My nights are rarely unruly

Not for me a youngman’s death
Not a car crash, whiplash
John Doe, DOA at A&E kind of death.
Not a gun in hand, in a far off land
IED at the roadside death

Not a slow-fade, razor blade
bloodbath in the bath, death.
Jump under a train, Kurt Cobain
bullet in the brain, death

Not a horse-riding paragliding
mountain climbing fall, death.
Motorcycle into an old stone wall
you know the kind of death, death

My nights are rarely unruly. My days
of allnight parties are over, well and truly.
No mistresses no red sports cars
no shady deals no gangland bars
no drugs no fags no rock’n’roll
Time alone has taken its toll

Not for me a youngman’s death
Not a domestic brawl, blood in the hall
knife in the chest, death.
Not a drunken binge, dirty syringe
“What a waste of a life” death.

Not for Me a Youngman’s Death
By Roger McGough

Spring in Sarajevo

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Lewis Carroll

Ilidža, Sarajevo (this morning)

So much for escapism

After lunch I went to check Andrey Konchalovsky”s Paradise. This is an incredibly beautiful and intelligent movie about confronting extreme evil and dangerous ideas of a paradise that only exists at the expense of someone else’s living hell. 

I walked to my car and Brahms is still echoing in my mind. It takes me a minute or so to realize that the back window was smashed. Nothing stolen. Just petty vandalism or someone got interrupted. And this is, of course, nothing. But, it did work in bringing me down to earth and reality does have a way of making me feel extremely upset.

Now I’m home trying to convince myself I need to start packaging for Sarajevo and this is a place I have never been and the TV memories it evokes, make Konchalosky’s words about his own movie all the more important and, unfortunately, also inconsequential.

‘History is full of great tragedies, most of which remain in our minds as ancient misdeeds that couldn’t possibly be replicated in the present day. One of the most terrifying moments of our generation’s history was the rise of the Nazi party and the extermination of millions of Jews and others who did not fit into the Nazi ideal of a ‘perfect’ German ‘paradise’. These atrocities exposed the depths of mankind’s capabilities for evil and although these events happened in the past, the same kind of radical and hateful thinking is apparent today and threatening the lives and safety of many around the world. 

‘Paradise’ reflects on a twentieth century filled with great illusions buried in ruins, the dangers of hateful rhetoric and the need for mankind to use the power of love to triumph over evil. 

‘That which has happened is a warning. It must be continually remembered. It was possible for this to happen, and it remains possible for it to happen again at any minute. Only in knowledge can it be prevented. The danger here is in the unwillingness to know, the urge to forget, and the disbelief that all of this actually happened…’ The words of German philosopher Karl Jaspers are tied strongly to the central theme of ‘Paradise’, which urges us not to forget the truths of history, no matter how horrifying or inconvenient, so that we do not repeat them’.