Security in the past
Some days I forget that my family has the most profound history.
There was a story in the paper about a girl being so insecure and distressed about her looks that she attempted suicide and failed. I found it quite sad. I can identify with insecurity. Almost anyone can.
However my aunt said this: “Hm! Insecurity, suicide…! People feel miserable about superficial crap; try living through Baby Doc and his dictatorship! Crying over looks and hurt feelings! Give me a break!”
My mom added: “Baby Doc ruled with a whip! When we were young the biggest insecurity was failing your family and abandoning your country; everything else was irrelevant.”
Suddenly my feelings of “ugly days” came into a non-existent form and I felt bad for feeling bad. Society has made us so detached; individuals looking to reach the galaxies, forgetting to collectively care for our earth.
I am amazingly grateful for life, for love, for a career and for over-all contentment, but some days I struggle. I honestly wonder how some persons who lived through such dictatorships could come out of it and be so successful and be such stable people. To me, they are incredibly admirable. Witnessing lives lost, shattered dreams and tarnished streets with blood would have sent me straight into a mental facility. But here’s my family recollecting stories, paucity, sharing close calls with the law and death with an air of whimsicality and even then predicting future events for the county.
“…mm! I saw the cholera riots; I’m telling you, Haitian men aren’t like they used to be – their faces are masked, gas bombs are thrown everywhere and then they disappear! Like ninjas!”
Then an air of seriousness descends: “I know in the 50s and 60s it was terrible, but at least we had clean streets, tourism, and we were proud of our system in some ways.”
I read the newspapers and although the news is so heart wrenching, I admit I can’t always identify with them. I don’t know their hurt, I can’t understand their loss nor have seen their tragedy. However, there at the Christmas table, I felt my family’s loss of a country and of a better time. Do I need have to be connected in order to relate to a tragedy? Perhaps my heart is too emotionally naïve: a sense of physical insecurity, lost relationships, and failed grades are all I have to show for pain.
So what can come of my recollection?
I educate myself, I learn of the past, and though I want to see a grand change, I cringe because I have no profound ideas of my own. I can’t map out a huge economic and political strategy to save its 200 year history of failures. No matter how many Flag Days I celebrate; all I can aim for is pride and remembrance. I can earn a profession and physically lend a hand perhaps through medical aid or donation rallies, but I can’t save Haiti. So I pledge to be better, to learn and mature and go back and give back to the soil. I don’t know if that solution will work, but I can earnestly try.
Posted on April 12, 2011, in Life & Thought, Travel and tagged Caribbean, Christmas, Haiti, Jean-Claude Duvalier, Port-au-Prince, Sweet Micky, Tonton Macoute, United States. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.