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A translation of the fragments of human bodies in war A translation of the fragments of human bodies in war
by Abigail George
2010-04-18 09:24:06
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What is this that is surfacing from kitchen table wisdom, mass graves, body farms, Hitler, Rwanda, genocide, mysterious gases, sulphur, explosive devices, atomic bombs, evil scientists, white masks and innocent civilians abandoned or murdered? Young children, girls, boys, mothers, fathers, child soldiers, God’s children? Battlefields, a nightmarish wonderland, child soldiers, prizewinning journalists and guns - mass graves stick out like sore thumbs, blisters, sticky fingers caught in the jam tin. This is heartbreak, this is warfare.

This is flotsam and jetsam. It makes no sense at all. All this rape, this maiming and this killing all in the name of war. How soon we forget the hopeless and the pathetic helpless in newspapers and news bulletins at night, in the morning we stare deaf, dumb and blind, sometimes furious, sometimes passive, angry, crazy-mad, morose, feeling bereft.

Sometimes we look away, can’t look anymore we are tired and sad and what do we say to the crippled and the disabled? We can’t wait to blame government diplomacy. Those insensitive brutes – men and women - we voted for in the name of beauty, freedom, integrity, liberty, fairness and decency. They lied to us through rotting, stained yellow or white, black or gold teeth, through dentures, gummy, fake grins, fake identities, wished they could take up some sought of other personality, rich American or Middle Eastern sheikh.

They sate their thirst with fine wines and their appetites with heavenly meats served with congealed gravies or orange-pink fish. I wish I was gone, gone, gone, that my desperation was no longer clasping on me like a daring demon, or a sexy beast at my invisible voice, at my throat clawing desperately on my sanity in dappling sunlight, at my honesty.

War is an insatiable, terrifying and corrupt monster and contributes nothing to the closed state of mind to the dapper boy soldiers it feeds solemnly. Truly what a disgusting and unpleasant waste of the beauty, purity and innocence of youth. It leaves a bitter, unclean and sour taste in my mouth.

Who cleans up the filth in the minds and the mess the bombs leave behind? Who continues to say their prayers at night and who doesn’t? Who gets left behind, gunned down, called a killer, blown to smithereens? Who puts these small fragments, these pieces back together again and keep them safe? What stance do good parents take to cover their children’s eyes and protect them? Who marches, protests, holds up placards, risks limbs? Who covets life if no one’s left?

Like beaches with their wet and slippery surfaces, driftwood, fishing boats, surfers, sand, shells, birds, acid pink fish, orangeade, hotels, a Holiday Inn, beachcombers, the awful legacy of war, incarceration, pools of vivid imagination rush through me, linger long after the sun sets.

As waves steeped in the history of riverbeds break gently against the shoreline so does the memory of war. Flummoxed soldiers march on towards near death experiences - far away from home; left in a state of bewilderedness; bereft even going mad sometimes.

There is more than an English translation of the fragments of human bodies in war. There are translations in millions of languages.

In the dead of night when the world is fast asleep child soldiers shake in their boots to keep their chins up and their bodies upright. Every line of their fingerprints is marked by rations, imprints of their memories of home and the killing of time.

Watching the news daily I finally knew what hot war zones, orphans, living in this heat, this sweltering climate and poverty meant and its burden on those who suffer the most.

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