Sunday, April 25, 2010

Remembrance for Nathan: What I Should Have Written

On 11 April I posted Remembrance for Nathan (see here).

Here I am redoing the post that I did 2 weeks ago, adding to it and making it what I should have written.

In that post basically I showed a Holocaust picture of an old Jewish woman holding a child beside the railroad cars at a concentration camp, made a brief analogy between Mister Tristan and Nathan (in the photo) both being 2 years old, then sent readers over to another blog saying "Read this."

That was sort of lazy--if I don't contribute any value added, coming from my own thinking, when I post something, then I should not do that post.

Here's how the post did read:





Mister Tristan--the human being, not the blog--is 2 years old.

Nathan, in the left foreground of the photo, was also 2 years old. Rather than try to summarize the story, I'm afraid I would not do it justice. Please go read the whole thing, by Lea Lane, here. This is a must-read for anyone with a heart.

So here's what I should have written:

Mister Tristan--the human being, not the blog--is 2 years old.

Nathan, in the left foreground of the photo, was also 2 years old. Rather than try to summarize the story, I'm afraid I would not do it justice. Please go read the whole thing, by Lea Lane, here. This is a must-read for anyone with a heart.

The bottom line is that a Holocaust survivor, Cecile, who was a teenager in the Nazi concentration camps, many decades later happened to see a photo that she recognized. It was of her mother holding her 2 year old grandson (Cecile's nephew), Nathan.  While Cecile and her sister did survive, Nathan did not, nor did mother or her brother-in-law.

No, it is too mild to use the passive voice and just say that they did not survive--the Nazis murdered them. And as I read this terrible story, I began to weep and to rage and to scream at the type of Homo sapiens (I won't use the term human) who could deliberately and cold-bloodedly murder a 2 year old child. I love Mister Tristan more than life itself and would gladly lay down my life for his. The innocence, the promise, the trust, in a child's eyes--to violate that is the most heinous of acts.

Speaking purely in a biological sense, children are our reason for living--we exist to reproduce and to pass on our genes to the next generation. But moreover, in a philosophical sense, children are a gift. They keep us young and give us an altruistic reason for living--to nurture, to teach, to grow.

It took me a long time that night to get my emotions under control over the 60+ year old tragedy of Nathan, as I held Mister Tristan and nestled him under my wings. He knew something was wrong and was content to snuggle there, somehow knowing that we were comforting one another. Then we read "Goodnight, Moon" and I told him the story of Tristan's day, and I put him into his crib.

I would spend a long time that night just watching him sleep, work forgotten, politics forgotten, ultrarunning forgotten. Just watching him sleep.

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