The thin film of civilisation
This picture are taken on Lesvos. Her husband and baby drowned on the way over from Turkey.
This is a previously published blog which is unfortunately very topical these days. Forgive me for posting it again, just to remind us that we still allow this to happen today. And probably will in coming years.
The thin film of civilization, the small second before something changes everything. One author described life as a hike across night-frozen ice. Everything is normal until the moment it breaks.
I remember telling my brother in 1982 (when I had just returned from my first round of six months in Lebanon) that people should know how thin the walls between civilization and total chaos was.
At that time I walked around in a vacuum. This was probably a result of me having experienced the total chaos a few months earlier, but the thing is that this feeling has never let go of me. That’s why I’m an observer of everything that’s happening.
My flashbacks often start as observations of the contrasts. Playing children, birds chirping, the smell of summer, a wind blowing – all seemingly images of idyll and peace. For me, it opens up for memories. Still, of course, I would never have been without it.
I also remember sitting outside Mikis’, breakfast room. It was our starting point when we had leave from Lebanon. Mikis motel is located in the city Nahariya right on the border with Naqoura. We always came down via Rosh Hanicra (A little unsure if it is written that way) Nahariya was a peaceful spot.
I remember feeling the contrast sitting, zipping my coffee in a place just 30 miles away from the north where they bombed and fought. And Lebanon’s response to Abu Grahib, El Kiam, was in full operational order. It took me a long time to understand that this relaxation, this apparent calm was a necessity, if the israelians were going to survive.
life is a hike across night-frozen ice. Everything is normal until the moment it breaks.
I have always believed that people are good. . Actions can be evil, but when they are performed, one can always trace it back to one cause or another. To my surprise, there are many who disagree with me on this. Some believe that there exists evil people.
I have carried children out of minefields, seen mothers receive dead sons and experienced people older than my father on their way to torture and executions. Yet I know that those who committed these acts were, in the first place, never evil. They performed these actions on the basis of a misunderstood notion of what was the right path for them. Revenge, hatred, anger, loyalty, prejudice, principles, all these words that have hidden many an evil deed. Evil acts that appear to the rest of us completely incomprehensible.
But then again … I’m so naive.
(Or who do you want to be at the age of 96?) Restarting your life (or reinventing it), sounds like an American “pull yourself together”
Everything written in these pages is based on personal experience. Overall, this is the way I remember what happened. And everything, of course, is based on