Nothing relates to me more now today than Jose Arcadio Segundo walking to his home after the fictionalized banana massacre, whispering to himself “there were three-thousand of them, I’m sure now that they were everybody who had been at the station.” He dug so deeply into his sentiments to find an answer, and a way to preserve the memory of those lost both to time and to the memory of his fellow men, that he had isolated himself into a deep solitude and found no conclusion. Nothing makes more sense to me than Aureliano Babilonia watching his newborn son being carried off by ants and finally witnessing the genius in Melquiades’ parchments as he recalled the first of the line being tied to the tree and the last being eaten by ants, and the lucidity that came with the brutal honesty and the destruction of the veil of ignorance that came with it, deciphering the ancient texts just as a hurricane destroyed every sign of his existence.
Why is “One Hundred Years of Solitude” more relatable now than ever before?
Because in an era driven by war, hatred, and disease, there’s one fact that we’ve neglected; there is always something left to love.
Yes. Massacres, wars, and racism have torn the world apart. We live on college campuses where we discriminate between groups subconsciously, sometimes even outwardly, and we sustain a life where we retreat into solitudes and wait for things to change but they only get worse.
And the massacre in Vegas is the perfect example of that.
We were silent and waited for some kind of change, and then Paddock killed fifty-eight people. If Jose Arcadio Segundo had been there, he would have awoken amidst the blood and the decay and whisper to himself “there were fifty-eight of them, I’m sure now that they were everyone at the Route 91 Harvest music festival.”
And it all boils down to the struggle between Liberals and Conservatives, an unspoken struggle fought not on battlefields but in courtrooms and senates. Name any one political issue, and more likely than not, the two groups disagree. Gun control, immigration, education reform, just to name a few, are among some of the many disagreements the two parties have that eventually lead to the massacres, fought over thirty-two stories in a desert and leaving fifty-eight dead and five-hundred injured.
We live in a world where technological advancements always leave us baffled, and the alchemists and scientists and the gypsies behind the names of corporations work magic to produce phones from plastic, glass, and aluminum. And at the same time, we wage wars for reasons we can never remember.
“’Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?’
‘What other reason could there be?’ Colonel Gerineldo Marquez answered. ‘For the great Liberal party.’
‘You're lucky because you know why,’ he answered. ‘As far as I'm concerned, I've come to realize only just now that I'm fighting because of pride.’
‘That's bad,’ Colonel Gerineldo Marquez said.
Colonel Aureliano Buendia was amused at his alarm. ‘Naturally,’ he said. ‘But in any case, it's better than not knowing why you're fighting.’ He looked him in the eyes and added with a smile:
‘Or fighting, like you, for something that doesn't have any meaning for anyone.’”
Why do we wage wars? Why did the Las Vegas massacre happen? Was it for some political motive, or for vengeance against another? Do we wage wars because we don’t know what we fight for? Or do we fight for reasons that have no meaning to anyone?
“Time was not passing; it was turning in a circle.”
We may never know the motives behind last week’s attack; maybe there was something real, something there, that we missed. Or maybe Paddock was killing for something that has no meaning for anyone. It won’t be long before something like this happens again. Of course, it’s horrible, but what’s there for us to do except watch time turn in the inevitable circle. And everything we ever do will eventually become unrepeatable for time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to lifetimes of solitude will not receive a second opportunity on Earth.
The world is cruel. The world is wicked. Full of hate and suffering but also love and kindness. Even in the aftermath of such a horrendous incident, the victims are now idolized as heroes; as martyrs in the face if cruelty. People devoted time and effort to memorials and vigils for those who are lost. Communities came together in solidarity and in a moment of empathic rage towards the injustice that death had brought.
But just remember that in this world full of hate and confusion, there is always something left to love.