Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A friend and I were talking about the agony of parenting. The hell of worrying when uncertainty is at the fore.

Think of Gilad Shalit's parents. Or Alan Johnston's, I remarked.

Israeli soldier Shalit was taken captive a year ago by a Hamas-linked faction and BBC correspondent Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza in the Spring. Earlier in the week, audio and video tapes of both were released by their captors.

How do their parents endure the sustained agony of uncertainty? How do they bear that unresolved tension? I asked my friend.

I don't know, she answered. How did my mother do it? How did my grandparents endure?

I had forgotten that my friend is the daughter of a "Desaparecido". Los Desaparecidos - The Disappearing Ones - is the name given to people who disappeared in Argentina during the country's Dirty War in the 70's & 80's. People who were deemed a threat to the military government simply went missing. 9,000 of them. Her father, a professor, vanished one day. She was an infant when he was taken.

My mother said the toughest part was not having closure, my friend shared. No grave. No sign of life or death. No final word. My father's parents refused to move house for NINETEEN years because they held onto hope. They were afraid that IF one day he tried to come home, he wouldn't know where to find them.

Lord have mercy. I hope Gilad and Alan come home to their families soon.

No comments: