What do these texts suggest to you about an individual’s capacity for self-sacrifice in the face of compelling circumstances? Support your ideals with references to one or more of the texts presented and to your previous knowledge and/or experience.
responding to excerpt from Julia
writing in journal entries from the perspective of a man who safeguards two children from a corrupt state.
Of course it never is easy hiding secrets, keeping them locked away is a dangerous game, and having them found can mean life or death in certain circumstances; especially of those secrets are living and breathing. Protecting these secrets is also risky business; to cover up one lie you must tell one hundred more. However sometimes it is worth the risk, letting your conscience dictate your actions rather than fear of death; especially when your fear of death may result in another’s untimely demise. Knowing that through your bold actions and risk taking you may be able to save the lives of a few innocents was enough to have some people follow the same path as me, hence we had all become a secret society; secrecy from the state and each other, we were alone yet we were many.
One night I was awoken by a terrible sound, first glass breaks from the shop across the street, then my heart, then the gruff shouting of a man orchestrated the rest of the event.
They had found one of us.
I was too afraid to look out the window, however the sounds of the event had done enough.
The pleading of a man and the crying of his son followed by their protectors, arguing and fighting with the soldiers in order to save them. Valiant but in vain. It all ended with two loud bangs, and the sound of a car driving away. The refugees had been taken. The next morning there were blood stains of the protectors on the cobblestones next to the the looted shop. It was an example of what was to come for each and every one of us. Hiding those who did not belong in this world; in their world.
My fear was immeasurable, my hand still shakes as I write this note, however my fear is absolutely nothing, it pales in comparison to how mortified these refugees must feel. It wasn’t only those protectors that those soldiers had killed that night. All who were awoken and aware of the event had also witnessed the assassination of trust; its screams and shouts for help were its last words. Trust’s blood is now spilled on cobblestones.
I remember a more pleasant time in this life. I was able to freely run around the streets with my playmates and friends we were able to go as far as our mothers had said we could and had adventures that had lasted days and hours. Laughter had filled the air and the sun never felt warmer, when it rained we pretended that we were explorers, soaking wet with gaiety. The town itself, we lived like family, held festivals annually, and when a bride was wed to her groom, every individual was present at the event. We had lived as a community and family. Those pleasant times are gone. It is rather sad to say that no one can afford to trust his best friend anymore, people who were playmates in their childhood are now strangers or enemies; for just a few more coins in his pocket and some extra food on his plate a man is willing to sell out his brother who happens to hide refugees. They had made vultures out of us, we were predators and victims; this was their plan. No man would associate with his neighbour anymore unless he wanted to know something about them.
My secret is that I hide I a boy and a small girl, he is nine years old, and she is four..
I had found them not too long ago. It has been since then that I have started recording these entries in this journal.They were fending for themselves when I happened to take them in.To be more specific I found the boy at the common marketplace stealing some bread and meat from a shopkeeper that happened to have his head turned. I saw the desperation in his eyes that day and felt the coldness he felt; I had never seen a child with the same look on the face as he did. However when I followed him later on that afternoon I found that he did not take the bread and meat for himself, he whispered into what was a basket and out came a girl. He did not eat.
He is not as happy as I was, he is not as cheerful, though that is justified; fleeing a nation that had killed his old way of life, only to flee to another seeking to kill him, and on top of it all, seeing to the security of this girl. Living on the streets with death waiting at every corner. He inspired me to take them both in my home, I felt that the boy deserved a better life than this, even if he would have to live confined to my basement. I promised him safety, and the possibility of a better life in the future.
Both the children’s presence is a grim reminder of the danger of their existence, one misstep and all of us land up as bloodstains on my front doorstep. As selfish as this is I always wonder why I place myself in jeopardy for the lives of two children I am not related to that could also be very well the death of me; logically speaking I am risking three lives, when by mere avoidance I could have guaranteed the security of my own. Perhaps it is just a kind and irrational part of every human heart, to aid those who need a hand to hold in the darkness. Yes, that’s it, it would be a small spark of defiance that every protector holds in their hearts and lives day by day as if a sword does not hand over their head with a loose thread. A spark that one day will ignite a fire to burn away all of our sorrows and out of the ashes bring back those days of sunshine and laughter.
The girl and I get along well, perhaps she needed a father figure, the boy still remains aloof and brooding. His innocence is dead, perhaps a stray bullet may have shot it. He does not sit to eat with us at mealtimes, instead he comes after the girl and I have left.
“Why do you do this?” Is a question the boy frequently asks me.
“Why would you risk your life for me and her? Isn’t it easier just to live by yourself? Those men with the guns won’t be a threat to you then, the won’t hurt you, like they did to my family.”
Each time I cannot find the words. He’s correct in every way, I am risking more than myself by taking this gamble.
Why do I do this, it is against the law.
However I protect him because he has no other place to go; it is the right thing to do, I tell myself that I cannot sit idly by and watch as humans kill each other just because someone thinks that they should not belong. Our old way of life would not conceive such a notion, an orphan was welcome to any household that was capable of supporting them. By saving this boy I am potentially sacrificing a lot of things beyond myself and my security. By protecting him I protect what could be the last remnant piece of human kindness and compassion in this part of the world, by letting him go and the girl, I would be giving in to selfishness. I want him to be able to experience all that I had gone through when I was a child, even if that does not happen I want him to live life witnessing the world’s beauty. I wish to see him smile, just as the girl does when I bring them toys that I produce from my coat. I want him to live at peace knowing that a gun is not pointed at his head. I know that I am directly disobeying the law, however that is better than directly disobeying one’s morals, when we do that, we become exactly what our oppressors want us to become. Perhaps it is an foolish notion, that I chose to save another only risking my own. Only time will tell. Of all the secrets I guard, Human kindness is the one I most viciously protect, and the welfare of these children, my children depends on it.