There’s something about hearing those cries, those gutless desperate cries in your own language, your own way of speaking, your own accent.
There’s something about watching the streets you used to walk on destroyed, the buildings you once visited, collapsed.
There’s something about watching the devastation on a face you have never met even when the only commonality might be your nationality.
There’s something about all this.
Human suffering hurts in the gut and in the soul. It transcends races, colors, religions, geographies, political views, and everything else. But there is something about it being the country you grew up in, the place you were born. It is not the same to watch the images of a ravaging tragedy in a foreign place than it is to watch it happen in your country; even if you don’t live in that country anymore. Everybody knows this. But why? Because you can read the papers, watch the news reports, cry with a couple of videos and pictures, maybe send a donation, and then put it all away and forget about that foreign country. This is normal. I don’t think it is selfishness or irresponsibility towards our human kind. This is a self defense mechanism. We can’t be sad all the time, constantly. We can’t possibly live a life with our souls permanently aching for other people’s tragedies. We simply can’t do that. And so we put those calamities and misfortunes on the side, in the back of our brains, and go on with our lives. And this is normal; this is a way to remain emotionally and mentally stable.
But you can’t put aside your own nation. You can’t ever forget what you carry inside. You can’t avoid your country when you are your country; when you are constantly reminded of it because you are it. And thus, the sadness, the pain, the tears follow you for days, weeks, months…
I don’t believe the intensity of the pain is greater, but the longevity of it is. The sadness is longer, not deeper.
I’m in pain. An unavoidable long pain.
(No sé por qué lo escribí en inglés. Quizá porque estoy en el trabajo, quizá porque en mi cabeza les trato de explicar a mis coworkers que hoy no me siento muy bien, y que no es sólo la bronquitis que ya va pasando…)