Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Debridement of a Wound in order to Heal

"A society without memory will obediently play into the hands of any demagogue; people in such a society are no better than nuts and bolts in the state machine.  They are worthless slaves to an inhumane ideology that promises everyone happiness.  However horrible the past may have been, forgetting it would make the future even worse."   Memorial website

Beginning in 1987, Memorial has led the struggle for full rehabilitation of victims of political repression in the USSR; Memorial's human rights work includes the public recognition of innocent persons and a public apology to them from the state.   Memorial and its founder Svetlana Gannushkina have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize... and some believe that this will be the winner for 2011.
Their task is not to teach society, but to find the facts, collect them, contemplate them, and to publish them.  To date, more than 50 “Books of Memory” and lists of executed victims have been published in different regions of Russia and originals are being stored in the Memorial  library in Moscow, showcasing the uncomfortable truth about about communist terror and the Soviet governments attempt to conceal the extermination and persecution of millions of people.
     Following the footsteps of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,  йmigrй and Western researchers, the activists of Memorial collected documents and memoirs, transcribed oral testimony, and undertook expeditions to the sites of camps and deportation.  Tens of thousands of people – former convicts, their relatives and friends – gave Memorial their materials on their own initiative now  archived.  The collections include hundreds of works of art by prisoners, which bear witness to the life in the camps.  

"How can one find the truth in a world full of lies that obstruct our history?  And it is it worth trying?  It is, after all, easy to live in a nice and simple world of illusions.  The reality of history does not lend comfort, does not lead to success and prosperity, but rather complicates everything.  It creates problems of guilt and responsibility, opens old wounds, and awakes shame..." 

Reading about Memorial reminds me of the Gandhi quote: 
"An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propogation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it."  

My thoughts: Only after a thorough debridement of a wound will a person ever be able to heal completely. And society can't become well until it's communities and citizens are truly healthy first.  Truth-telling is a painful process, like cleaning an ulcer on a Diabetic foot, but it performs several useful & needed purposes because it
1) Enables the true dimensions of the wound to be seen  -- which allows a more-informed treatment plan
2) Drains and removes dead tissue --which rendering infection less likely to occur
3) Enables a deep swab to be taken for tests -- which measures progress
4) Removes the surrounding callus -- which prevents it from catching on the dressing, a known cause for more tissue trauma.
The deep, infected wounds are caused by the systemic disease of ongoing generational trauma.  As a society we need to expose the initial filth, scrub it and let the wound breathe.  But we must address the cause of the wound.    Treating only the visible symptoms will not truly make the person well- just like if the doctor would treat the patient's ulcer without treating the diabetes.  

 As a caregiver, our eyes won't be dry as we hear the cries of the person going through this emotional debridement -- anymore than I would enjoy scrubbing the gravel out of  my son's shredded knee.  Trained Neutrals will be needed to help skillfully guide the debridement.  Memorial helps me remain optimistic that over time as the salve is applied and as we pray together that true healing will come.