but we must not forget

From an unpublished essay, a fragment

I could smell the blood from where I sat in front of the TV screen showing corpses from a thousand kilometers away. A few months later a faded poster on a gray lamppost would declare WE WILL NOT FORGET NOVEMBER 23. We will not forget the 57 dead, the mothers and sisters, the journalists and lawyers, the innocents unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, the 57 shot point-blank, beheaded, mutilated, buried alive in a big muddy pit with their crushed cars, slaughtered because they posed a threat to the lord of the land. “Culture of violence,” “culture of impunity” have been repeated and reprinted and reiterated so many times that they have lost their sting. In a society where government is a plaything of the powerful who are expected to be corrupt, where dissenting voices are silenced, where movers for change must cower in fear, and when they do not, are ignored or oppressed or labeled outlaws and killed, outrage has more and more become a difficult emotion to incite. The people are used to it and they are tired of it and to stay sane they must deaden their senses to it, look the other way, pretend not to hear. And the powers that be do likewise.

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