At this time, being focused on monitoring what has become an increasingly volatile situation in my country, I’ve been desperately trying not to think about past lives and I must admit, it’s been at the back of my mind most of the time.
Still, I feel that it’s seldom far from my mind.
Little things that come up. Stray remarks. An icon in someone’s profile. They twist a little at those memories, threatening to bring them to the surface. I now feel like there is something more lurking there, threatening to come out in the right circumstances and I can feel it there, stuck, like a tonsil stone or a wad of phlegm at the back of my nose, or a belch that just won’t come loose. After a while, when it’s nagging to be let out, one starts to find comfort in expelling odious things.
Sunday, I came upon a right-wing troll on Twitter. Generally I’m not bothered by right-wing trolls, and I can’t even remember what the obnoxious little fucker said, but his icon…
It was the goddamned Kaiser.
I felt my blood pressure spike so bad it made my head hurt and my neck feel stiff. I lost my shit and basically told him my great-grandfather had fought the Germans in 1918 and I still have the flag he captured (100% true by the way).
It’s not like me to say ANYTHING to a right-wing troll before simply blocking them, or to lose it when seeing WWI German stuff. But couple that with obvious antagonism and it shook me. This reaction caught me off-guard and I felt sick and wrong for a few hours.
There was another tweet, this time from someone I actually sympathized with, but it didn’t do me any good. The guy made a remark about how at least we’d be in better shape after all this marching.
Sounds innocent doesn’t it? But I had a hard time seeing or even writing about it. I can only guess I must have caught a remark like that somewhere in Flanders and part of me still remembers.
A civil war, which has the potential to devolve very quickly into a world war in which innumerable proxy wars become a single conflict between Russia, China, the US, and whatever’s left of NATO in Europe, seems to be looming. We hear all the time about the danger of a big war between, say, the US and China but we don’t hear as much about the possible outbreak of hundreds of regional conflicts that collectively destabilize the entire world. That’s what I’m really afraid of because that’s what warfare looks like in the 21st century.
I don’t want another war on my doorstep. 102 years and two lifetimes on and I’m still hurting from the last one. I’ll fight if I have to but I’m not eager about it. If I ever seem eager to fight it’s only because at least there’s some cold comfort in knowing that the battle is on and it’s too late to back out.
I’m terrified, and the ghosts of so many years past are compounding that terror.