May 18, 2009
I was watching ‘My Fair Lady’ when the war ended.
My phone disturbed the enjoyment of the old classic – one I’d grown up watching since the age of at least 5 – with its constant buzzing in of alerts.
Updates. Breaking News. All saying the same thing. Someone’s been killed. The names are different; the triumphant proclamations of death the same. Almost mechanically I forward the texts to my mother downstairs, knowing she’ll probably appreciate them more.
Then the final and most important of them all – the leader, dead, shot. The mass murderer, the simultaneous bearer and destroyer of the hopes of an entire community. The embodiment of one side of this 26 year war. The villain, the psychopath, the almost ghost-like elusive figure of terror. Dead. From ghost to human to carrion.
Strange how the death of one could spell the end of 26 years of terror. Strange, but true.
I read the words and could not comprehend them.
My brain told me to rejoice but the crackers outside only made me jump, uncomfortable in my own skin.
The war was over. Over. Over. Over. No matter how many times I said it over in my head – or even out loud – it just seemed… unbelievable. Unfathomable. This war has been in my life as long as my parents. So strange to think of it that way. Obviously not to compare the two but just to think about the length of time – my lifetime. It started 2 years before I was born. So I have simply lived with it all my life. And over that time 70,000 people have been killed, or so I’ve been told. Who knows the real numbers? Who can quantify it, really? There’s certainly no way to qualify the lives that have been lost, on both sides. At least – I hear myself tell others – at least the death toll stops there.
And what did I feel? Strangely, nothing much. Continue reading Tomorrow When the War Began