Lost Glory

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll

 

“Did they tell you what you’d find there?”

Vince shook his head. His eyes sought the window and rose along the flagpole to its top. The silence lingered.

“No,” the Veteran said quietly. “We’d heard rumors, of course, but nothing could’ve prepared us for the conditions there.”

He took a deep breath. His hand tightened around his cup and his eyes remained glued to the flag outside. “People crammed into cold, bare rooms. Without necessaries. Not even a place to sleep. Frightened, sick children. Belligerent guards. I’m ashamed, Son. The flag I fought under now flies over American concentration camps.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

47 thoughts on “Lost Glory

  1. Na’ama Y’karah,

    It’s hard to see what’s going on these days, isn’t it? As a friend of mine who made aliyah some thirty years ago and recently visited family in the States said, “It’s not the America I left.” Well written story that goes deep to the heart.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Rochelle. This current reality breaks my heart because it is not inevitable, because it is deliberate, and because it changes the people who endure, inflict, witness, and experience it, and not for the better. We are better than this. May humanity prevail over cruelty. American can be great. It is full of good people who want to do good things. But this? This is not greatness. Tanks in the streets and humans in concentration camps isn’t greatness. May those who are misled to think it is, wake up to see what they’d allowed. Hugs, Na’ama

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amen.
        We have a lot of repair to do, but repair is possible, and there are many willing.
        It is those whose hearts are closed that worry me, but I am an eternal optimist–the tide can change, and TRUE greatness can prevail over brutality-in-the-guise-of-greatness.

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    • Thank you, Niel.
      You hit the nail on the head — it is an obligation to lead well, not with fear or hate or dehumanization of others, whomever they might be. Respecting human rights seems so very basic to me, I cannot wrap my mind around anyone who justifies ignoring, let alone deliberately destroying them.
      We have a lot of repair to do.
      Na’ama

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The little, everyday actions that punctuate the dialogue are beautifully judged to set he emotional tone. They make it plain that it was painful for Vince to give his testimony, and painful for his son to listen to it. Excellent writing indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Penny.
      These are tender times.
      Most people are good. Most people don’t want to see others being demeaned or hurt or mistreated. Political propaganda may try to justify or minimize or dehumanize (in order to justify and minimize inhumane treatment), but I believe most people will be distressed by cruelty. It matters that we talk about it. It matters that we call it what it is. It matters that we support each other to hold people accountable when they do things that should not be done.
      Thank you for reading and for this supportive comment!
      Na’ama

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are at the start of a swing away from liberal values, and towards authoritarianism. Those of us who care must do all we can to demonstrate how important human rights are, and how quickly and easily they can disappear. It may be very costly, I fear.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I agree we’re at a time where important decisions must be made by each and every one of us. Will we stand aside and do nothing (we know where history went when people made THAT decision) or do we uphold morality, humanity, and freedom above power, domination, brutality, and hate.
        I hope more people will choose the way of humanity over the way of cruelty.
        Na’ama

        Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, all that.
      Most CBP persons are good persons, I am sure, but it does not take much to corrupt people when they are given absolute power in an atmosphere of hate, distrust, license to demean and dehumanize. And the higher ups are doing this intentionally. They’d stated quite clearly this is to deter … and they repeatedly referred to certain groups of people in demeaning and dehumanizing terms, referring to ‘infestation’ and so on. It is very VERY wrong.
      There will be much healing needed done, and much of it for man-made harm and almost all of it preventable.
      😦
      Thank you for this comment,
      Na’ama

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My country has been there. Death camps weren’t the beginning. Mobbing, harassing, scape-goating, lying, stealing, separating families was. The “good people” looked away with very few exceptions. This couldn’t happen. The press tried to normalize. Other countries shrugged. Some collaborated. And then we had the death camps, everyone was just following orders or didn’t know anything except for whispered rumours.
    I grew up with the shame and grief about what my country, my people had done. It hurts me more than I can say to see what’s going on in countries where I’d never thought it possible. The patterns match.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this. I have friends of German descent who are carrying the legacy of shame and grief over the deeds of their grandparents. Some have been surprised that we COULD be friends and that I didn’t hold them responsible. I do not, though I would have held their grandparents responsible, and those of us who are not speaking up and pressuring lawmakers to ACT and stop atrocities against human beings, will be held responsible for this, as well.
      Evil is always possible. It is part of human nature to fight against it, and sometimes the evil and the power-hunger and the need to step over other people to feel taller takes over the better sides of persons. I would even say that there are those for whom this is an easier slippery slope than others. Corruption is always possible. As is good people doing all they can to stop it, to turn the tide from harmful to repair.
      It is easier to damage than to heal, but it is possible to heal.
      I hope this in my hope and heart and I am encouraged to see so many people, all over the world, speak against the human rights violations that are being done under the guise of ‘patriotism’ and ‘protection,’ but are really just the mask of cruelty and domination by dehumanization.
      More of us are aware, I hope, than were aware during WWII, of where these things can go.
      Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. We are all in this together. And we can do better. I hope we will.
      Na’ama

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you. Well said. ❣️

    Adele Ryan McDowell,

    AdeleRyanMcDowell.com Adeleandthepenguin.com MakingPeacewithSuicide.com Channeledgrace.com

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  5. Well, this is a very brave piece, you have my utmost respect.
    I live in France and try not to follow the news, so I am not aware of what specific incident is referenced here and in the comments above, but I doubt if it is much different from atrocities that many ‘civilised’ nations have been perpetrating for centuries.
    And none of them were or are justifiable.
    Bravo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ceayr,
      We each must do what we can to change what we can and to protect ourselves from a flood of too much news from all over the world lest in overwhelms us and renders us unable to attend to what we must and can attend to.
      I don’t blame you for not following news from all over the world when there is often sufficient news to follow nearer to home. We each must make the decisions that work for us as to how much of the global 24/7 media we consume. Good for you for putting boundaries where you need them.
      The reference is to abominable conditions in detention facilities ran by the US government. I will leave it to you to decide whether you wish/can/need to look up the specifics … though I agree that it is not the first time so-called civilized nations become so cocky as to engage in inhumane acts against those they deem unworthy or less human or otherwise undeserving of even the rudimentary humane treatment … and how these often devolve to outright cruelty. Sometimes deliberate cruelty.
      None of it is ever EVER justified.
      Thank you for reading and commenting, and may humanity prevail over inhumane treatment of other fellow human beings.
      Na’ama

      Like

    • Thank you, Dale.
      It is a difficult one indeed but if we do not speak up — I don’t know how we can look ourselves in the mirror. We are better than that. There may always be some outliers who prefer brutality and shows of power to true leadership and humanity toward our fellow human beings and compassion toward all living beings and respect for the one planet we all share. There may always be some who have a weak or nonexistent moral compass. We may not be able to change THAT. However, we can (and SHOULD) not follow them, not amplify them, not give them a free pass, not condone or excuse or allow them to inflict harm on others.
      THAT, we can control.
      By speaking up. By pushing back. By calling what is, what it is. By not being afraid to protect the unprotected and stand up for the helpless.
      It is the only way back onto a humane path, and I believe the majority of us are for it.
      If we stand our ground to demand justice and freedom for all, as we ought.
      Hugs
      Na’ama

      Like

  6. A good story that points out a terrible truth, Na’ama. There are concentration camps within our own borders. Those responsible can’t pass on the blame. President Truman had it right. “The buck stops here”. 😦 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • It should stop with each one of us, yes. In how we conduct ourselves, in what we ‘allow’ in our name (by not speaking up, by not pushing back against what should not happen, by not demanding people be treated humanely, no matter who they are or where they came from or what they are fleeing from or how old or young they are).
      The US had worked hard to move away from atrocities – from slavery to the systematic mistreatment of the Native Americans, to the marginalization of the Chinese and the internment of the Japanese, among others. To see America being (mis)led back into the darker times of demeaning human beings and justifying brutality toward the helpless is … well … heartbreaking.
      Those who are numb to the realities of cruelty and fall under the spell of myth of power, have my sympathy, but not my condoning.
      We can do so much better than this …
      Na’ama

      Like

    • I don’t think there was ‘one side’ as much a there was a slow progress from centrists in both parties. However, radicals and the power-hungry seem to protest change via using fear, hate, and xenophobia – a tactic that was alas effective since time immemorial and which those who are susceptible to feeling victimized by the prospect of others having what they’d always taken for granted as their rights alone, all too easily fall for.
      I hope things won’t devolve quite as far as they had in WWII, though alas we are many steps into it already. Still, humanity has shown it can do better and perhaps sanity will prevail and we can change course back to sanity from current hate disguised as ‘nationalism’ and … yes, back into middle ground.
      Thank you for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • We CAN learn, and many do, but like many other things, it is far easier to destroy than to build, to undo than create, to besmirch than to clean.
      May more protest so that those who thrive on misery find themselves follower-less, and a healing can commence.
      Thank you, Jo!

      Liked by 1 person

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