Updated: Nov 6
I have been thinking about many things lately; ideas and sensations that these strange times are instilling into me.
At first, I did not want to accept the idea that we would have risked facing a war before having even come out of the pandemic that has drastically affected our lives for the past two years.
I could not accept it, and I refused to read or learn about the growing tensions in the East of the continent where I live.
Then I understood that it was too late. That something had already happened, and there was no going back. My hope, my secret wish that what was happening could be simply another media attempt to spread misinformation, fear and panic, proved utterly vain.
I had learnt about the preparations at the border between Russia and Ukraine before the headline machine guns started shooting. But I did not want to believe it; I could not.
They say that keeping away from the news is one of the secrets to happiness. That might very well be true—especially when considering how much of the information we get is based upon the voracious motto "there's no news like bad news"—but how do you cope with the idea that your neighbour—or just another human being like you, no matter the distance—is being deprived of his right to live a serene life?
Wars, it seems to me, are a role-play between children. What angers and disturbs me most, when thinking about it, is the fact that while a few elect ones are focused on their idle games, it is the decent, hard-working people who are slaughtered and massacred like animals in a sacrifice.
As I think about this, I cannot get my head around it. I find it, of course, extremely unfair, and I fail to understand how our humankind has not yet grasped the concept of how valuable a life is.
We have depraved our very souls and corrupted our hearts, and we have sucked all the divine honey out of our planet's core to engross our stomachs with it. We know this, we study it thoroughly in the history that we ourselves have created and now keep as a sacred truth on a pedestal. Yet we won't learn.
Learn how much there is at stake and how much we are risking as a species—no matter how many bodyguards and golden goblets are in our rooms. We won't learn how each and every single thing we do, every action, unleashes something far greater than personal glory and possessions.
There is, in every human effort, a power that reaches far beyond our possibilities and those of our solar system: a universal energy that promises to fulfil its destiny the very moment we have dragged our fellow human beings into our own personal desires.
I grew up two generations away from what were arguably two of the most dramatic moments in our history. My parents had a good life, my grandparents didn't. I followed and prospered on the achievements, sacrifices and satisfactions of all the previous generations, and being so far away from the dreadful experiences of a global war—or a pandemic, for that matter— anything I ever learnt, read or watched about it, seemed so remote.
But it isn't now. And my imagination is starting to realise this, picturing how easily a happy, calm moment might be destroyed by human effort. Yet for all its attempts, my mind knows that it is not even close to knowing what real desperation feels like. For that, you only have to wait for your turn.
I was recently reading La casa in collina ("House on the Hill") by Cesare Pavese. The story is set in the hills around Turin during World War II. It gave me a very good idea of what living during those days must have been like.
I hadn't finished the book when news about Russia's attack broke out. Suddenly, I found myself thinking that the story I was reading—and all those I had heard and read in other books and seen in films while growing up—had become my reality—or risked to become my reality.
There is a very thin line between fiction and reality. What seems impossible might suddenly become real, and what seems too real can in time assume the look of incredulity.
Most of the time, this transition is not made possible by the power of God as much as it is by the power of man.