Originally, this was set to be posted yesterday morning as a commemoration of sorts to the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough Tragedy. While polishing the post and gathering a few accompanying photos, I received a text message alerting me to the fact that something terrible had occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Like with most instances of breaking news, I scanned my Twitter feed, looking for any bit of information that might confirm the horrible event that my friend had alluded to, and then, seeing a few photos tumble down my timeline, the day changed.
Everything else seemed inconsequential; the workday effectively over. How could one dedicate themselves to their own interests when such an event had happened? How could we obsess over something as insignificant as football when people were still missing, families separated and victims in the midst of emergency operations?
A misery overtook me, and the rest of the day was spent sitting in front of a television screen, fervently searching for any update.
Today, while stories of the strength and resiliency of the people of Boston give us a sense of optimism and confidence, the pit remains in my stomach. But while I had initially thought to scrap this post, I realized that much of it applies to yesterday’s events. We cannot push away tragedy because it is too painful, and we cannot simply overlook the past, no matter how heartbreaking it may be. We must not allow tragedies to fade, but rather, keep them in mind, as we honor the victims by remembering them not as statistics, but as they were, people, with their own hopes, dreams and families.
Whether Hillsborough or yesterday’s events in Boston, we must honor their legacy by remembering them as they would have wanted, and never ending our search for justice.
There are stories in life that are so painful, so near to ourselves, that we have no recourse but to push them away completely and push them from our vision. We acknowledge them, feel a momentary sensation, but quickly move on, for if we were to feel them too deeply, we would descend into a chasm of constant misery. This may seem cynical, but we cannot allow ourselves to feel the stories too deeply, for the pain would overwhelm us.
The stories then, quickly fade into a murky blend of sorrow. Each day’s evening news becomes like the next; each day’s newspaper a rough sketch of the previous morning. Each tragedy and story of sorrow causes us distress, but gradually fades into an archetype, becoming just another story in a long history of thousands of similar tragedies that have taken place over the years.
The same is true of the victims, who lose their identities as they fade into statistics. Thousands lost among the rubble here, hundreds lost there. Each victim’s goals in life, their families, their personal relationships and personalities lost as they slip into obscurity, as if their relatives don’t suffer from regrets on a daily basis.
We isolate the pain, overlook the suffering, and move on with our lives, and recognize pain only when it affects our own family or friends.
Which is why we cannot overlook the Hillsborough Tragedy. Just as we assemble amongst friends and relatives, reach for our scarves and enter through the turnstiles to find our seats, so too did they. Just as we remain on our feet for 90 minutes, chanting the names of our heroes, believing in the potential of success, so too did they. And then, in an instant, they were gone.
Their story is our story. Their family our family. Their pain our pain.
Just as we cannot push away our own suffering, we cannot allow the Hillsborough Tragedy to fade from our memory into a hazy mixture of statistics and misery. The details must not fade into another familiar framework. The victims must not become simply victims, just one amongst another 95. Each of the 96 had family, friends, hopes and dreams which never had an opportunity to materialize. We must remember them as they were, as individuals, and honor their memory by never resting our demands for justice. [Posted by Maxi]
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