Dedication to Those who Defied Death

Jolanta (Irena’s nom de guerre) saved more Jews than any other person during wartime: around 2,500 people.
Is there a better example of a combatant?
(“Irena Sendlerowa”, by Mariusz Kubik / CC BY 3.0 / Desaturated from original)

I didn’t write the words below — I just typed them. I don’t think I’d have the ability to transpose my feelings into words so strong, visceral, and honest, even if I had lived through what this man has.

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The Combatant – #5

He hears many interesting things, but, fleeting, they go almost as fast as they come; only death remains. Not even the reasons for all those deaths, or the names of the wars, or the approximate dates stay. Nothing but the pure and grotesque fact of so many deaths. Now as he looks into the past from the comfort of the future, time compresses, reality loses importance, and absurdity seems little more than mere words, words that not even use ink and paper anymore.

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Lucretius and my Father

Lucretius – “On the Nature of Things”.

The vast majority of people I know believe in some kind of afterlife. They do not necessarily think that they are going to a paradise with angels on the clouds, or to a Dantean hell where they will find all sinners, much less to an eternal recurrence of battles and banquets as in the Valhalla of the Vikings. They just can not accept that everything will simply end. Today, on another anniversary of my father’s death, I envy them.

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Damn you, Epictetus!

I watch my mother lying in the hospital bed and I curse Epictetus. He says we have to be indifferent to indifferent things. He says indifferent things are pain, disease, death, and all that are beyond our control, all that don’t stem from our own actions and deeds. It is useless to fight God’s designs, so all we should do is behave and go with the flow, setting down into a serene resignation toward life’s hardships. We are supposed to think objectively about all that happen in our lives, striving to be just in our actions, performing our duties as rational men, fulfilling our role as divine creatures. In sum, he wants me to not give a fuck about my own mother’s approaching death — and that enrages me.

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Natural Violence

“Only look about you: blood is being spilt in streams, and in the merriest way, as though it were champagne. […] And what is it that civilisation softens in us? […] And through the development of this many-sidedness man may come to finding enjoyment in bloodshed. […] In any case civilisation has made mankind if not more bloodthirsty, at least more vilely, more loathsomely bloodthirsty. In old days he saw justice in bloodshed and with his conscience at peace exterminated those he thought proper. Now we do think bloodshed abominable and yet we engage in this abomination, and with more energy than ever. Which is worse? Decide that for yourselves.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “Notes from Underground”.

The day is almost over and I am struck by despair that is now known to me. I haven’t written any post yet, I have none saved for a moment like this, and, what is worse, I do not have the motivation to write. However, write I must. As a friend of mine always says (referring to the habit of running every day): when it is hard, when there is no mood, when all you want is not doing it is precisely the moment when you most should do it — only then is there true merit. And so I force myself to write. But all that comes to my mind is the absurd violence we live in, and every word I write bothers me.

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Fly!

“Who passed through Life in white cloud, / And in placid rest slept, / Who never felt the cold of disgrace, / Who passed through Life and did not suffer, / Was a spectre of man, and not man, / Only passed through life, not lived.”
– Francisco Otaviano –
(by Barry Holubeck / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Desaturated from original)

When a policeman is shot and killed, it is not hard to understand; life in the streets is dangerous, but we know someone must live it if we expect to have a minimum of order and security. So, when that happens, the gossip is about knowing exactly what has occurred: Was it a coward criminal deed? Was it during combat? Or was it the policeman’s corruption that eventually killed him? But we never hear someone questioning the “merit” of such death — policemen and criminals die by the bullet, and that’s it. But when someone dies by jumping from a precipice with small wings between the arms, then the gossip is of a different nature.

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The Combatant – #1

When the alarm goes off at two in the morning, he is sure he is still dreaming. He just closed his eyes, so it can not be time to wake up. But it is. The problem is that after twenty hours working hard to protect the families of others, trying to earn in the private sector the money the police is supposed to provide, those three hours of sleep seem to pass like a glimpse, a brief interlude of life as deep as one’s own death.

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Despicable Mourning

“We are in mourning. For ALL the lost lives in Rio de Janeiro during these 39 days of 2019, we are in mourning.
For the six dead after the storm.
For the ten dead in the fire in the Vulture’s Nest.
For the thirteen dead in the police operation in the Favela of the Pleasures.
And for all the dead that didn’t make it to the news.”

(I don’t understand the world I live anymore. Innocent or criminal, you are all the same.)

Six people died because of heavy rains that ravaged Rio two days ago. Yesterday, just before dawn, ten youths between the ages of fourteen and sixteen were burned alive in a fire at the Flamengo training center. Shortly after, thirteen armed criminals were killed by the police in a violent favela. What, besides the Angel of Death hovering in the skies, is common among all three cases? According to one of the city’s largest newspapers and, of course, to a bunch of idiots across social networks, the answer is obvious: EVERYONE is a poor innocent victim.

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