By Vika Trenas
Translation: Jim Dingley
I am tired of being at war, I want peace, not war. I am not going to fight with windmills any longer, there is no longer within me any feeling of guilt for what I have done and what I have failed to do. Within me there is neither hatred nor love, only a void through which I must pass in order for darkness—terrifying, thick and blood-drained—to swallow me and then spit me out, leaving everything behind me. I call upon the past to leave me be, let me alone, I owe you nothing more.
How naive are those who think that there is a hell worse than the one we have here on earth. The broken hearts of fields, the drained marshes, the stumps of trees that have been chopped down. If you’ve been through fire here, can you really cause any surprise there? If you have surrendered yourself to the will of alien gods here, if fear is throbbing in your veins. If you already have behind you circles of hell beyond number, if you have been uprooted from your native soil. If you are no longer of any use at home. If you have rejected yourself and are now suffocating like a whale cast up on the shore. If faith, hope and love can no longer save you. If you feel pain for someone whose blood has been spilled. If the blood inside you boils, if your soul is so often torn to shreds. Then there it is—the ghostly path to happiness.
They decided that they are the Powers-that-be, and we decided that we are their slaves. They enjoyed mocking us to their heart’s content, but that was not enough. It turns out that our identity and native language can be stolen. They will soon lock us in cages. Receive your drop of freedom according to the residual principle, take your place in the queue and your drop will be issued to you from a pipette. Continue to keep silent, go on keeping your eyes shut, go on betraying anyone like you to the authorities, go on dividing the world into us and them, renounce yourself for the sake of bread and circuses. For if you open your eyes wide, your mouth will gape and you will see all around yourself ash heaps, military testing grounds and shooting ranges.
You who do not want to use your head to think. You who are incapable of loving or being loved. You who have graduated from a happy Soviet childhood. Are you prepared to raise your children in the same way?
Don’t hold your child in your arms too often, otherwise they’ll get used to it. Don’t hug your child, or else they’ll become too tender and naughty. Keep your child in line, make sure they don’t depart from it. What does your child need new clothes for? Let them wear the hand-me-downs from their older siblings. Why does your child need food to be tasty? Our grandfathers’ generation was happy to have a crust of bread during the war—it’ll better for your child. Anyway, you shouldn’t give your child anything at all to eat if they bring home bad marks from school. Your child will be like us, they don’t need to be smarter, to be able to feel more and be able to do their own thing. We gave birth to them, they belong to us, we’ll mould them into whatever we need. We need to make the child easy to deal with, we have to fit them into our society like into a Procrustean bed. What can be like that?
Do this and you will have successfully broken your child in.