Perhaps that is what is meant by ‘lonelyness’ — knowing that even at your moments of most exalted emotion, you do not matter (perhaps this is precisely the moment of most exalted emotion) because these things will always be here: the dark trees full of summer leaf, the fading light that has not changed in seventy-five years, the peace that lies perpetually in wait.
Geoff Dyer, from The Missing of the Somme
2014-2018 will be the centenary of World War I. In this book, he talks about the force of Remembrance - as it emerged as a social goal, as it shaped the perception of the war which razed the Western Front “over a carpet of bodies”, as it shaped the war itself, and the thin peace that fell right after.
I watched that horrifying video yesterday of the man shot point-blank by the Pakistani Rangers who, while pleading for his life and for help, flails, twitches, supplicates and bleeds out in the street while they mill around him. Not on the scale of 60,000 dead in a single day, and yet still a uniform, a weapon, years of assured justification of class make us still willing to render a life inconsequential in a half-second of thought. Only time and the permanence of surroundings seem to make it bearable.