I’ve heard it several times. But this time it hit a nerve. It was at the Bill Maher show. (Thank the gods for Bill Maher)
“But we didn’t know what was going to happen in Irak”.
(What did you say?)…I baig your pardon…
(“What do you mean, we didn’t know.
I’m not with you on this one, maybe another one , but not this one…Not.
Nor is with you all the people who showed up on the streets and protested around the world.
Nor the people and communities who gathered in their houses to share the pain of impotence.
We all knew. We all have a good relationship with History. We have a sense of human nature.
We know that if foreign people invade our houses with weapons, kill the SOB of our father, plus a few family members and take our resources in our own home to give us candy afterwards, we are not going to be happy. After all, is our house and our father. Regardless how evil he was and how yakee our way of living seems to the foreign people. It’s our lives. Our blood. Our tribe. Our territory. Basic human needs. If we don’t have that, there is not much to lose.
We also know that Irak’s political borders are recent, enclosing diverse and millenary cultures in an artificial territory… with artificial borders. “A country younger than Paul Newman, in Bill Maher’s words. Another fact that doesn’t make things better right now. Don’t you think that we should get it by now? Messing with people’s houses, territory , and blood, will only make them want to die for the cause… is a worthy cause, isn’t it? Wouldn’t we do the same?. It’s just human nature.
“It’s amazing -said my father-that the Vietnamese won the Vietnan war with a bowl of rice, rudimentary weapons, and agricultural tools. Americans spent the same amount of money spent in the 2nd world war.
And we went on to have the conversation about the strength of the human spirit and the power of fighting to defend your land in your land, changes the rules of the game, and weakness becomes power while power becomes weakness. The power of the human condition.
“The Vietnam Conflict” happened in our lifetime. Not even 50 years ago. Being oblivious to the experience and the lessons carrying the knowledge of the experience is pretty alarming, unless there are other interests and the experience is irrelevant.
In the eighties, I had a poster in my bedroom with a picture of Einstein that read his quote: “knowledge is only experience”. I would wake up every day with Albert Einstein reminding me my experience was worth living, because it was knowledge. Exactly as it is. It stayed there for several years. I guess I took it out when the message was incorporated.
History is there, as a huge database of information The experience will carry the knowledge with it. Up to you to check it out.
How are you going to go through an experience like the Vietnam war, not check the manual. And top it off repeating the scenario not even 40 years later. The wounds are not even completely healed yet. Is just adolescent thinking. Mind you, as far as I am concerned, the only group of people who can assert the right of not having a relationship with History are teenagers. They don’t have much history yet. You can’t blame them. They are expressing the omnipotent ignorance of not being able to relate to enough points of reference. They are the only ones entitled to see history as dusty book.
A beautiful stage of life, to celebrate, breaking the ties with the older generation riding the wave of their hormonal passion. Growing up. It’s a behavior that belongs with adolescence, not middle age.
So, my friend, don’t include me in your we. If you believe what you believe, I greatly respect it, but don’t expect me to believe the same.