It's been a while since you've heard from me and I urgently feel the need to apologize for my absence and catch up with you. But even more urgent is my need to vent now from this terribly oppressive feeling.
Today is 04-05-2022 Remembrance Day. The flag goes at half mast like every other year. Like every other year, it is a day of commemoration, musing and contemplation. Today more than usual.
My thoughts run wild when I let everything about the war sink in. This week it was stated on the radio that the liberation parades of, among others, keep them rolling (enthusiasts and caretakers of mainly military WW2 vehicles) were all cancelled. All because of the current situation regarding Ukraine. In my opinion one has nothing to do with the other and I could think of many reasons to keep it going. However, I will spare you this and for now only share my intense disappointment.
Disappointment because I find the celebration of freedom of such enormous importance right now. Especially now, because there are still veterans who can still experience it. Now it should be for so many reasons, but despite everything this decision has apparently been made and I wonder…..
Where are we then?
Where are we, is a question that keeps haunting me. Now that we've been overrun with misery for so long. Now that we have had to hear for so long what to do, what to find and especially what to think.
Where are we if we try to look objectively and in a controlled manner at the current problems in the world. Can we stand still as we try to gain some insight? Do we get wiped out when we ask questions?
Where are we if we try to learn from past experience? When we try to remember the lessons of history and apply them to the present. Do we still stand for norms and values to which meaning was previously attached? Are we ready?
Where are we when we try to comprehend that it is no longer you and me but them and us. Do we stay strong when we stand up for our way of living, being and doing? Can we still have our individual views?
Where are we if we can no longer listen and understand. If we have lost the ability to put things into perspective and to tolerate. When we are no longer able to completely disagree with the other person but still respect his or her opinion. Where do we stay then?
Where are we if we don't want to be imprinted in a certain narrative and are we still able to defend not only ourselves but also the other? Can we still stand up for those who can't do it themselves?
Where are we when we are no longer allowed to think. If we are no longer allowed to talk and especially if we are no longer allowed to remember?
I honestly don't know where we are anymore. I know very well where I stand. Because I stand for my principles, my sense of honor and my freedom.
My God-given birthrights as a human being and my right to think and be as I see fit. That's what I stand for!
For the freedoms that have been paid so dearly. Not by me but for all who gave their lives. And for that I am grateful. Very grateful and I will never forget it.
I will never forget the horrors of war, all that life that simply ceased to exist. During the annual memorial march that I walk, I pass many points where life ceased to exist. Where so many stories ended so my story can go on. I stop in those places.
Thinking about the victims who fell as a result of their superiors not wanting to hear. And reflect on the futility of conflicts that could have been so easily prevented.
A lot has changed over the years, not only has the “never again” been trashed along with Voltaire's teachings and mutual respect. The once tolerant people who understood everyone's views. And who felt comfortable with a whole range of opinions, even if they weren't their own. These same people have fallen somewhere.
This people has not stood still and is now standing right in front of the other. With a moralizing air, this people sets the boundaries of good and evil and does not shy away from any means. The people know what is good and especially who is not and see to it that the dissidents are denounced.
Because the collective is above the individual, according to the people. And the collective virtue! Is that perhaps the reason that the collective can look without batting an eyelid at images of how soldiers give their lives in 2022? This bloodshed is for a good cause, so it's virtue? Is the soldier as an individual then subordinate?
There I stand
As an outsider I can no longer comprehend it. For quite some time I have been looking at the collective from a distance and marveling. How could I feel my heart breaking every time an individual dies even though he or she just kept standing up for their views?
Alienated is what I am and alienated is what I want to be. Because you know, I don't walk my march to be able to ignore the suffering and to watch the videos of war victims emotionlessly. I'm not marching to see so much life wasted again! I walk my march to commemorate and stand still to never forget!
Am I alone?
Finally, I would like to close with the following issue. This one touched me deeply and perhaps the lyrics will make more people think.
See you soon!