Dinner time. We are eating together, in the kitchen of our apartment. My mother, father, brother, and me.

We never watch TV while eating. 'It's unfriendly, and unhealthy', Mummy will say. Everyone instead tells the family how their day went.

Dad now talks about his job. Mum listens. I squabble with my bro. The radio plays softly in the background. Music usually, but news now. I like the music, but I don't listen to the news. Little boys are not interested in the news.

All of a sudden, my parents stop chatting. My father says 'Oh', stands up and turns up the sound of the radio. I look up from my plate of spaghetti. Daddy's face is as white as a sheet. Mum's eyes are full of tears. My little brother has not noticed, he is quite busy playing with his food.

November 22, 1963. I just learned there is a city named Dallas in the United States.

3 comment(s):

    On 29 November, 2008 00:06 Anonymous said...

    My parents hadn't met eachother on that day yet, but my mom always told us she knew exactly what she was doing when she heard the terrible news.
    Ever since, there's been a lot of psychological research on whether those memories are actually true. It sounds a bit morbid, but there are teams or researchers that have research scenarios ready for when a big traumatic event happens, just so they can conduct the research. Happened with the crash of the challenger with the schoolteacher in (January 28, 1986) and obviously, with 9/11.
    What is interesting is that actually a lot of memories are completely inaccurate.
    Memory is an odd thing. But it's sad how blasting happenings like the murder of JFK have an impact.

    I had an experience like that last wednesday, when I got home from choir rehearsal, and opened my messages and the first one was from a dear friend in Mumbai with a link (that I didn't open, because the message caught my eye) and the message was "Don't worry, I was close to it, but I am safe".

    When I had digested what had happened, I mused on how those people that cause these griefs are not only morally wrong for doing what they were doing, I also hold them accountable for the hostile and aggressive feelings they inspire in me.
    It is violence that causes violence.
    What was established by the vile and orchestrated murder of JFK? What was established with the brutal murder of all those people on 9/11?
    What is established now, with the vile slaughtering of over 125 people in Mumbai?

    And fear leads to hatred, hatred leads to violence.
    Let's not be manipulated thus: let's not be intimidated, let's not get cynical, let's not be frightened and most of all, let us not hate.

    As far as I am concerned you are not morally obliged to respect people (respect is something earned), but if everyone would just manage to tolerate differences, live with them. Or ignore them, fine too. As long as we stop this vile, nay, EVIL spiral of violence, intolerance and hatred.

    While I am at it, I would also like a pony.


    'A lot of memories are completely inaccurate'... It's interesting how a word often has close but different meanings in English — which explains why English is a bad language for diplomacy. Inaccurate in English means either imprecise, or wrong. Thanks to completely, I understand you meant that a lot of memories are wrong. I know certainly much less than you about the process of memory Saskia, but I will agree with you only partly here.

    Many memories are probably wrong, yet I believe that many memories are rather imprecise than untrue, essentially because they are in a (permanent?) process of rebuilding.

    For instance, it is very likely that things did not happened exactly the way I remember them on that day, when we were in our kitchen with the radio on the background. Yet I am quite sure we were in the kitchen and my father went so pale when he heard the news on the radio. I certainly remember my mother's eyes at the moment, suddenly full of tears. Yet, were we really eating spaghetti on that day? or does the usual memory of my little bro playing with his food in his plate collides with my memory of that precise day? How about my father putting up the sound of the radio as I remember? he used to do so all the time when a news interested him. He probably did the same on that day, but maybe the memory of this tiny point is a re-creation from so many other times I saw him doing this. And so forth.

    Rather that wrong, I will say that many memories are often made up from several different memories then. The events are real, but our brain put them together. We believe it is a plain sheet, when it is a patchwork. Thank you for the comment!


    When I heard about the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, I was sitting at my metal computer desk (long gone), chatting on Yahoo, and the television was turned on behind me. We didn't have cable, so network news cut into the television programming, and began a vigil/watch on everything that happened that day and everything that was to come. I watched the live video footage of the first plane that crashed into the Twin Towers, and I watched horrified when the second plane crashed.

    Those memories are real. i will probably never remember what I was wearing or what I ate that day, but I do know that I turned around and asked everyone in the room if they had heard what was happening and what had happened.


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