Friday, April 1, 2016

The firebombing of Tamil homes in Badarawela in August, 1981. Let's put the bad things behind us.

You said it my friend. Let's put the bad things behind us. The only way is to move forward. This is what you said: "Funny thing, you forget the hatred." Funny thing you forget the hatred. You pronounce hatred so precisely. I have to roll what you've said around and around because you choose your words ever so carefully and I try to listen as carefully as I can because from most people words pour like a mighty stream. Mighty but stupid. Not from you. Words seep and drip from you slow and smart and well aimed. It's ironic. I just have to mention that yesterday I realized: I had to give up language for writing. Sounds funny but here's the deal. I had to give up (or at least my brain tells me this) getting the candy-coated experience of conversing and understanding a little bit of Tamil language so I could concentrate on what I observed, the few things I observed, the subtle things I observed, the emanations of things (see below) that I observed. I could have learned to enjoy myself in Tamil and regard, engage with, the lusty smoky language it seems. But I couldn't have learned this other stuff, the stuff I'm writing about. Don't ask me why. It's just the way I'm thinking about it. Because so much energy has gone into this. Maybe it sounds like an excuse and maybe it is an excuse but I think it's the real thing. 

So speaking of language meted out like a precious perfume. If you are mentioning the hatred, you did use the word hatred, then aren't you in a way remembering the hatred? Just asking. I know it's a bit philosophical or splitting hairs even but just the same...this is my job right now. Not to make you remember the hatred but to measure and plumb the tiny reverberations of your forgetting the hatred, in other words the tiniest emanations of hatred. These hatred emanations you emanate now have a half life. Like. What were they like twenty years ago, thirty years ago, thirty five years ago at the time of the crime? When they firebombed your house with your family inside? How were your feelings and hate colored at that time and what feelings came with the hatred and. Important to me. Which millisecond of experience triggered the hatred. Because in my experience anyway, it's not general sweeping things that cause me to hate. It's moments tinier than a moment. Moments sliced thinner than thin, incised, etched because really, those moments caused chemical change in me and in my world. If you have these moments in regard to the August 13 1981 3AM firebombing of your house in Bandarawela, Uva Province, Sri Lanka, and I presume you do, what were they? I'm leaving it open here for you to answer. Not even suggesting because it's too personal. You gotta tell me. You gotta dig it or them up. Because the way I'm hard wired anyway yes yes yes I can forget the hatred, dim the hatred, feel a fuzz and fog growing around the hatred, even feel like the hatred was (like the past tense?) silly, superfluous, unnecessary unwarranted. But. And here's my big but, those tiny thin slice moments? They stay with me. I grit my teeth over them. I crack my neck over them. I bite my nails over them. I take a swig of alcohol in the morning over them. Even if they don't come straight to mind. They are there. They cannot be exorcised. If I were talking to a shrink I could say I do all kinds of self destructive things over them. Are you hard wired differently? I don't know my friend. Because I see we are hard wired a lot the same. I sometimes feel like I'm reading you quite well, even from a distance. So no fooling me with your wan smile OK? I'm the world's biggest smiler. 

Did your hatred surprise you? Engulf you? Change you? 

Did you communicate your hatred? Like to your children? To your wife? In some way to some person you didn't know or now, like your hatred, can't remember or don't want to remember, moving forward? 

I'm less interested to be honest in your hatred or forgotten hatred or emanations of your forgotten hatred than in: how you moved forward. That is, after the firebombing of your home with your family inside. Im interested in your flight out of Bandarawela onward. Hm. Just wondering. Do we forget love the way we forget hatred? Or have we established (see above) that there are certain hates we can dismiss and diminish but certain hates that cut like knives? That keep on cutting like knives. That's the way it is with love too isn't it?

I'm not asking you to tell me what you think should be done with the perpetrators or how this whole place should "move forward" whatever that's supposed to mean--and maybe that's an imposed concept anyway. Something certain of your elite think you should do because that's what the "West" is clamoring for. 

I'm not as interested really in your opinion that forgetting the hatred (you felt) is the best way to "go forward" or even that it's the easiest psychologically or biologically as I am in this: why is this stuff held so tightly over there in the other part of Sri Lanka? Why the lies and cover ups and excuses and untrue truths and the knotting themselves into a pretzel  so as not to have to face the situation--what they did to you. Cuz it seems that you, the victim, can supposedly get over it, which is what you claim anyway, but that they, the perpetrators have an awful lot to live with. They have to keep holding on to what they did. The boys who firebombed your house with your children inside, now older gents like you and me, know what they did. They can't have forgotten. They have to keep holding it. They have to keep hiding it. You can forget your hatred (you say) but can they forget theirs? 

So in another twist sorry I just have to do this it's because your words are so rare and so carefully chosen and so quietly spoken, in another twist, can they forgive you the injustice they've done you? Can they forgive you being the victim? Can they forgive you forgetting your hate? Because they can't forget their hate. They still have the hate last time I checked. And it's blanketed under, "everybody experienced horrible things" and " there's not one person on this island who wasn't affected." If you want to put that into historical context go back to, say, Germany 1945. Oh! How those Sudetan Germans suffered under the allied occupation! Or interestingly Budapest, 1945. They were under the boot of the nazis but they cleared out their Jews pretty much unsupervised in only a year. Presto lots and lots and lots of crime there. The ones who came back from that other "there" ( the unmentionable place) met with, "yes. It was terrible for all of us. No one was untouched." So. History is in this detail I think. 

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