It was a snowy day. At least it is what I remember. Walking back home after school in the first snow was a magic moment. I was 7 years old and I remember that quiet and peaceful atmosphere that only snow can create. All sounds are deaden and all I wanted – or pretty much wanted – was to get back home to find my cat.
All the way back, which wasn’t a very long way – perhaps a couple of kilometers – I couldn’t help looking at the sky. In those days darkness came quite early and we could see some stars very soon. So with my red hard leather backpack on the back I felt like flying above the ground, like floating in this cold but life-giving air.
I remember the feeling : I thought it was the best moment on earth. The best moment ever. And that this moment might be the last one.
Actually the days before, spying on the TV – or should I rather say listening from the corridor to the switched-on TV – I was busy paying attention to the news. Gorbachev, Reagan, nuclear power, spies, Afghanistan, if no signature or agreement the end of the world as we know it.
I think I tried to explain it to my cat, but she didn’t realize it. Well being honest my way of explaining her my fears were done in a pretty funny way : I used to lay on floor of my room, trying to not breath. I pretended to be dead after a bombing. What mattered to me was the cat’s reaction : will she find me back, ask for cuddle and show me some desperate love and a deep sadness of loosing her master ?
Years went by and that stays as a memory, that tension I felt for a couple of weeks when going school disappeared. So did those international tensions (somehow). So did the medias in moving onto other news (yes like the Gulf wars, 9/11, etc…)
Funnily enough in Switzerland every house in those days had a nuclear shelter, obviously build underground. In most of the houses it was used – and still is – as an extra cellar, a disposal room or quite often as the kids playroom. Toys next to food cans next to sugar next to old newspapers.I believe that nowadays the amount of toys and old newspapers totally outmatched the goods.
As I commented many times, I wasn’t born here, in Europe. As a fact my ancestors – and not that long time ago (only 1870’s) are from Europe. An interesting mix of Western and Central European fellows that for many reasons left the continent to have a better life, or simply a life somewhere else. To exist, no matter what they are or came from.
If we are back to this continent, it is because our future was endangered in South America ; if that sub continent could avoid all damages from the World Wars, the legacy of colonialism carried into most of the World the same seeds that provoked those European driven conflicts.
So is it that the Eurasian continent has been seen as lifesaver for my family and for me. Deep inside I have this believe that culture, respect, open minds are the low hanging fruits in this orchard. We were the victims, like many others in what is called the Third World, of fascism, lack of freedom, single-minded doctrines, post colonialism conflicts, debate free societies – some other type of low hanging poisonous delights. I grew up in an ideal perspective where every point of view – even some disturbing – could be discussed and resulted into positioning of individuals and societies. By agreeing or not, respect of laws and people, in many different ways. A common objective of not repeating the errors of the past. Yes I saw Western people, Euro-Asians , North Americans like the saviors of us, poor victims. Of course It never meant these places were idiots-free. There is stupidity everywhere, but I thought the wealthy and cultivated have a good way to handle them.
These days, no need to detail what’s happening, we all know too little and too much, we know all is right and wrong, every side in every conflict has good and bad reasons and both interests can be accepted or denied. Just like in an argument with your partner, no one is fully innocent, no one is fully guilty. Yes you know it. Yep hard to accept…I know I know…It makes me think that quite often, and it is the same with acting, many strategies are applied during a couple’s quarrel. Actually it is even the same when a kid asks for something and the parents say no. It shifts from seduction to pleading ignorance to cries and the most often from tyrannic anger to absolute victim outfit. Again you know what I am talking about. So do actors.
Unfortunately for me, my childhoods feeling of last day on earth came back. Not that there is a true fear in there. No I realized and understood that what was scary as a child is sad beyond its limits as an adult. And even more when I see all around me, in the civil society, nothing but people considering themselves like victims. Having a collection of all the most precious treasures that mankind ever dreamed of and they feel like the biggest victims. And all their reactions, thoughts and behaviors are excused by being “the ultimate victim”. I am a bigger victim than you so in the name of my decency – as it is all what’s remaining – I have all rights and no responsibilities.
I am free of any moral duty linked to my acts as I fight for my survival. I thought this was only the claim of uneducated hopeless oppressed about to die poor people from what is being called the Third World – where I am from. In these days I understand when it can come from the people who had to suffer the biggest from the financial crisis. Hard to hear it when it comes from everywhere and on everything – literally from Geo-politics to personal work.
In those moments I feel discouraged and tricked. I feel like this naive dream of my parents to offer us a better world to live in, a place where you can move from being a victim into an active educated responsible person was a shadow. A concept that no one here wants to grasp any more as hope and future seem to vanish. Is it possible that all the conflicts on this part of the world, since thousand of years taught people to only react with what they know…which means lack of hope and chaotic presumed solutions ? Just like a cheap 2 € therapist would say that beaten children become abusive parents ? Did it discourage them from finding new ways and solutions and a low acceptance for what life is made of , which is uncertainties ? Did a certain comfort make a lot of people lazy and brainless on this side of the globe ? Just like a very clever man, a farmer who had a tough life told me recently for my movie : the advantage we have, us, oldies, versus the young ones , is that we had nothing when we started, and all what we have we collected it on the very late….
I know that there is something deep in human beings, in their nature, in ourselves, that pushes us to find guilty ones and dramatic fast solutions. But so many amazing things have been achieved by those same humans ! If instead of collecting whose nation have the biggest amount of poets, writers, Nobel prizes and great generals to know who’s the greatest and rightful, we would sum up this for the mankind ? A reason to all be proud of it ?Just like the recent discovery about the Big Bang’s earliest moments ?
And not a victim of the non recognition of my personal greatness from the others. A victim of the lack of interest of our nation amazing genius from the other countries ? A victim that what my faith is not the same as yours and my uncertainties and doubts of my beliefs are actually your fault ? And the most stupid : I am a victim of the entire world not being like the way I want it to be but it freaks me out so therefore everything , everyone is guilty and let’s fix it the way it should be…that no one knows about ?
Maybe those are just the results of what our frenetic materialism drove us into : feeling like things, treating others like things…. Maybe this victimization is the voice of our souls crying in distress…
I believe that my cat understood what my little drills were about. I think she understood it far too well as she stayed by my side for almost 22 years ! She died years ago and it was to me to stand by her side on her last moments. That happened many years ago.
Since 5 years I have a new cat and it never came to my mind to play that game again. Instead of waiting for her to come and save me, I look at her and ask myself what does it take to make her a happy world to live in.