Cold War Bunker

Cold War Bunker

 I recently experienced something really unpleasant. In a narrow, steep alley, I met a man my age and his son who was maybe nine or ten years old. They were on their way up the alley and I was on my way down. At our inevitable meeting, the son suddenly lost his balance and fell to the ground right in front of me. I automatically bent down and lifted the boy up and when he was standing on firm legs again, I gave him a pat on one shoulder to sort of telling him that everything was ok. Then I continued down the alley.

But everything wasn’t ok.

After a short while, I heard how the father became completely furious with his son. First, he yelled so loud that it echoed between the house walls and then he started hitting his son with several hard blows on his boy’s little back. The boy received his father’s anger in silence. At least to begin with. But the barely audible moaning soon turned into loud, heartbreaking screams. It was awful to listen to and I’m ashamed that I didn’t turn around and stop the father’s brutal beatings.

I identified with the boy’s fate and was deeply touched by what had just happened. It took a long time before I regained my balance in mind and heart. I hoped the boy was comforted and loved by his mother or siblings. And that the father left him alone. Maybe the boy could sneak away and call a kind grandfather or grandmother. I can always hope.

The other day I read an analysis of Putin’s transformation from a pious, well-meaning leader with the aim of uniting Mother Russia with Europe into an angry and bloodthirsty tyrant. Nowhere in the analysis was a word about his childhood or how his relationship with his father or mother was. As if it would not affect Putin later in life.

The image above is from the entrance to a mountain bunker that the paranoid, Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha had built in the 1970s for himself, his family, and the country’s leading politburo. while I was there, the abused boy I had met and all the abused children in the world, were there with me underground. More images from the bunker can be seen here.