it is a short one. One hundred years, perhaps, if you’re lucky. Just a blink. Billions of years the earth was just fine without people. But we need the earth, and each other. You are hurting yourself. We are connected, whether you see it or not. You and I are one.
So, no, I don’t hate you any more that I could hate myself. I love you, and I feel sorry for you. Please, take these olive branches, and this dove as a token of love and friendship, and a sign of peace. I deserve peace, but so do you.
Amy Goodman remained silent for a moment after reading the letter.
“There you have it folks. She wasn’t with ISIS. She wasn’t with the Russians. She wasn’t a white nationalist. That was all just speculation. She was a lone wolf. Let me be the first to say that I wish to hell that wasn’t the case. I wish there were legions of brave young women, and men, just like her.”