Sometimes there are no words…. (Tears at the Afghanistan evacuation)

One of my friends posted this on her Instragram account. To me, it said more than words could ever say. It includes the artist’s name.

This reminds me of the reflections of Etty Hillesum in her book An Interrupted Life. Esther (Etty) Hillesum (15 January 1914–30 November 1943) was the Dutch author of confessional letters and diaries which describe both her religious awakening and the persecutions of Jewish people in Amerstdam during the German Occupation. In 1943 she was deported and killed In Auschwitz concentration camp. In one of her diary entries she wrote, in a similar vein to the image above, that even the German mothers are mourning the loss of their sons, just as the Jewish mothers are. I have always kept An Interrupted Life and love to pull it out at times such as these. Some of my favorite quotes from Etty:

“All disaster stems from us. Why is there a war? Perhaps because now and then I might be inclined to snap at my neighbour. Because I and my neighbour and everyone else do not have enough love. Yet we could fight war with all its excrescences by releasing, each day, the love that is shackled inside us, and giving it a chance to live. And I believe that I will never be able to hate any human being for his so-called wickedness, that I shall only hate the evil that is within me, though hate is perhaps putting it too strongly even then. In any case, we cannot be lax enough in what we demand of others and strict enough in what we demand of ourselves.”
― Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”
― Etty Hillesum

“Despite everything, life is full of beauty and meaning.”
― Etty Hillesum, Lettres De Westerbork

“Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others.”
― Etty Hillesum

“I know and share the many sorrows a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them; they pass through me, like life itself, as a broad eternal stream…and life continues…”
― Etty Hillesum

“I really see no other solution than to turn inwards and to root out all the rottenness there. I no longer believe that we can change anything in the world until we first change ourselves. And that seems to me the only lesson to be learned.”
― Etty Hillesum, Lettres De Westerbork

“I know that those who hate have good reason to do so. But why should we always have to choose the cheapest and easiest way? It has been brought home forcibly to me here how every atom of hatred added to the world makes it an even more inhospitable place.”
― Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork

“When you have an interior life, it certainly doesn’t matter what side of the prison fence you’re on. . . I’ve already died a thousand times in a thousand concentration camps. I know everything. There is no new information to trouble me. One way or another, I already know everything. And yet, I find this life beautiful and rich in meaning. At every moment.”
― Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork

“We go too far in fearing for our unhappy bodies, but our forgotten spirit shrivels up in some corner. Our lives are going wrong, we conduct ourselves without dignity. We lack historical sense, forget that even those about to perish are part of history. I hate nobody. I am not embittered. And once the love of mankind has germinated in you, it will grow without measure.”
― Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork

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