Lailah Naesh (Live Your Life) [A.1, S.1]

LAILAH NAESH

“LIVE YOUR LIFE”  


An American Mayakovsky Production

A PLAY

Written By 

Walter Sebastian Adler 



CAST

Adoneav, a Fugitive

Sasho,  a Voorhi

Medvinsky, a Gangster

Dmitry, a Lawyer

Entwisle, a Patriot

Maria Silverstova, a Prostitute

Appleovich, a Subversive

  Anya, a Martyr

Newey, A Prisoner

Reed, a Marine

Rhubarb, a Mystic

Abu Hamsa, a Fixer

  Mountain, a Professional soldier 

Spirit of War, a Guerrilla

Goldy, a Courtesan

A MIDDLE EASTERN WESTERN






Synopsis: A volunteer returns from a foreign war to “Newyorkgrad”. He is re-united with old friends at a Tavern he is hiding out in, many of which he believed had died in the war. The secret police pursue him. Someone wants him dead. He is haunted by a woman that wrote to him every day on the front, Goldy, a singer who is about to marry her wealthy patron. Adonaev is soon joined by a shot girl, police spy, a gangster, an anarchist and a person who plans to kill him. 

Framing mechanism: A man hides out in a Tavern. He is joined over the course of Act 1 by many of his “dead friends”. They inquire about varying matters and engage him in drinks, poetry and song. It is not ultimately clear if he is himself dead, in some purgatory, or living out an unhinged non-reality confined in a mental hospital. It is revealed that at midnight tomorrow the love of his life will marry a wealthy man for citizenship. 

In Act 2 varying charterers previously introduced take hostages at the Millennium Theatre, in an effort to stop the marriage, which the media declares an “act of terror”, related to the unknown foreign war. Sebastian and his group are ultimately killed with bullets and poisonous gas.  

Conflict: In Act 1, tension builds as 1 or more of the “Old and New Friends” are planning to kill fugitive Sebastian. Ends with a shoot out. In Act 2, the friends take hostages at a theatre, they all are ultimately killed when the police pump in poison gas and then raid the building.


























ACT ONE

SCENE 1

SET IN:

NEWYORKGRAD

Adonaev, a fugitive is being hidden in a Tavern. A soldier returning from a foreign war, losing his mind. A shot girl, Maria Silverstova with forty bullet shots, sells Vodka based drinks. Ever present smoking a cigar is Sasho, the owner. Also, the Gangster Medvinsky, an old friend of Sebastian and Peter, a marine and decorated war veteran. They are later joined by Dmitry, a lawyer bringing bad news of a wedding. Watson Entwisle, newly returned from the colonies with news of an uprising there. Alexander an anarchist, and a professional Solider “Mountain Rock” are all veterans from the war. And Siegfried Sassoon, a Cuban Actor shows up to warn Sebastian the police are looking for him. 

Improbably in walks Anya Campbell, who died in the war. Dan Newey, who was last known to be in Prison; a young sultry Lebanese debutante Anya Rhubarb, the Fixer Ayar Rassool and the burly Guerrilla commander Jansher the Georgian.)

One or more of these old and newly dead friends plans to murder Adonaev. He is told that around midnight the next day Goldy his confidant will soon marry her patron after curtain call at the Millennium Theatre.

SONG

Well I guess I didn’t die in the war!

I’m alive!

But my friends are dead.

I survived to say the most and do the least.

We are the ones who held the barricades

I just returned, 

On a shuttle from the fires of the Middle East,

I survived, I survived by happenstance,

This I know!

When dozens that I slept beside are now in coffins,

In the ground below.

This revolution is a first, and perhaps also a last chance.  

Their fearless faces,

 Are now martyr posters on a wall,

Reports are now coming in, the Turkish Army is fast advancing;

Rojava will likely fall!

Well I guess I didn’t die in the war!

I’m alive!

But my friends are dead.

I walk in concentric circles, I try to tell our story,

A story etched upon my brain.

I tell the tale to many scared civilians, they look at me like a mad man,

A foreign person person gone insane! 

Thanks to the fallen, the Islamic State is now defeated.

Thanks to to the YPG and YPJ these bandits have retreated.

Now raise the glass or the flag!

For what we’ve done! 

American thanks, still it remains unsaid.

There was a clear and present danger,

A vile Jihadist menance,

Lives lost, flags flown high, the dead cannot mourn the dead. 

Thanks to my training:

I can stay awake for days,

Here I am! 

Here I am.

I’m alive, I’m alive but my friends are dead,

Find me the means, count me in all the ways! 

Back in this fortress of a city,

In the heart of the Empire,

Make a stand;

You know the way!

This is your land.

What we gave and what we lost is a nightmare, that forever will replay!

On the very soil of my homeland, 

the total safety of this place,

I beg my God, I beg my family and my lovers,

Give me bullet.

Let me not die in disgrace!

In my adopted not-a-country Kurdistan,

The enemy advances 

The Turkish Army kills my people, burns our cities,

Aims to defeat our revolution,

What are the odds,

What are the chances?

I know forever I will carry, the faces of my dead friends, dagger etched inside me the on the inner most compartment of my mind,

There so much hurry up and waiting, there were bodies on the road,

40,000 died for Kurdistan!

Everything around you could explode!

There was fire on the mountains there, there was bloody murder in the streets,

There was marching, there was dying,

And defeating

There was attacking,

There was terror,

There going forward then retreating.   

Thank to my training,

I can take apart a rifle. I can put it back together. 

Thanks to my training,

I can engage in democracy, I can believe we can do better. 

Well I guess I didn’t die in the war!

I’m alive! I’m alive!

But my friends are dead.

I was hiding in that Tavern, then Adonaev said: 


ADONAEV:

I had spent my 33rd birthday in a Chinese bathhouse, if your could call it a bath house in Sulymaniya. During our border re-entry run from Rojava back into Iraq, most of our column was blown apart in missile strikes, we hid in a P.K.K. dug out for two days. I was covered in piss, shit blood, mostly other people’s blood, mostly my own piss. 

Jansher, my commander, I think he died. Died getting us out of Rojava before the Turkish invasion began. I turned 33. An Armenian volunteer bought me an oriental woman, but all I wanted to do was take a long hot shower. Wash the filth and death off of me. Get out of that fucking uniform forever, get on the next evacuation shuttle. Get back to Daria Andreavna alive. 

Now!I am back in Newyorkgrad, far from the war in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. But! The war and the ghosts never leave me. I ride the train with plump and ignorant civilians. Some Chornay put on an obnoxious show time. 

By way of Baghdad then Cairo, now I am back. My mind isn’t where I had thought I’d left it and nether are any of my friends and family. Is it March? It’s March or it’s April. I have just done a forty day bid in the hospital. Might have been eighty with a two day run for the mountains in between. I might be facing an assault charge. I might be tailed. I hide in the only place I think I can fit in. A Tavern on Ludlow street. I call Sasho from a pay phone. He says to lay low and head to the Tavern riht before night fall.

I don’t know what the hospitals did to me, actually. I just want to kill myself. 

I show up to the Tavern very early. The place is empty. The owner Sasho isn’t around nor is my friend and associate, the Gangster Medvinsky.

On the wire, I heard Ms. Daria Andreavna will get married tomorrow on her 29th birthday, right after the curtain call on a play she sings in, in Midtown. She wrote me every day during the war. I think I’m just too late.

I think I’m being followed. I threw my phone in the river. Now I don’t have a phone. I’m either chasing myself in a circle around the Isle of Man, or the follow follow men are trailing me. Seeing who I meet with, before the pick me up again. 

Well anyway, there’s only one way in, but four ways out of this Bulgarian tavern.

Other than a pity coffee here and there, everyone is nervous about me and giving me tons of space. Avoiding me that is to say. Not Medvinsky, he’s buying me drink. Out in the wide open. Like he doesn’t give a fuck!

In walks a Shot girl Maria Silverstova.

ADONAEV

Zdrastvistia.

SILVERSTOVA

Why Hello my very strange one, my wayward and my leeward Amerikanski. You can say to me Privet, my old new friend. I know you naked.

ADONAEV

I had met Maria at the Bulgarian Bar the very night I got off the evacuation plane. I had met her again on international working woman’s day.

She gave me a good price. There are 70 Rubles in Dollar. Her shots, they cost 280. Her body much more.

SILVERSTOVA

I tell people I’m from Moscow, though of course I am not.

My waist is tight and breasts are quite ample. It is all contained under a little black cock tail dress. Holding around forty plastic bullets of Vodka; I sell them in the Tavern for 70 Rubles apiece. Ethnically speaking I am clearly one of Russia’s 157 sub-ethnicities, perhaps a Chechen, perhaps part Tajik or Uzbek. I think I am a very good listener.

Sasho said you were coming to hide out with us.

ADONAEV

I’m looking for Medvinsky.

SILVERSTOVA

 And Medvinsky, he looks for you.

SILVERSTOVA:

Sasho said “try and make him happy”.

Sasho has a long history with him. Aiding and abetting a terrorist. The Bulgarians have never really expelled him from that ugly little tavern. In an on scene kind of way, maybe they encourage him. Giving him a refuge.

Adonaev doesn’t remember meeting me 80 days ago. He came here right from the airport. Had Sasho the Voorhi sort him out some work and some papers.

He looked and still looks like a terrifying person, a real mad man.

He had just gotten that very same night in a stupid fist fight, beat a Chornay half to death yelling racial epitaphs. And almost been asked to exit, relinquish his tavern card last Saturday.

I draw him over to a small table, though on duty as shot girl I remain an inquisitive journalist.

ADONAEV

Maria, Tovarish Maria how goes the life of night?

SILVERSTOVA:

I’m alive. It’s a start. Would you like a drink?

ADONAEV

    Not on your ruble.

SILVERSTOVA:

There’s other Rubles to pour from. Let’s sit.

Tell me about the Civil War. A little bit, enough to have a sense of what anyone is supposed to do about you or your friends who came back to us.

ADONAEV:

More good was done than any evil, by my otriad anyway. I’m sure the others killed more Jihadists and I did more medical care, but it was all a group effort. But really, few of my friends survived the war. 

The Arabs and Kurds are just going to grind away until Turkey rolls in to squash the entire revolution.

SILVERSTOVA:

What Otriad did you serve in? I’m a little familiar with actors.

ADONAEV:

I served in the Shahid Firat Tabor of the People’s Protection Units, the Y.P.G.

SILVERSTOVA:

Y.P.G.?

ADONAEV:

The Kurdish Militia recieving American support to defeat the Islamic State.

SILVERSTOVA:

Freedom fighting or U.S. Imperialism, maybe both?

ADONAEV:

We were defending the only Democracy in the Middle East besides Israel. Turkey was bombing us from the North, Al Qaeda attacking from Idlib in the West, the Hashid Ashabi Popular Mobilization forces from the east and ISIS from the south. 

You take guns from who offers them in that situation.

SILVERSTOVA:

So, on the news tonight. Turkey has begun a new Operation against Rojava. You are aware Afrin Canton is almost completely over run and Mambij is next and the Turkish army will probably undo all if any progress you all had made out there, against who ever it was the Americans had you fighting? And have now abandoned.

ADONAEV:

I don’t sleep well anymore. I use combinations of masturbation, drinking and drugs to put the lights out, I guess some emphasis on the drinking too. I get it. We all died or almost died or didn’t die and it was all for nothing. I get it. And Daria Andreavna and will never see each other again, and I writhe in pain avoiding my face in the mirror.

I need from you, or Medvinsky. A different kind of bullet.

SILVERSTOVA:

Prosto! You need a new whore! Someone to pay to love you ever better. Not me, I’m too much for you too. I too want luxury carrots remember, not paintings or any poems. The couple times we eye to eyed, we french kissed, it just makes me pity you a lot.

You’re basically not a man to me or Daria Andreavna. You have no car, no good job, no property and for right now no ability to move beyond your own paralysis. I and she and others like us have to think about papers.

ADONAEV:

Ne-yet Prosto. Not simple. I need a revolver so I can restively and decisively shoot myself in the head like a man! Or turn it on her fat ugly Patron. That will be enough. I should have died with my friends in Afrin.

Do you even possess the understanding to know what is on the table there? Do you even have the care? They were liberating the women, they were instituting a democracy and they were planting trees. I feel like I briefly defended a utopia, only to be cast out.

Sent back here where I am less than a man. Less than criminal!

SILVERSTOVA:

Prosto! (Simple) Go back to the begging of the narrative and explain me your motivation!

Tell me how your valiant and slightly suicidal mission began and the connection between your ideas on free life verses a meaningful life in motion. Be, fucking linear! Tell the tale from beginning to end instead of dancing around like a crazy person.

ADONAEV:

Tovarish Maria, I would like a dance from you first. I will pay the full amount in dollars.

SILVERSTOVA:

Your money Tovarish, they say is no good here. You can’t pay for a bullet or dance. You can’t pay in Rubles, Dollars or faceless Dinars. 

You can buy time with or with out sympathy.

ADONAEV:

Sympathies with the resistance?

SILVERSTOVA:

Sympathy with an American Mayakovsky, and those who enjoy his performances. Shamelessly flailing, shamelessly throwing himself in front of armies and trains, over what?

ADONAEV:

You do in fact know what!

SILVERSTOVA:

You know I don’t partake in the lap land for free. Don’t you have a forest wife in Nizhny Novgorod as well as a son somewhere? It will cost you nine hundred dollars to degrade yourself and me tonight.

That actually 64,800 Rubles an hour. Supply and demand.

I don’t think you even have enough for a bullet. Certainly not enough to buy the only thing you really want.

ADONAEV:

I don’t have 100 Rubles to my name.

SILVERSTOVA:

Then you get what you pay for, which is nothingly nothings.

ADONAEV:

What is my story worth?

SILVERSTOVA:

It’s worth less than a lap dance.

ADONAEV:

I need her you know.

SILVERSTOVA:

Oh that we all know.

“It doesn’t take a weather man or woman, to know which way the winds blow.” Old American saying?

   ADONAEV:

I don’t follow pretty your little allegory.

SILVERSTOVA:

Old Russian saying, “I want to dance on your face until your mask falls off.”

    ADONAEV:

     That one I understood, perfectly.

SILVERSTOVA:

As if I was making reports in Russian, or Turkish.

“He has just returned from Syria. The duration of the self deployment was around nine months were we to include Cuba and Russia and also Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. He is haunted. And despondent, a veteran of the People’s Protection Units; called the Y.P.G, you pronounce the G as ‘gay’. He has been with out any doubt ideologically indoctrinated by the Kurdistan Workers Party and given some basic military training. Brain washing. He is to be watched, if necessary eliminated.”

Well I guess you didn’t die in the war.

ADONAEV:

Well I guess I didn’t die in the war.

There was a lot of shame in that. I was mysteriously back in New York, trapped and totally useless. All my best efforts forgotten and amounting to less than one nothing.

SILVERSTOVA:

Stop talking and thinking only about yourself for a minute blat. Tell me about your murdered Comrade Anya Campbell. Tell me about your soon to be dead Kurdish friends.

Enter the Gangster Medvinsky




MEDVINSKY:

But Sebastian Adonaev, being the Sebastian Adonaev, who I invest too much time and energy in; he hopes to fully con-volute the narrative.

Blur apart the story war and Islamic militancy and revolutionary fervor with busty sex-escapades, pornographic poems and perhaps some borrowed prophesy and Haitians. Chornay dancing about the room waving their flags in the air.

Maria, call up some of your friends this man needs a serious distraction.

SILVERSTOVA:

A simple patriotic task.

MEDVINSKY:

One night at the tavern, about one year after Sebastian arrived home. I was sure he was being followed. His quest which began in Cuba, then Russia, then Iraq, Turkey, Iraq, Turkey, Iraq and then finally Syria), or also about eighty days since he returned a version of his former self. He tries to tell me about his time in Kurdistan.

In the end, the sad conversation always goes back to Daria Andreavna.

ADONAEV:

What news do you have about Daria Andreavna?

MEDVINSKY:

Listen man, not again.

She’s all cleaned up. Singing on Broad Street.

ADONAEV:

She wrote me..

MEDVINSKY:

…every single day of the war?

ADONAEV:

Da.

MEDVINSKY:

They have apps that can do that now. Robots can also write you every single day too. You don’t even need to pay them, or sponsor their citizenship.

ADONAEV:

She loves me. And I love her. And the rest of the details can get figured out. For nine months she urged me to come stay alive and come home. I need to find her.

MEDVINSKY:

You can’t even consider supporting Daria, look at the state you’re in.

Even if you were rolling in it, why would you support a woman and her son, who isn’t your son, to stay here? Out of made up imagined duty to act? A perverse Russian American love sickness? 

The kind that sent you to Syria in the first place. You can’t even be your own damn Patron. She’s taken anyway man. Someone else has been paying her rent, credit cards and keeping her papers in order.

ADONAEV:

Sergei? Dmitry? The Chubby Brahman? Corporate Bruce?

MEDVINSKY:

What does it matter? Other people’s property now.

ADONAEV:

I need to see her tonight.

MEDVINSKY:

Impossible. She’s a kept woman. Kept a lot closer now. 

ADONAEV:

Well I have her tower address. Maybe leaning towards possible.

MEDVINSKY:

No. Certainly. What do you care or know about children, much less someone else’s children. The boy will need Russian language school. He has ADD so maybe a specialized school. Where will you live? Where are you living now? How will you even get that bitch a visa? Leave her alone anyway. 

ADONAEV:

These are all unanswered questions. I love her though, I feel like I need to do this. She wrote me every day during the war.

MEDVINSKY:

Nope. You do not. In a month you’ll have another woman, or girl if you want. In the meantime is Daria even talking to you?

ADONAEV:

No, she is not. She cut the letters off a couple weeks ago.

MEDVINSKY:

Prosto, that’s it. You too were an okay team once. You supported each other, in a very strange way.

But really, that Suka is curse.

ADONAEV:

She’s only with, who ever she is with for some money and the green card.

MEDVINSKY:

And you actually want a paper work marriage and world of work?! You’re not stupid Sebastian, but your head is not on the right way again. Go slap yourself in a bath room. Go jump on the shot girl for a ride.

You have less than 100 Rubles. Two whole fucking American dollars.

You cannot afford a woman like Daria Andreavna, I will just come out and say that. You do not have enough shiny gold things.

ADONAEV:

Not yet.

Next thing we know a Martyr and a dead Guerrilla enter our Tavern.

ANYA:

In video recording a deceased Ana Campbell tells us, “Yes, forgive me loved ones, I died immediately in an airstrike in Afrin. My body was in, smithereens.

Afrin was shortly overrun by Jihadists and the Turkish State. It was the Western most canton of Rojava; the besieged revolutionary movement called Democratic Confederalism that defeated ISIS and took over 45% of Syria, until the Turks began to bring a genocide upon us in April 2018.

I died pretty. I was a true believer. Sebastian blames himself for my death, but really I was a true believer in the cause. I could have died much worse if the Turkish Army or its proxies took my alive. I would have been gang raped. And had my head cut off eventually. Like all the others.

Sebastian lives with his guilt but Dan Newey another guerrilla I almost once kissed, he does not.

Dan Newey is in a British prison accused of terrorism. As are his brother and father. He mourns me loudly. Honestly, we all lost a lot and much defending the Revolution, but we internationalists that the papers now call “the new Chechens”, we were actors on a stage of world events, but we didn’t do that much.

Now I’m dead, which I’ll tell you seems like being on the mountain without being shot at. It’s peaceful, I’ll have him tell you that. I died with my A.K. in hand. I believed in this, I wasn’t mentally ill. I wasn’t a bandit girlfriend. This was, this is, big and important, but sadly as far as self-defense; a mirage.

Without American airstrikes to back us up we melted under Turkish air power.

At the time of writing this my corpse is still behind Turkish lines and it looks like Mambij is next and then all of Rojava will fall to the Turkish Army, a U.S. ally and second biggest in N.A.T.O.

I was happy alive and happy also dead. But vicariously, I grieve for my Arab and Kurdish comrades who prepare to make Shahid Namorey, immortal martyrdom.”

JANSHER:

Alcohol is Prohibited in the Party.

  I’ll order a water or a Tonic. Drink it in a pint glass like a man. When I was young, I worked seedy places like this.

Actually, I tried to prepare them for a lifestyle of revolutionary militancy. Kill the enemy. Kill the enemy before the enemy can airstrike, execute, torture or disappear you and your friends. I don’t think they all got it. The training was just too short. They retained much of their Western bourgeoisie privileges. They thought it would maybe be like a movie. It’s a shame the woman died, she was the one with possibly the very most potential, excluding the Germans. That’s all I can say about that, Heval.”

Heval is the Kurdish Kurmanji word for friend.

The Front of the Frontline

“Front of the Front Line”:

EMS Honors its Covid-19 Dead

Whatever the “Front of the Frontline is”, that is where the women and men of EMS always stand.

Sometimes people hand you a dead blue baby, and you have to do everything at 10,000 miles an hour. Sometimes you turn up on a huge hysterical crowd where a couple people were shot and are bleeding everywhere. Sometimes you have to deliver a baby in a project stairwell. Sometimes you show up to a tight asthmatic gagging ready to arrest. Or you bring back a junkie, over and over and over again. The same junkie. Or sometimes you show up and someone was just raped in a park. Or you show up and shots are still being fired or a building is still on fire and you have to stand across the street in case someone has been burned alive get carted out and thrown on your stretcher.

You have to rely on your training. For an EMT three-months and for a Paramedic one year.

You had to feel and to care so much to have even shown up for the training. But to keep working you have to learn to un-feel and un-care and learn to forget. 

You had to learn to drive with an efficiency and speed that allows you to get to these terrible moments quickly. You have to carry with your partner 125 pounds of gear up the stairs, or down a subway tunnel, over the river or through the woods. You have to bring the first thirty minutes of the ER out to the streets. 

EMS did this during Hurricane Sandy, we did it on 9.11 and we did this for the very worst five weeks of the Covid 19 Pandemic. We are made “different” by how much we bring, but also for being closest to the danger of an emergency, we always are bold. We leave no one behind. 

It was like a vast invisible wave broke over the city and suddenly everyone who was elderly and everyone who was infirm started going into cardiac arrest.

It was like a natural disaster, except that it wasn’t. There was no clear epicenter or limit to the contagion. There was no sense that the worst was ever over. There was no warm zone. There was nowhere to retreat to except sleep when you could get it.

For most of the Pandemic it was all of us together against an invisible relentless enemy, rapidly spreading out amid fever, cough and death. Unlike all other “front line” services, EMS was running towards unpredictable death, as usual with inadequate equipment, shortages of everything, being compensated as though it were all a summer job. 

I remember very well the worst five weeks of the Pandemic, for there we were with our ambulances, our stretchers, our chairs and our oxygen tanks, arriving at cardiac arrest, after arrest, after arrest. Using the same masks for weeks. Carrying men and women out of their homes in our stair chairs as they desaturated and respiratory arrested right in front of us. In a city that suddenly couldn’t breathe. 

In the very worst period, those five weeks of total chaos; 20% of the FDNY went out sick. Fire Fighters stopped going out on medical calls, then going in much much slower than usual. In that chaos hundreds of EMTs and Paramedics came from around the country, deployed to NYC to manage a daily call volume above 7,000 a day. All services took casualties, everyone was thanked for their service. The pandemic moved to other parts of the country. Some we saved, many we did not. 

Sometimes a civilian friend or a pretty girl at the bar will ask, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.” And then, no matter what you say or don’t say, they change the subject. It’s just so dark what we actually have to do. Show up over and over again as people get sick or die. Over the course of the Pandemic a lot of people died one after another.

Recently, as the smoke began to clear the from Covid-19 Pandemic which killed over 22,872 New Yorkers; the Emergency Medical Services counted our own dead. 

So far there have been at least 17 active duty deaths, and 9 amid EMS retirees. Thirteen died from line of duty Covid-19 exposure. Three were from out of town. Several were 9.11 Responders, men and women with over 20 to 30 years in EMS. Several worked at Voluntary Hospitals. Most people in EMS with or without a pension can’t actually afford to ever retire.

Four didn’t die from Covid-19 directly. They died from the bullets of a gun and from drug addiction. Two from overdoses.Two commited suicide off the clock.

John Mondollo was a 23 year old probationary EMT at the FDNY EMS at Bathgate Station 18 with less than 3 months on the job. Matthew Keene was an FDNY EMS Lieutenant, an experienced EMS Officer at Station 17, the Highbridge Outpost. Which is to say one was brand new and one was quite experienced. 

Alexander Raso, a 24 year old FDNY EMT from Station 59 died from a drug overdose in the very beginning of the Pendemic. Brandon Dorsa, a 36 year old FDNY EMT was critically disabled when his ambulance was struck and flipped over in a collision in 2015. He was permanently disabled, developed serious depression and subsequently transferred to Dispatch. His death,  another an alleged suicide was reported on Wednesday 7/15.

The NAEMT published results from a survey indicating that, compared to the general public, EMS professionals had a tenfold higher rate of suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Perhaps the greatest unquantifiable stress associated with the Emergency Medical Services is the feeling that you and your partner have been trained well and tasked to save lives, but over and over again you must watch people die right in front of you. That is in essence a serious part of our job, we must day after day, night after night be there for the worst moments of your lives, realistically speaking, statistically speaking. We are only going to save a certain portion of the lives we are thrust into, called into at the very worst moment to effect. 

The very best EMT or very best Paramedic is only going to be successful some small part of the time, but on varying levels, in varying ways your traumas seep right into us.

The vast majority of people who go into cardiac arrest in a prehospital setting do not come back, and when a combination of early CPR, intravenous epinephrine and defibrillator shocks do bring them back only a tiny percentage of a percentage are neurologically intact, walking out of that hospital to see their families. Over 90%, they just die and they stay dead. They might die in an ER, or spend months or years on life support, but most do die. 

These are very unnerving, intimate moments. We are physically pumping the heart of your dead loved one. We are pushing medications, placing a tube down the airway, we are for about twenty or thirty minutes, with fire men hovering around us, angels of life and death. In the park, trains, six floor carry down tenements, 5 star hotels and housing project towers.

In moments like these, a whole family screaming and crying, your partner advancing a laryngscope blade and ET tube down the trachea of your loved one, who had just been having dinner with you. While you watch the EKG screen flicker out the signals showing what is happening in this person’s heart. You tie off, you insert an IV, you spike a bag of normal saline and begin pushing the appropriate variants of drugs or shocks per signal, the EMTs do CPR, and you try not to get blood, vomit or feces on your uniform. It’s very stressful work trying to bring people back from the dead. It also doesn’t pay the bills consistently in New York City.

So we all have 2, 3 or 4 jobs. We all work 50, 60 or 70 hours a week. A lot of the Medics are in Nursing or PA school too. It is that combination of high stress, chaotic draining interactions, lack of any respect and long long work weeks that does people in. People abandon this field the very minute they can. Most quit this field after only 4 years. 

Some go crazy from it. The rest, it changes us probably for the very worst. The saying goes “Don’t lose your civilian friends”, but you do. And for some, 10 times the national average, they give up. They take their own lives in one way or another. Like Lt. Matthew Keene and EMT John Mondello with guns. Like FDNY Paramedic Lenny Joyner who went alone up a mountain in 2012. Like EMT Alexander Raso who overdosed in March of 2020. Like many that never even made the news.

The parity issue is larger than EMS. It has to do with a wider issue of the public paying for two systems. One that’s mostly white and one that’s diverse, but the diverse system always gets less and inadequate service.

EMS “deserves more” not because it is stressful, or dangerous or how well we did during the Pandemic. We deserve more because of supply and demand. More because we generate profits. More because we do so much every day for New York.

For the sixteen Martyrs we lost, that we know about, for the nine old time EMS members who just passed for all the 13,500 men and women out right now on the trucks as we speak, let’s renew our demand for parity. Let’s be united as a service that is resourceful, resilient and diverse as the city we serve. We do as much or more as any other uniformed civil servant. We’d like to be paid like adults, to live in the city we come from. The city we serve.

Rest in Power:

FDNY Lt. Matthew Keene 

FDNY EMT Brenden Dorsa

FDNY EMT John Mondello

FDNY EMT Idris Bey

FDNY EMT Gregory Hodge 

FDNY EMT Douglas Gertz

FDNY EMT Richard Seaberry

FDNY EMT Alexander Raso

FDNY EMT-D John Redd

FDNY EMT-D Michael Lalima 

FDNY EMT-D Emilio Navedo

Paramedic Marlene Picone/ Maimonedes 

Paramedic Anthony ‘Tony’ Thomas  (HHC/FDNY EMS), NYU Langone

CCEMT-P, RN Brian Saddler/ Northwell

Paramedic Paul Carr/ Ambulnz

EMT Mike Field/ VSFD

EMT Salvatore Mancuso/ BGFD

17 Active Duty EMS Deaths

Retired MOS

FDNY Chief Edward Gabriel ®

FDNY Lt. Trudel Hiller ®

FDNY Lt. David Stone ®

FDNY Lt. Richard Dunn ®

FDNY Paramedic Robert Gibbs ®

FDNY EMT Jim Geraci ®

FDNY EMT Robert Hudson ®

FDNY EMT Robert Hudson ®

EMT Sy Collins ® 

9 Retiree Deaths

Author Bio:

Paramedic Walter S. Adler is a 16 year veteran of the Emergency Medical Services and a Native New Yorker. He served the FDNY EMS for 4 years and has served overseas in Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq and Syria. He is currently a 911 Paramedic with Montefiore EMS and BronxCare EMS in the Bronx.

Responsa

Now that our breathe has been held on the latest nonsensical peace plan.

I’m just trying to get up to date, on modern thought process? After “the occupation” ends, hypothetically by raw demographics and a South Africa style global movement in say 2050, when it ends and the Islamic resistance succeeds in bringing an end to ” Israeli apartheid”, will the 4 to 5 million non Palestinian Israelis be allowed to bring their 200 nuclear missiles to New York City, or should we hand them over to the Palestinian unity government? Or neutral broker Iran?

Second, once “the Zionist entity” is replaced by a clearly unprecedented Human rights observing, pluralistic democracy, will Palestinians avenge themselves on virtually every regional power who exploited or massacred or expelled them and side with Iran? Or, use their high level of literacy to collaborate with big Christian or Chinese super powers. Or go their own way?

Third, will Palestinians accept a state in West Bank, Gaza, all of Sinai, all of Jordan, Southern Lebanon and half of Jerusalem and a 100 year Hudna? In an Israeli and Iranian lead Confederation? Or is anti Zionism so profoundly entrenched that only the sea will do?

I’m not making fun. I seriously am curious if anyone actually has a plan besides put Jews into the sea.

Anfom.Frere

January 4th, 2012

It has been two years since I first arrived in Port-Au-Prince. It is remarkable how short it feels, the eyes close just for a second and flashes of the dream on fire emerge in a slew of most visceral memories; as if they were the lips of a lover parted with just one moment before. Yelizaveta, how I miss her already; and if the last two years has erupted now in snap shots, bombastic escapades and grind; well in just eight hours I miss her as if it were a month, then a year, a forever passing in rapid cycle. Time is relative, memory subjective but for the past two years, really two human moments, there has really been only the desire to possess Yelizaveta juxtaposed with my total solidarity with the Haitians. The moral empathy, endless struggle to know them as a people so that I might wed my trade and toil and talent to the cause of their inevitable liberation.

    The attainment of human rights long deferred and structurally denied.

    I am now on a plane. It is Continental Flight 1647 and Victor Emile Cange, my stalwart comrade and partner in this operation slumbers silently, Christianly even. Next to me. We have succeeded in moving 840 kilograms of Basic Life Support medical equipment past U.S. customs and home land security. Long boards have become surf boards, bags loaded with stethoscopes, sphygmometers, training manuals, wound care supplies, are all just our non-declared tourist items. The second anniversary of the quake is eight days away, it is 4th January, 2012, by body is tried still from the ethanol athletics of New Years. Yelizaveta is still on my very lips, I can still feel where she grabbed the blue collar of my uniform and pulled me in.

    Victor and I are wearing the unmarked blue battle dress uniform fatigues of the movement we are affiliated to; the Banshee underground, and the z.o.b. We suspect these uniforms will allow us more scrutiny going into country while lending less scrutiny to our bags. There is an embargo on all bulk items entering the country not coming in as declared and taxes humanitarian cargo until January 15th

    Like most Blan initiatives pre/post-quake; the dynamics of doing any so-called good are maddening and inexplicable; and have many factions to blame themselves on. Principally always the tiny 5% of the Neg, Mulatto and Arab bourgeoisie, followed by the MINUSTAH UN authorities, the cartels, and the Republic of NGO technocrats. And also the heat, and also history and illiteracy, and famine and rampaging Nepalese Cholera too. 

    Once again, we are flying into a hell. Flying into the city of lost children and shattered dreams; the land of many mountains. Ayiti Cherie! We are the third wave of the reinforcements from New York. We will meet Tiputti Capois, our oldest associate and brother at Toussaint L’Ouvature International Airport. And re-supply the Gwoup Ayisyen pou Ijans, the Haitian Emergency Group. We will meet their members and prepare them rigorously. EMT practical drills and negotiations on their future, and plans. We will ready them to stand before the archangel Michael Mastroianni who arrives 21st January to administer a witnessed practical and written EMT exam. For whatever good it will do I pray we find them stalwart and reasonably well organized.

    I pray too that the city isn’t exactly as I left it two years ago.

    Around us on the plane are the faces of Haiti; noire, mulat, blan and representing all things. Things tragic, things ineffective, things self-serving, self-dealing, against and for human dignity, faces of perseverance, of calm of nervousness of taking and of giving. There is also the hard face of Haitian pride, indomitable. 

    So many trying with the mandate of science, God, and reason to remake the face of Haiti; save her somehow in some small way.

    So many never even asked the Haitian people. Too many are simply short sighted interventionists. Or cowered by the ten million masses shackled in the modes of survival. Today we will ask the GAI and their members where to from here? Victor, myself, Michael, all of us in Banshee and LAHAF; all the supporters of the movement; all the veterans of the first and second waves; one and all are fighting for a small dream too.

    But thankfully none have died for it, yet. I remember so many faces from the first time; from 15 January, 2010 to 28 January, 2010; the first wave. The Bed Stuy-AMHE Detachment. Our tumultuous landing in the 6th day of relief, before the bodies were buried or the smoke had cleared. Indomitable will; fearlessness and selflessness and all of that faith we had in our humanity. The cooperative solidarity of a Kombit Medikal. That two weeks, that slaughter of so many Haitians; who knows whether it was 1, 2, 3,000,000 people; no one knows at all. That laid the basis of my dream, the dream I sold to Victor, to Cassidy, to Dominich, to Lou Auguste Jr and LAHAF, to Jenn Slitter, to all of the Banshee underground, well I’d sold the dream even to myself convincingly. We dreamed that the Haitians would have the training, will and organization to save lives.

    I must always remember the steams of the bathhouse, where me and my first partner, my first co-conspirator beautiful Yelizaveta Kotlyarova gave me true support and true unflinching council. Must also keep my parents in mind, or in a heartbeat I would lose myself in the people of Haiti and never return to America at all. Go big or go home, banshee-motherfucka-if-ya-ain’t-running-with-it-run-from-it.

    Victor knows this well.

    We were both there in the blood and rubble of the trembling earth. Our tears and their lack of tears our blood and their blood, mixed into the casement and cracks on the pavement. I may have the face of a blan, but my heart is that of a Haitian. My constitution to take the struggle to where it must logically go, all the way up the great mountain, to secure this people, my adopted people from vicious exploitation, mismanaged sympathy, foreign rape and plunder. For two whole years we organized volunteers, we supplied the GAI with trainers and gear. And reinforced the shared dream. Not EMS in Haiti! Not mere ambulances! The power to respond to human and natural disaster on their own, the ability to rescue their own people. Liberty through control of their own social services, full human rights would come later, full reclamation of sovereignty. Realization of emancipation and the conclusion of the revolution. Haiti, finally in the hands of Haitian people. 

How am I such now a major patriot for a foreign people? In their eyes I see my own people, maybe I see myself in another life. That is what the earthquake showed me about myself and my destiny. I see my reflection as a human in them. I see a way to reclaim my own humanity, restore my own life through something much more important than mere me.

And I have lost so much on this battle already, they think, some think I am a mad man possessed by the spirits. Which spirit I do not even bother to guess. Something had entered me in those grisly days of the first wave. I saw the world to come.

I saw that were I to show ineffable might, like a Haitian; I would live to see the liberation. I would live to see our victory over that oligarchy.

    The Haitian oligarchy first and then the tyrants in my own nation and all of the other plantations too. For it was in this country, this was the beginning of the Great Revolt, it was the very first time a rebel alliance took on European hegemony, slavery and colonialism; and for a time won.

    There was no only Yelizaveta and the slaughter I saw from the quake. Both opened my eyes to hating and to loving, to despair and to a possible freedom. With my eyes opened now they can never close until I am cold and dead. Haitian and foreigner, blan, mulat, neg; l’union fait la force! We are here to keeping laying a base.

The ability to heal and help is not the ability to save. Wounds and sickness across a body politico cannot be helped with small cosmetic Band-Aids. The blame for what happened here is a shared blame. There are so many people black and white and in between that have conspired to ruin Haiti. To keep her people backwards and maldeveloped as lesson to all those who would join the revolt.

Haiti hemorrhages now for 200 plus years and they kick her when she is down, they steal whatever there is to steal, they plunder and they rape and they abuse her while she lies long vanquished. 97% of the fucking trees are gone! 84% of the people live below $2 a day. No one even knows how many died in that quake because there was no census since 2004! When US marines kidnapped the first and only elected President Aristede and dragged him off to house arrest in the Central African Republic. 

But Haitians will never be exterminated. Or long brought to their knees. They are capable of incredible resistance. Résistance to both foreign and domestic enemies. A year ago Jean Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc the last dictator) returned to a city of barricades and a populace demanding his arrest. Aristede returned to be celebrated though his party Lavalas is banned an illegal still. Resistance to and beyond death. In one generation or two in diaspora Haitians have become doctors, lawyers, nurses, lawyers and business men. More millionaires than any other Caribbean diaspora. They make up 1/5 of the Greater New York healthcare work force. Who knows if these statistics are true, they reflect a fact on the ground.

In Haiti, despite the best efforts of 10,800 non-governmental organizations (Klass ONG), charities and missionaries unleashed in the 1980’s after the fall of Duvalier in 1986; things have gotten as bad as sub-Saharan Africa. A UN garrison of roughly ten thousand Brazilian and Argentine soldiers occupies the only UN peacekeeping mission in a nation with no declared ceasefire between combatants; neo-Duvalierist oligarchs and the Famni Lavlas party. 

Here everyone is dying.

Of cholera, of being a restovik child slave, of preventable disease, of Cholera, of road accidents, of child birth, or exposure and tropical storms, of hunger. Life expectancy is below 58. There are over 46,000 mostly white development technocrats here, they live well. On the top of the hills with servants and drivers. Parts of Kenscoff and Petionville look like high society France. With chipping paint. There is an opera house at the top of the mountain called Tara’s. You can see plays there or famous international musicians. There are so many Haiti’s except the one that most of its citizens live in; one of early death and great squalor.

If you are blind to that then you have not really been to this place. Or you are part to blame for it.

Many but few, have made Haiti what she is. The iron heel is elusive and complex. The violators are of all colors and creeds. NGO imperialists, human and drug traffickers, Dominican businessmen, the local oligarchy. But before we can know our enemies we must know our friends. Tiputti and his sister Tipudine Capois do not talk politics. They are not affiliated with Lavalas or any faction we are aware of.  They met us during the quake and have told our grand alliance; Alliance 01 that they will organize their people.

We began with 68 EMT trainees and I am told we now have only 25 or 26 that are ready to test out, a year later. The other possible 100 members of GAI dropped the course Paramedic Instructor Howard carried out for 6 months, but they hang around the club and see what will be offered. Their motives are as diverse as our own collection of idealisms, but they want jobs in the medical sector. They want to leave the island some. They have varying degrees of patriotism, none speak English except Tiputti and his sister Tipudine. Many were original responders like Tiputti Capois who met Victor and I two years ago during the first wave in “unit C” when we enlisted several hundred to secure the General Hospital. Many are new. Most of the serious opportunists are gone allegedly. The GAI has held out with no pay for nearly two years, we sent a scout Wilkinson Francois to assess them three months ago, he reported enthusiasm but virtually no command structure of program for the future. He reported 25-30 possible EMTs and 40-100 first aiders, Haitians despise making rosters and lists of names, so they don’t do it. 

These 25 potential EMT trainees, and 100 some odd responders, their family and friends are what we are here to properly assess the operational capability of.

Are they young bold visionaries seeking change in Haiti? Or are they opportunists as so many warned. Do they want real change, or do they just want jobs and livelihood? Well only Wilkinson had asked. Paramedic Instructor Howard has disappeared. Wilkinson as a Haitian and speaker of Haitian Creole had reported to us that they were sincere. And also a bunch of disorganized civilians in their early 20’s.

His report was what got authorization for Victor and I to proceed with a third Wave.

All the experts and much of the diaspora had told our Alliance that EMS in Port Au Prince is simply impossible. They told us our volunteers would be kidnapped, our supplies stolen or killed. They told us Haitians don’t do anything without being paid. Thinly guarded racism, a lot of it.

Victor has faith. I have zeal. And Michael Mastroianni has a great deal of expertise and we all wish to see if two years of effort had a result. Hundreds of other members and volunteers are waiting for our unit to validate or invalidate a lot of sacrifice. They came from Atlanta, from New York, from Miami, from Las Vegas, from Seattle and Chicago; 104 in the first wave, 28 medical and communications volunteers in the second wave. Now, just 3 in the third. Civilian volunteers all, mostly EMS, fire, and communications backgrounds kept this going for two years. GAI survived without pay or resources cut off from LAHAF and BANSHEE in the states except phone calls and email, periodically. They and we are fighting to give the people here and abroad something to believe in.

Hope floats? Maybe.

Soon people will testify. Haske & Mapfre, Greenlee, Denby, Marriana, Fishman and Resnick who shot a lot of film and took a lot of pictures. Hundreds of hours of never gonna be seen footage. How this occurred was wrongly held faith in the power of the media. No film was ever made. Thomas later made a short one.

Victor and I are emergency medical professionals, I’m an EMT, and he’s a paramedic. We have to determine alongside paramedic Mastroianni; was this all for nothing or is the GAI real. Can GAI pass BLS exams, take multiple choice tests and pass? They never even had power points or text books. Can they complete the eight stations of basic life support practical skills, can they hold up as real EMTs? Are they school kids or potential heroes and avenger of their people? We have to testify in less than 20 days.

Testify about the birth of Haitian EMS, and if a clandestine Haitian human rights movement can grow from that or not. In an hour we land at Toussaint L’Ouvature.

This time I bet they stamp my passport.

Thank god this is all finally happening. Despite all the struggle and all of the loss and hardship I feel as though we are close to the edge as well as the tipping point too. Real change. I pray I will never forget Yelizaveta’s face, how could I? More I pray I never fail to separate FACT from EMOTION, as all too many do in Haiti coming from the outside. I must make sure I sleep more, a little more. We have a lot of work cut out for us. Making the GAI ready for Michael, the 22 January test, the 26 January Consortium on EMS in Haiti, a lot must be done in just 22 days. 

If you ain’t running with it, run from it. That’s what my life coach Lil Wayne told Yelizaveta and that’s what she told me.

NOTES

NOTES

It is not that any of us longed to die. It was only that we believed that in this transience, this short human life, it was preferable to die on ones feet moving towards a just idea. Moving in solidarity, in defense of the powerless. Then it would be to die on our backs or our knees, half lives, shuffling along like zombies. Always asleep. With meaningless, un-free lives wasted. Lives spend like serfs and slaves.  

Have you ever had an amazing noble idea in your head? That simply refused to translate itself or find traction in reality? Have you ever risked everything, sacrificed absolutely everything for such an idea? Myopically, almost psychotically pushing forward in the face of a stubborn, intractable cruel reality. When you can bring yourself to do that. To engage in nothing short of overwhelming zealotry. Pursuing a new reality, a reality where the vast suffering of this world is mitigated. Where the chaos and carnage and daily humiliation that is the lot of most humans is undone by rights, by hope, by heroism. That is called the motivation for the fight.  

It has been a very long hard bloody road to the mountains and back from them. From Manhattan to Jerusalem to Havana. All the trips to the City of Port-Au-Prince. To Greater Boston. Back to Brooklyn then to out Russia. Across Russia on a train then into the Middle East to fight in Rojava. Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Egypt and then back to the Big Apple again. Riding on the backs of armored trucks and flying carpets. On horses, on tanks on airships. Over the great rivers and through the woods. Mountains beyond mountains beyond mountains. With stopovers where all civilization has come to a resolute end in the Fertile Crescent. Smoldering villages. Enormous cities razed to the very foundations. Once historic places, simply crushed and undone. Burning down river by river shore to deep sands of desolation. A revolution within a civil war within an endless third world war. A place called Kurdistan which exists not on maps but in the hearts and dreams of perhaps forty million stateless, long oppressed people. Engaged a very long fight for their right to exist.  

How do you make any sense of such carnage to people that were not there? How do you make an enjoyable narrative about bloody chaos? Articulate ideas that when they become facts on the ground, have vast contradictions. Has a highly improbable capability to ever survive!  

The revolution itself has hardly been secured. The struggle is hardly over. The iron heel and might of the Turkish army looms right over the border to the North. Ready to descend quickly and murder us all. Undo everything that has been fought for against the so-called Islamic State. The Forces of the bloody dictator Assad backed by the Russian army and Hezbollah dig in to the south of the Euphrates river. The collaborationist Iraqi Kurdish K.D.P. Peshmerga, the Iranian supported Hashid Ashabi popular mobilization forces, the Shi’a dominated Iraqi Army and all manners of Iranian revolutionary guards to the south east in Sinjar. To the West the Jihadists of Al Qaeda’s latest rebrand and Islamists of different types in Idlib.

Enemies of the revolution on every single side! In fulfillment of my promises I will try and present our little part of the story as the defense has really only just begun. Everything might be wiped away before you even paid attention to vastness and hope of it. I worry, no sadly I expect, that long before this manuscript is ever published anywhere, all will be lost. My remaining Hevals will all be killed. The Turkish Army will literally roll over the border and everyone will be slaughtered. This isn’t really speculation, since it has happened many times before.