Story 2 - Shoot Them!
I asked her to consider what a human being is. Are we flesh, blood, bones, enzimes, nerves, a brain, etc.. Is that us? I said that every animal in the fields has these. Still, we are different. We stand tall above them as sentient beings. We are able to think, explore, discover, reason; create art, music, literature, beautify our world. We are able to reach out for the truth and latch onto it with verifiable hypothesis that we build technologies on to enrich our lives.
"That's what we are," I said to her. "Brainwashing takes a lot of that away from us and replaces it with what someone else has determined for us. That process kills people as human beings. And those who refuse to be brainwashed will likely be killed physically and end up on the body dumps. Isn't that what the cries about communism, capitalism, Marxism, Zionism, Hinduism, or whatever, are all about? If we loose our human identity, all of these things become paramount and people are being betrayed for it, slandered for it, and attacked for it."
"Just look at yourself," I continued. "You haven't been brainwashed. You came through this terrible tragedy and remained perfectly human; and I am willing to bet anything that this is what you value the most about yourself. The isms and so forth don't even come into view for you, until way down the line. Am I correct?"
Ursula nodded again.
"I wish we had a million people like you in America,"
I said to her and began to grin. "Then the world would be at peace forever."
"Oh you!" she scolded me, and punched me again, gently. "These things are too serious to make fun of. I was nearly killed on my next mission, so please don't joke about it. Of course, what you said is true."
She told me that her next assignment as 'journalist' for the East German State Intelligence Service was a one week visit to a farming community in the north of El Salvador. She said she had been glad to get this assignment. She had grown tired of the gore around the cities, and the fear that lay over everything like "a fine dust one can't get out of ones hair." She said that the thought of being in the country was comforting to her. She felt it would revive her. Initially it did. The people she came to know were friendly. They were some of the more fortunate people in this country. They had good land, leased from a generous landlord. They had plenty of water nearby. They were far away from the fighting. Life was good for them, possibly the easiest in the entire country.
She said there was a population of about thirty in this village. None had any political alignment. She had asked the head man about his political views. He had just looked at her and shrugged his shoulders. "We are farmers," he had told her. "That's all we know. That's all we have time for. That's all we want to know."
Her face became tense after that, as she spoke. I can't remember the exact words she used to tell her story, but I will never forget that empty stare in her face as she related it.
During, what should have been her last morning in the village, the rebels came by. They demanded food. She said that Rafael, the head man, refused to get involved. He told them if they worked in the fields and stayed until mealtime they would be fed. The man fell to the floor before he had finished the sentence. A woman rushed to his aid. She was ordered back with another gunshot. After this the rebels were fed. Then they moved on.
The same afternoon the local death squad appeared. They came in civilian clothes with their faces masked. Someone, apparently had tipped them off about the villagers feeding the rebels. As soon as their truck had been sighted the people of the village fled into the fields. Ursula said that a woman grabbed her arm in haste and dragged her out of the hut and told her where to hide in the tomato garden.