Thursday, November 08, 2007

I would pray if I could

You may well know of a national tragedy having occurred in Finland today - well, yesterday, technically. Initially, when the news had reached me, I wanted to post a few words and a piece of music. Then I felt it would be insensitive, even crass, in a way - but now I feel I must acknowledge this infinitely sad and terrible thing having happened, or I can never come back here and talk about other things again, as if I hadn't cared. Let it therefore be known, for what it's worth, that I am numbed by shock and sadness by the thing that happened, and that - as they say - my heart goes out to those immediately affected by it. Let it also be known that in cases like these, I feel infinite sympathy for the family of the perpetrator, too. They, too, have lost their child, but they have also lost their right to grieve and mourn over their loss, and to hold onto and remember the good times, one day.

I have listened to this piece of music several times over tonight. I think it may well be the most beautiful piece of music I know. No amount of beauty will soothe those who have really been hit by this thing, but this has soothed me tonight. Which is why I am adding it here.


trousers said...

I only just heard about this when I saw your post. I thought, having read your post, how could you worry about it being insensitive (it is very sensitive, thoughtful and respectful) and then I came to write this response, and you realise just how difficult it can be to adequately express something in mere words.

This piece of music is wonderful and has moved me. I hope it continues to soothe you.


Anna MR said...

Hei housut - thank you, seriously, for your visit today and your words. Tragedy of this depth and magnitude goes beyond human understanding, doesn't it, and words fail us, simultaneously making the most sincere attempt at expression trite and flat and the biggest cliché and truism quite accurate and real. I really cannot have religion as such, but music such as this provides a place for the soul to curl up and seek comfort, and maybe a meaning that transcends individual experience, a place where I can (again/still/begin to) think of mankind not only as an organism producing senselessness and violence, but also as one capable of creating a thing of beauty and longing which spans and carries and speaks over centuries, over generations.

Thanks again, housut. x

But Why? said...

Great music, thankyou.

I have nothing of any value to say. I have no idea what a sensible response to such a hideous occurrence would be.



I cannot comprehend. I am anyway unsure I would want this tragedy to be capable of being rationalised.

bindi said...

I do prey in moments like this, for the families of the ones who have lost their children and all of those who grieve. And I cry.

bindi said...

anna please edit my comment, its can't stay there as prey!!! ahhh

Anna MR said...

Hei But, thanks for coming by and for being so intelligent and sympathetic. I think you're right, there can be no real answers to our "why's" and "how's". Rational these events are not, and I feel rational explanations (which usually include apportioning blame - a natural enough reaction, but a cruel and simplistic one, I find) leave my questions unanswered. If I were to apportion any blame myself, I'd say shooting clubs should take a hard look at their process of handing out licenses (no, I don't - I think shooting clubs are totally unnecessary and wanky and dangerous and horrible, and should be closed down, but then I am a power freak who wants everyone to think like I think). He'd had his license after a one-hour session at a club.

But all this is just talk, you know, after the fact, and no amount of talk will turn back the clock...

Anna MR said...

Hei Bindi, thank you for your thoughtfulness (and don't you be worrying about that typo - disgraceful, but it made me smile, although I only really noticed it once you'd pointed it out. Unfortunately I can't help you, as blogger doesn't allow for comment editing). I have been thinking about this prayer issue - only those who have a faith can really pray, I suppose, but there is a contemplative state of sorrow and compassion and pain, which took over from my internal verbal intellectual monologue whilst I listened to the Allegri, over and over again, on Wednesday night. Maybe that could be called a prayer of sorts, too.

I have also noted in myself what could be described as a longing nostalgia for Wednesday morning, for the time when this hadn't yet happened, a desire for us all just to go back to then and there, and somehow thus make it unhappen, even when I know nothing can make this possible (as I have just said in my comment to But Why, in fact). This may qualify as asking for a miracle. Who knows. Religious desires are deeply rooted in us, I think, even in those of us who, like me, do not or cannot really believe. It would certainly be a comfort to be able to.

trousers said...

anna, to respond to some of your thoughts about prayer: I veer along many points on the scale between agnostic and atheist, and yet at certain (and very specific) points in my life I have prayed: not only that there appear to have been responses (though that would need to be viewed within the context of the personal meaning that spurred me on to pray in the first place). Certain experiences - painful, sorrowful or joyful - can shed light on facets of our being which might not make sense to who we are on a day-to-day basis. But in my opinion they're there all the same.

Your comment about wishing to be pre-this event: very well put and, whilst saying a lot about this very sad train of events, also can be extended to a whole host of other, far less extreme situations. As such I'd say it's quite insightful.


trousers said...

Sorry, my turn for typo rage:

"not only that there appear to have been responses"

would read far better as "not only that, but it seemed to me that there were responses" or something like that :)

bindi said...

I identify with longing to wind back the clocks, rewrite it. When it happened here in Port Arthur in Tasmania, we suddenly had to reassess our Australian identities, our selves. Prior to this, tragedies of that kind only happened in America.

I think disbelief is a natural first stage of grief.

bindi said...

... and we grieved for our lost innocence.

Anna MR said...

Hei housut, thanks again for your thoughts. I agree, there seem to be aspects in us (i.e. people in general, I believe, although I can only for certain speak of myself, I suppose) which are activated by certain circumstances, situations, emotions, and so on. The rational mind isn't the whole truth, at least not about us. Maybe not about the world, either.

Anna MR said...

Hei Bindi - yes, there are multiple levels of sorrow associated with tragedies of this type, one of them being the loss of a collective innocence and of the identity a society had prior to the event. I read what the BBC wrote about this thing, and one of the things that struck me was the fact they thought it news-worthy to mention that schools here very rarely have any fences, walls, gates etc around them. Even though I have lived abroad - and as recently as eighteen months ago - it hadn't really ever occurred to me even to notice this. We live in a very open society - people who hold the highest public offices walk amongst "ordinary citizens" - there is no perceived need for paranoia and cagey security measures. I would hate to lose that.

At the same time, it feels almost criminal of me to be thinking on that level, while another level of the grief is the very real, inconsolable and concrete one many families are having to now come to terms with as being a part of their lives - forever.

It is just too horrible. What more can I say.