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There is one pain I often feel, which you will never know. It is caused by the absence of yo…” Aeschylus (Ancient Greek Dramatist and Playwright known as the founder of Greek tragedy, 525 BC-456 BC)

 

…Little brother, they tell me it is physically impossible to remember pain and they say the sensation of pain that we think we remember is but a reconstruction of emotions ordered by the narrative account of our articulated recounting of the painful event… what do I know? They could be right… what I do know is I could never have reconstructed the sharp sensation I felt the day they finally told me that you were gone for good… oh I knew you were gone long before they told me… I think I actually knew the day I saw you board that truck…that last glimpse I caught of you told me all I needed to know about what the rest of my life would entail…. Untold pain the like of which you would never experience…but the day they actually told me you were gone I felt physical pain that my body has never ever been able to forget…. It was the sensation of a sharp red-hot knife that both pierces your skin and then goes on to undo every bit of your insides… I don’t think I have ever been all there…all together since that moment…

There are moments of brief solace though… like most mornings… well the few minuets between my uneasy slumbers and slow alertness…there is always that moment of amnesiac sanity… where my pain is forgotten…or atleast not so sharp… and even the memory of your departure is not there… we are four and three again and I have just started school and you creep into my bed worried that I will go to school early in the morning and you would miss out on saying goodbye… complaining that it is so long until lunchtime when I come home again…I try to make out that I am now a very important member of society… a school girl and very grown up and you must simply learn to keep yourself occupied with your own little friends… your own little games and your own little unimportant life… you protest and try and tell me that it hurts… right there… I snap out of my haze at precisely that moment every time…you point to the very spot where I hurt right now… you knew! My baby brother knew the pain of separation… perhaps your little body was preparing you for the permanent separation that would come a short while later…I …I don’t know whether to cherish my hazy morning encounters or pray for them to go away… I am worried if I let go and forget the pain I will forget you too… and then there will be nothing but the empty bed space, and the empty chair and your memory will be confined to your physical absence… I can’t… I won’t forget… I simply won’t let myself…

I smile a bitter smile every time they light a candle and call you a martyr… you were no martyr… martyrdom involves conviction and knowledge… you were the sacrificial lamb for someone else’s madness… a sort of suicide but once removed… they commit the act of suicide but you and countless others die in their stead and as their token of gratitude they light a candle and sing of your martyrdom every year…

Their life is very much in full swing… they plan more suicidal feats every coming year and as ever someone else’s brother will have to do the dying for their act of suicide… if they don’t die of war they die of hunger or torture and when they choose to not take things lying down they die in merciless deserts and angry tides… either way they die… the only difference is they are not called martyrs and no one bothers with the candles and songs… no one except perhaps a forlorn sister somewhere out there… and I somehow envy the privacy of her mourning…

…Love always…

…selam…

Dedicated to all those who have lost loved ones to war and the ills of dictatorship…please join me as I vow to never condone the needless death of our youth in vain silence or meaningless rituals…