It’s only real life

 By guest blogger El Isleño

Silence followed the explosion. Deafening silence, but only for the 25 whose lives were tragically blasted away by fuel distilled from injustice and fanatical ignorance.  For those left behind, high-pitched chaos, discharging from those two blasts, assembled by zombie-soldiers following a not so shining path. Thursday, winter early 90s, and the country once again immobilised. This time, however, the conflict was taken to the capital, the “city of kings”, where most of its 8 million dwellers saw it as something distant, remote.

Two weeks after the attack, when my aunt Nelly asked if I wanted to go watch a movie in a cinema just blocks away from where this all happened…as a 12-year-old I couldn’t help but ask ‘why?... but, what if they set another bomb?’

“Because if we stop doing what we feel like doing, they win.”

As a kid I couldn’t really grasp the whole concept of – what I believed was – possibly risking our lives for the sake of watching a movie. Sure back in the day rewinding a VHS tape to start felt like an eternity, but surely it would’ve been much safer just to stay home! What we finally went to watch that evening was not very transcendent (family comedy about a canine namesake of a hearing-impaired German composer – though, I do remember, the highlight was someone bringing a St. Bernard alike the movie’s main character to the theatre). Looking back, what for me was significant, like one of those Wonder Years narrative moments, was that it was one of those before-after growing up moments; when I was 5, I recall dreading my upcoming birthday as I thought all of a sudden I’d be experiencing an instantaneous and painful growth spurt …well, this was kinda like that, only on a more real level.      

When people wonder nowadays if my cinephilic condition is just a way of escaping reality – a waste of time, in their eyes – I think back to my aunt’s response: a response in action, not in words. A lesson on fragility, on joy and the value of life. After all, what is more real than a father creating an imaginary world for his son where a concentration camp is just a game to shield him from horrors devised by sick minds? What is more real than an energetically charming genie trying to deal with being trapped in a bitty tiny space with a bit of magic and incredible amounts of humour? What is more real than a visitor from another planet, with superhuman powers going to so great and clever extents pretending to be awkwardly mild-mannered in order to protect those he cares for, even to his own detriment…

Of course there was (and is) a much bigger, tragic deal going than my own silly narrative. I once read a Watchmen’s Alan Moore line that stuck with me, from the most memorable graphic novel I have ever read; Superman’s story was being revamped, starting from scratch, so he had the chance to do what few would ever do: write the ‘last’ Superman book before doing this. Coming from a comic book this might sound obvious, but is it?:  “it’s only a bird, only a plane. Superman died ten years ago. This is an IMAGINARY STORY…Aren’t they All?”

"Actioncomics583" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

El Isleño | Guest Blogger

© Katya de Becerra 2015


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