I dreamt of Lorca, I knew not why.
Any association I might have with the poet-dramatist is non-existent. Yet, that is all I could remember of the dream; sitting in front of a bespectacled young gentleman who spoke passionately of the Spaniard’s intellect, heroism and prodigiousness, before an awed audience applauding at fixed intervals in exaggerated measure.
There was a symbol somewhere, but I wasn’t sure what. I resorted to Freud’s free association to find out, moving forth from what meagre knowledge I had of my dream’s protagonist.
I remembered having watched an all-dance rendition of “Blood Wedding” some years before. The bailaors were taut and composed, the music reflective and expressive, the storyline simple, or rather simplistic in a manner in which all overdone stories seem. There was nothing novel in a story about an honour-killing.
What struck me at the time though, was that Lorca chose for both his male heroes to kill each other in their final confrontation; not only he who was by traditional moral judgment the aggressor, but also he who went out to avenge his wounded honour. There was a message there, I thought, that all murder is heinous, especially when the reason behind it is not to retaliate, or defend against, physical violence, but merely to restore one’s stature among over-judging peers. Honour and shame were both fabrications of the psyche, feelings derived not from physical needs, but in fact social constructs externally imposed by a meddlesome society; another vibrant example of how Hell is indeed Others.
Murder, whatever the cause, if not the defense against imminent physical threat, was an unnatural act of man. I empathize with other sins that merely reflect weakness of will, insatiable gluttony, or the humourful queerness of hypocrisy, but murder I could not grapple myself to come to terms with.
Was it so not so unnatural an act that Able said unto his brother “even if thou extend your hand to kill me, I shall not extend my hand to kill you”? Was it not such an abominable act of madness that made he who killeth a soul akin to he who killeth all humankind?
I remember having had these thoughts on a bleak night years ago. I was standing in a large hospital foyer deluged by blood, ankles wading among charcoaled carcasses and bodies burned beyond help. An orderly was tasked with hosing down the wounded, and another, mechanically, was mopping the sanguineous floor, shepherding blood, charred skin, wails, moans and last breaths towards a drain in the corner. Laid on the ground that day were people who had all woken up in the morning with plans for the days to follow. Now they were the latest statistic of terrorism.
It is a memory I always try to suppress, something must have evoked it. The recent deaths in Egypt perhaps. The fact that the country appears to be on the verge of systematic violence along inane political lines.
The most bothering aspect about the current spate of violence is that it is being fueled by men of power, authority and recognition. It is being encouraged by the media and the pundits. Was this their way of restoring a superficial self-confidence in a society that had nothing to be confident about? For what easier gift can you give a man so destitute, so inept and helpless, in order to lift his spirits from their squalid condition but a sense of imponderable superiority over others, whether it be superiority of race, religion, morality or creed? And so in his inhumane surroundings, his humanity is temporarily restored by dehumanizing others who are deemd inherently inferior.
I exhaust steps along that particular line of thought and I revert to my initial dream. What else do I know about Lorca, his irrelevant sexuality notwithstanding? That he died at the very beginning of the Spanish civil war, most likely at the hands of the Nationalists.
My foremost association with the war is my appreciation of Orwell who fought in it, and who chronicled his experiences in “Homage to Catalonia”. It is from such critics of the internecine infighting among the Republicans, and their excesses of violence, that one comes to challenge the unsophisticated notions of that particular war, or indeed any war hitherto, as being fought by two easily discernible forces of good and evil.
Those blurred lines of demarcation relate to ongoing events in the here and now. It is easier and more comforting to believe oneself to be among the saintly crowd, entrenched on the high moral ground, to be a soldier in the legions of light, encamped in fields of virtue against the forces of perdition.
Such is not the case in the real world. Whatever side one takes along the great divide he is bound to find himself a pawn among bands of caballing brigands. In such circumstances sagacity calls for neutrality. Expediency on the other hand dictates a measure of action, even at the expense of brigandry, but with full knowledge that truth, clarity, morality and justice are all invisible garments on the hide of the Emperor, weaved from moonlight yarn, spun by the partial parlance of pied pundits who fill the airwaves with their conceit, false piety, and abject ignorance.
If you are to join the brigands, at least spot them for what they are, and refuse to acknowledge anything but the Emperor’s nudity.
As all dreams, this one comes to an end.