Yesterday I wrote “Burning Aj”. I posted it without a word to explain it. I won’t link it here but, you can look it up. It was, from this side, the writing side, the most painful thing I have ever typed…including writing about my own monsters from being an addict. By the end of that “story” I could, and still can see my very best friend burning …by my own hand. To be clear, that hurt. It was supposed to hurt. I knew when I was writing it that it would…I didn’t know how much. It was intended as allegory. It was supposed to try to explain the Burning Times and how that could happen again. It was an attempt to try to understand how someone could do something that horrific to their best friend. What it did was to scar MY soul. I’ll probably be paying for it for a long time…
There are 2, two, people in the world that I am sure that I would trade places with if that story were true, my wife and Aj. Period. I am NOT brave or noble. I am not “sure” that I would even make the trade for my family. I am a coward. Two lives that I know are more valuable to me than my own…and I burned one of them to make a point…and I can still smell the gasoline…and see the match…and hate myself for doing it.
Why did I do it?
Because we follow The Crowd. I did it to try to understand how we could see a neighbor or a best friend and allow that to happen. How it is possible to depersonalize someone?How can we participate? How can we subject someone else to that? How is it possible to ignore what someone is?
“She’s a witch, That means she’s NOT a person. It doesn’t matter what I do to a witch because they don’t matter. It’s not like they’re “real people”. Besides, everyone else treats them like shit. What does it matter what I do to one? They’re. Not. Real. People. .. Even if they were, it doesn’t mean anything, she’s just a witch. She’s gonna bun eventually, this is just a head start. Practice, in a manner of speaking…”
That IS how it happens. The Crowd says that and we come to believe it. We teach ourselves and convince ourselves that “they” are not real people…We willingly blind ourselves to what we know to be true.
Another of the most coldly horrible things I’ve ever seen quoted was the Camp Commandant at Auschwitz saying that he punished guards for tormenting the people they were going to send to the gas chambers because their job was to execute them, not to torture them. He explained that it was like killing rats…” our job was to exterminate”.
I have tried to use this page as a way to help show the humanity of people that are seen by some others as less than human. I want to convince people to see ALL of someone, Aj. I wish you could see what I see. I wish you could share the memory of a hug that I got from her. I wish you could hear her voice. I hope you never have to know what writing something like that does to you. I wish you may see that she’s not “just a witch”. She never was. She never will be. She IS my best friend and happens to be a witch. I love her dearly.