Child, I wish life was more than about moving on, getting by, letting go, living on, letting this and that pass, finding peace, finding acceptance, resigning to the ways of the world, and so on. Today I am feeling the shock of it and grieving and raging and protesting and screaming. Tomorrow it may be back to putting up another photo on my Instagram and Facebook, and letting the normal engagements take over. I wish it wasn’t this simple.
I wish it was very difficult to get over grief. I wish we would hold on to it until minds bent or broke down or broke open – whatever, so long as barbarity is accepted for what it is, instead of all of us willy-nilly pushing the boundaries of what constitutes barbaric. Is it barbaric still if it defies the imagination but falls just a little short of being able to tear our souls and societal routines apart? Many of us would go a long distance for justice to be delivered but we know our limits – we carry out protest marches, hold candlelight vigils, write rants on social media, write op-eds if we have the platform, dream about a 21st-century revolution, hope for a curling back of capitalism, etc., etc., all in good faith, but all under no illusion. Each of these is mighty important, but we are the people at the end of the day and governments are no longer of, for or by the people.
Whoever had described it as impotent rage had it spot-on. But the time for impotent rage cannot and should not last. Our angers are multiplying and feeding off each other. We are starting to realise that letting go of the anger and the grieving is what the establishment counts on. News is what is served to us; how can what we don’t know harm anyone?
Conspiracies and conspiracy theories there are many. One fear is that what becomes a regular thing in our collective consciousness is news no more. Will the rape of a nine-year-old not be news because an eight-year-old was raped and brutalised with such complete lack of humanity? Will something worse have to happen for it to be news? And for it to shock and shake us? For it to take us to a further point in what we can barely accept or tolerate? For us to know this is it? We are getting there, to this place of absolute and unforgiving rage, and then the heavens will wonder when did the skies open. Until then, I will cry and curse and keep calling them out. And so will you.