Monday, February 11, 2008

Memory of Survival vs. Memory of Loss

The country is divided. Nothing new, but I am referring to yet another type of division – between those raring to go into war, and those desperately wanting to avoid it.

As these different opinions repeat themselves in various conversations, they have pushed me to wonder what really separates the two. Are they two faces of the same coin? Another glass half full / half empty dichotomy, essentially meaning that it’s the same situation viewed from two different perspectives? I’m not sure. But as I analysed this a little more closely, this is what I noticed –

I have dubbed those edging towards war as those feeding off memories of survival. The memories of survival seem to stem from pride; a pride that we have survived all this, and if need be, we can do it again. That is, the game hasn’t changed, the same tools of war are all we see, and we are ready to face them again. Pride also that we will not back down for the sake of what matters to us. We will put up with random militia raids, with shortages in power, water and food, we will home-school children, we will send our children abroad to safety as we move to different homes… In short, that we will survive an irrationally crazy situation if that is our only way out.

The memories of loss reflect on the same events, remember them as irrationally crazy, and wonder why we had to be put in that context to begin with. They realize that survival, valiant as it may have been, wasn’t a choice, it was a necessity. The memories of loss recognise the sacrifices; of days, lives or hopes; and shudder at the thought of having to live with that again. Shudder at the thought of having to live beyond that again; for the survival they remember extended past the ceasefire to the arduous task of piecing their lives together again when the guns were laid down.

I’m not sure if the proponents of this second group have identified different tools, if they have found the alternative to war. My own feeling is that they’re our only hope for finding one.

One last note that also came to mind – when speaking of the civil war, nobody seems forthcoming with memories of victory. Think maybe that’s a sign…

No comments: