WEAPON OF THE WEAKFebruary 23, 2021 2021-05-28 16:22
WEAPON OF THE WEAK
Weapon of the Weak
“It’s not where you come from, it’s what you do with it.”
The need to pass on these stories with you arises from having been haunted by their absence myself. I need to take you to the matrix, to the all-too human tales that make our complex fabric. This is an attempt to grant you the most precious of life gifts: the right to be yourself despite, or possibly thanks, to the potential onslaught of existential heritage brought to us by the wanting souls and hungry spirits in our ancestry.
Wars produce millions of narratives that forever remain unbearable, impossible to process let alone to share with one’s children. If you are a survivor, like about everyone who preceded us, life is a relay race for subsistence in which people die in everlasting emotional agony if they ever try to glance at their past. Then, this collective, unprocessed pain moves on to the next generations undercover, turning with time into a monster fed by denial, secrecy and trauma
Of course we had our own war, and deep into a night in January of 2002, I found out that the people, who epitomized the polar opposite of what your father and I stood for, had murdered him. Now, you were unborn, a five months old foetus, and there we were amid our own collective madness, yet again. Like always, the different parties all had an identity to assert and enemies they believed they could justly hate. Psychopaths aside everyone was somewhat right, if you looked at reality from their perspective. Everyone was a little bit right, and it didn’t matter, not in the least.
You see, finding himself (Jewish heritage, American upbringing, eating cheese like a Frenchman) within a broader identity had been a choice for your father. One he was growing into every day, willingly challenged by his work as an international correspondent- when other’s standpoints and realities buck you in the head at every corner of your thought process. – The angry rhetoric of clerics we had been interviewing in Pakistan following the attacks on the World Trade Centre bounced on us and our multiple identities. Yet, all the interviews we conducted, the relentless work of spinning the human kaleidoscope around, even in its darkest corner, could leave you sick. People were consistent in that it was invariably everybody else’s wrong.
Your father was at home in the world and he asserted this by choosing me as a wife, a Dutch, Cuban, French, Buddhist, American, whatever. One that Arabs thought she looked like one of their own and so did Latinos and every manner of immigrants. He was this Jewish kid from Los Angeles whose father was born in Israel of Polish origins and his mother was born in Bagdad, out of all places. And our many origins have combined into you, an ultimately global person-to-be. That night, I ran into the bedroom of the posh but soulless house, -all beige marble and tacky mirrors- where we had been staying at and locked myself in to howl like a wild animal. This was Karachi, we were both journalists, it was almost Eid, the break of the Muslim holy fast, and I could hear the cries of sheep herded in the neighbours’ yards.
You are eighteen now, the preach goes on, if only louder, and it is still everyone else’s doing. Civilization clash is still being waived at to the world’s left behinds by the power-hungry. War is being baited as redemption and as a channel to express the masses trans- generational rage (decades of ugly world politics and wars, betrayals, manipulations and lies do this to people, invariably.) And that night, I understood that it turned out to be a blessing for us that both my parents had by default entrusted me to make sense of the stories they couldn’t live with. They locked me in with the past and threw the keys into inaccessible memories and emotional deficiencies. It made me somewhat ready for this. I mean life. (…)