Inconsolable Tangential War Victims

It’s very hard to ignore the amount of suffering going on by people who just a few years ago were living an idyllic life just like me; worried about having enough time/money to simply have a few days off to spend with wife/husband/kids/parents/family/friends… Or just sitting in a cafe and sipping a coffee or tea and enjoying a book or something. Now just endless war and death for what? Someone in a palace far away with some random agenda decided whatever and now their entire vicinity is rubble. People just getting massacred because its Tuesday.
I tried to refrain from saying something about this, but my mind won’t rest.

My ancestry commands my fingers to talk about how my mama grabbed my shoulders as we watched the latest horrors coming from both Gaza and Ukraine last week. “Those people were already living in an open prison. Now they have nothing. It’s nothing but kids playing in fucking rubble, and they kill the children. It reminds me that bullshit I grew up in,” my mother ranted. She’s 78 and feisty AF. Anything… The tiniest little shred of a scrap that makes her remember segregation, Jim Crow and the humiliations she, my family and Black folks in general went through in her childhood and before sets her all the way off. And all the imagery coming in from that part of the world is looking like a 2024 “Let’s make Apartheid great again: Genocidal Tendencies” double feature for her.

“See, I remember they didn’t mind you spending up all your money in their big fancy department store downtown, but don’t let you have to go to the bathroom. Even a 6-year-old little black girl still has to pee in the alley behind the store, but oh they take that greenback quick. These people aren’t allowed to go to a hospital on the other side of the wall, but I bet their taxes are paying something for that. I bet their taxes probably funded that wall, those police and bullets that kill them too!” My mama was on a roll, and it might not seem as if her raging actually has a connection to the suffering going on here and now in 2024…

But suffering knows suffering, and that’s the point. Looking at videos of dead kids that were playing foosball in the street a minute ago, looking at sacks of dead bodies being unearthed from mass graves. Seeing 5-year-old boys with soulless eyes dazed because literally their entire household was killed except them… If I had the same memories my mom (and dad) had, I’d be channeling them too. The movie is the same, the characters are just a bit different. It’s even worse for me since I don’t have those memories first-hand, but I have parents, had grandparents, and have felt those aches in the collective memory with every song, prayer and hand-laying in those times we Black folks commune together. I do know what it’s like to see a friend who spent literally the last 6 hours of their life in school with me, ate lunch with me, played basketball with me, and died from a stray bullet 3 blocks from our school because someone just had to shoot at somebody they didn’t like and hit everyone and everything including my friend but totally missed their intended target. Repeat this a few times with some other neighborhood friends, 3 cousins, and so on… So, tangentially I guess I also know a bit of what a war feels like, and the unfair pain and suffering caused by someone else who I’ll never get a reason from let alone an apology. And if I feel this pain, then surely the people causing it must have a hatred so deep that their own sadness is consumes it and makes it do these horrible things.

If we do nothing to stem the outpouring of hatefulness, it won’t stop until it’s consumed all of humanity.

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  • James Van Dyne

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