The Last Round / “From Hell with Gaddafi to the Nightmare Without Him”

By: Jessica Dos Santos Jardim


“- Is it ours or is it one of them? Asked the soldier sitting next to the stretcher.

“We do not know,” the nurse answered after a moment of silence.

“He belongs to his mother,” said one of the soldiers standing to the side.

“Now he belongs to God,” added another, after a while.

He took off his cap and hung it on the barrel of his rifle ” – Kapuscinski


Last year, two good friends got married. During the party, friends in common began to joke around: “behave or whatever happens here will be published in Jessica’s diary” in a clear reference to this column.

After laughing, I defended the need to register our daily life to leave a thread that allows us to reconstruct some chapters of our history.

But I also admitted that this space allows me both relief and a kind of connection that helps me not sink into the tide.

However, during this month (January), I can not order my ideas well and speaking from the gut would be irresponsible and incompatible with the times.

The truth is that in Caracas (and probably throughout Venezuela) there is a tense calm.

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People are in the streets, in peace, but talking loudly about the inclement increase in prices and low, almost like a whisper, about the worst: “a real thing” , “war”, “bloodshed” , “intervention”, “invasion”, even though everyone sees it from their sidewalk . Suddenly, even the most incredulous have begun to feel fear.

Yes, fear.

To me, at least, it does not bother me to accept it.

Maybe it’s because once (once I was really scared and upset about feeling that way), an old friend gave me a master class that allowed me to learn how to deal with this feeling:

“Jessica, fear is sometimes necessary (do not ever confuse it with cowardice, which is something else). Fear helps us, for example, not to go around slapping lions, walking with eyes closed on the roof of the Central Park Building  or putting forks in the electric outlets. Fear is an intimate and inevitable manifestation of the body, cowardice is an attitude. You’re afraid of losing your job or out of money, that’s normal. The core is how much one sacrifices or how capable of yielding or humbling oneself to avoid staying on the teat or being without work. Cowardice begins when one is afraid of fear ”

Today, the dilemma is the same.

Meanwhile, one is still standing and trying to defend the everyday and normality of our days. Although everything conspires against us.

I, for example, am “on vacation”. Therefore, I’m trying to take the time to solve certain things: the shower that got fucked, the lake in the radiator of the car, such or such paperwork. However, when I take the cell phone or turn on the PC, there are the drums ringing: Trump said, Bolton lashed out, Guaidó did, the European Union met, the government responded. Meanwhile, the affections write: “Sincerely, how do you think all this will ends?”

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Then, one feels deeply stupid: “What the fuck do I do repairing a shower if the country can explode at any second? And so? What am I supposed to do? Should I stop my life? Should I sit 24/7 to watch the press, to follow the thread of each statement, to read the gestures, to compare, to try to decipher? Should I lock myself up? ”

No. I continue: in the tense calm. “In the tranquility of the desperate”, as Rubén would say yesterday. Although at night I do not fall asleep or memories invade my head.

When I started working as a journalist, at the beginning of 2011, the conflict in Libya broke out. I, in the distance, dedicated many hours to establish contacts, to cover moment after moment what happened there. The stories were terrifying to me, the images were devastating, hope had been hijacked by death and it did not accept or will accept any ransom.

I do not know if in the days before those attacks, some Libyans used their social networks to ask for a NATO invasion (as  I read Venezuelans clamoring for the Marines.) For example: the first trend on Twitter the night of the January 31st was #IntervencionEnVenezuelaYa (Invasion of Venezuela now)), I do not know if others felt like I feel today, but I’m sure of something: both their desires and their hunches would be overcome when the roar took over their sky and those streets began to be filled with stacked corpses.

Then, the same media and countries that now give wide coverage to Venezuela forgot the issue, the alleged causes, the so-called reconstruction, the country, its dead, the survivors.

Today, at most, every month of October they write an article to remember “the event”. Those of 2018, by the way, were titled: “Libya, from hell with Gaddafi to the nightmare without him”.

In these texts they mentioned, as one who had nothing to do with the problem, that today Libya is divided into at least 5 or 6 groups / centers of power (Tripoli, Misrata, Sirte, Tobruk and Al Baida, Benghazi); that in Sabrata (an eastern coastal city) people used to fish, trade and tourism, but today a part of the population earns money from human trafficking. Every day thousands and thousands of immigrants willing to die in the Mediterranean leave the Libyan coast; oil resources are no longer destined for Libyans (the crude is transported in US, French ships, which leave nothing to the country) and production has dropped by a third; there are millions of people in need of receiving the famous international aid but nobody talks about them anymore, and according to Amnesty International: “All sides commit daily war crimes”

Now, you can comment on this text and tell me that “Venezuelan migration also grows every day”, that “PDVSA’s production has not stopped falling”, that “there is such or such a degree of corruption”, and that’s fine: I might grant you are right. But, know something: none of your arguments, never, ever, will be so strong as to convince me that we need a war, so go on and do not waste your time here.

I continue: in the tense calm.

Meanwhile, others also continue in their daily lives: And as the dollar has gone down, they no longer ask for the “$ 50” that they asked yesterday for such or such repair but they raise the thing to “100”, they spread rumors, they attack other people .

As a nation, we can lose everything (even those who believe that there is nothing left to lose). But, some insist on continuing to kick it in the park.

Tomorrow will be another day … if tension allows calm to reign.


Source URL: 15 y Ultimo

Translated by JRE/EF


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