They ask me how it is, in this country where I live and love, and where news and politics ricochet off tree branches and crashing waves,
They ask me if I’m safe in the land that cradles me at the end of a long line of ancestors, each of whom come to me with the smell of the earth at every first rain, and the sun kissing my cheeks at any time of the year.
I reply with idle words to comfort them, the banality soothes their concern – they need not worry, this is how it has always been. They worry because the news tells them to worry, because we never appear for our win in an Olympic bid, or for hosting a world invention summit. We do not appear because we have explorers who have unearthed keys to the history of civilization (at least not recently), or because we nurture scientists who have found the cure for anything. If there was a yearbook of nations, we’d be the country that was voted “Has most potential, but too volatile to succeed”, or “Intuitively gifted, but has self-destructive tendencies”.
So I reply with idle words, though there are times when I’d like to say much more.
I’d like to say that I get up every morning not knowing if my plans will be instantly derailed by security events, but I get up anyway.
That I start planning trips for upcoming holidays not knowing if the airport will remain open, but I plan anyway.
That I browse through new houses, and make plans for rebuilding projects at home, not knowing if something will prompt us to leave suddenly, but I browse anyway.
It is indeed how we are, so we have been going on with our lives for many years, with the threat of something drastic happening looming overhead, and we go on anyway.
You are right to be concerned for us, for there is clearly cause for concern.
And I reciprocate my concern for you: our threats present themselves clear as day (sadly), and remain sternly present at the corner of our eyes. Whereas yours fall upon you without heed or warning.
One is not worse than the other, and equally not better.
I am fine and well in the country where I live, and you?