Monday, August 15, 2011
The Power of the (Hand)Written Word
Through conflicts, disasters, terminal illness and suicides, there have always been moments when all that is left is to find the words to reach out to our loved ones. There have been letters from soldiers for as long as there have been wars. Holocaust victims often dropped letters from transport trains in the hopes that they would somehow reach their loved ones. Most of the victims of the Sago Mine disaster and the sailors on the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk were found with some farewell words in their pockets. In 2007 the final letter from Antarctic explorer Robert Scott who died along with other of his expedition members back in 1912 was made public. How powerful, how personal, how provocative these final attempts to communicate all are! What else do we have but words?
For further reading I recommend Lasts Letters to Loved Ones by Rose Rouse, and Final Letters: From Victims of the Holocaust by Reuvin Dafni