Crying but he’s trying to push it away; trying – now failing – to keep the collapse out of his speaking voice. Ditto the Mother. Father and Mother. Of two boys lost. Killed in some kind of an attack, in some sort of city, which happens to be Baghdad.
Their boys lost and gone, now all they can do is hold on to themselves, hold it to together – together.
But neither one succeeds; each of them breaks down in front of the microphone.
Now the radio reporter has got what she wants. For her the interview is drawn around the soundbites of parents crying. As soon as they start speaking again, what they say is translated into English, and the translation is voiced by someone else; someone who is not authentic. But the sound of sobbing seems more vital than anything the parents might have to say. Elemental and transcendental, the parents themselves, as they really are, expressing themselves beyond language. Their crying is what the rest of the package is for.
How wrong can you be? They are not this animal sound. Who they are, is what they have made of themselves, and how they have made themselves stop weeping. Just as parents, previously, they made themselves make their boys into more than whining, whingeing little creatures. On cold mornings and warm evenings, never giving up until the day their children were ripped away.
You’ve got it wrong, Dear Journo. The common denominator is not the lowest but the highest we can be. Better to approach all your interviewees as if each of them is Nelson Mandela.
Which, of course, we are.