Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fete de l'independance

Today is what I like to call my own 'independence day'. several years ago myself and someone close to me severed the ties that had bound us together. That day was, I suspect, a much happier occasion for her than for me, after all what person would not want to be shed of an ass hat like me?  Therefore today is probably a happier day for her than for me, and I must confess that I use the term 'independence day' with tongue planted firmly in cheek.  It is supposed to make light of what still is,to this day, (and this day especially) a particularly bleak day on my own personal life calendar.

In Egypt, there may be some celebration of the 1952 revolution that overthrew King Farouk, and brought about the reign of Nasser. I doubt too many people will be dancing in the streets over that particular event, but if there are any that will still be more people celebrating what this day means to me.  One hundred and eleven years ago the first Ford motor car was sold, to whom and for how much aren't really important, and maybe the history of the automobile is more important that what this day means to me. After all, I used a car to get to work today.  This day in 1971 Van Helfin, an fairly decent American actor died. I don't know if any of his close family, or friends are still around to mourn him or not, and I can't says that I will either. The sad truth is this day, while semi-important to me, may be of critical importance to another. Imagine Papillion counting this day as just another day in his year of solitary confinement on Devil's Island.

On this day in 1942, a quite famous Bulgarian poet, Nikola Vaptsarov was put up against a wall and shot, not for his poetry (I've never had the time to learn Bulgarian), but for his communist activity against the Nazis in World War II.  I cannot equate the liberating feeling that I feel with the sorrow that M. Vaptsarov's family must have felt as they heard that he had be shot as dead as dead can be. Nor can I imagine the horror and terror that he and the 11 other men who were shot with him felt as they were lined up against that wall on that July day, and shot like dogs.  One man's happy occasion is another man's (or woman's) funeral, and we just have to accept that to try to appropriate an entire today to ourselves is just a fool's errand. Everyday has its sadness for some, its happiness for others, but for the vast majority of people,  it is just another day that they are trying to get through until tomorrow comes.

And (hopefully), for the vast majority tomorrow will come, to erase the tragedy of or help cement the joy of today.  Not that today was really the 'end' of anything for me. I wasn't lined up against a wall, given a blindfold, and shot down like the mangy cur I am and like I probably should have been a long time ago, nothing really died for me on this day, and nothing was really, truly made independent. A ceremony (such as it was) was performed, and a few words were said that were, at the end of the day, mostly meaningless.  No flags of one nation were lowered to be replaced by the raising of another country colours, no territory changed hands, and the populace was mostly unaffected. Nothing was determined that day that had not already been decided long before, and everyone at the party knew that already, but sometimes the forms have to be observed for the sake of the actors involved.

I will not be setting off any sort of firework, or roasting the carcass of any sad little animal in celebration of what this day means to me, or to anyone else for that matter. No sort of cake, or card will be prepared to mark the day's passing, nor will there be any sort of songs sung, or balloons fashioned in the shape of animals by some militant clown. No, today will just pass, just like yesterday did, and tomorrow probably will, with the realization that independence isn't always what it is made out to be.

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