Under my skin a boundary

I listen carefully to an address to the young cadets,


Find out how youth your age, in your home village, paid the price with their lives...


The plea to remember the sacrifice brings me home, home to why I am standing there. “Here we go”, I think to myself and grin, as if I was outside of this story. The cadets face the grave, which looks like an excessively large resting place. I bring myself back to present from a state of drifting, and try to listen to what is being said,


love for the fatherland

the most valuable gift to the fatherland 


I get a bit teary-eyed. I am, after all, written in this story. It is our shared national memory. We are not allowed to forget. The imminence of death, so much at stake, and the romantic idea of something greater than me. I recognise an oral history and a popular imagery of clichés which gave birth to the soldier and the militarised state, yet I am neither appalled nor even judging. Rather, something tickles my insides. As a subject I become invested in these particular structures (Ahmed 2004, 12) which, in this case, means the state and its military constituents.

During the day, and the months to come, I live this paradox. I believe I am above these military fantasies, but they fascinate me. During the autumn of 2018 when I observe their classes and conduct interviews, I judge the cadets for their values and beliefs that prioritise military solutions. But the more I speak with them, the less I can judge them. Until someone says something outrageously militant, and I am flabbergasted. Until someone says something beautiful, and I am moved. I am engaged in their performance. I feel the world of military bodies in my own muscles tensing, breathing changing and heart racing, whether I like it or not. I see a community in the making, and I see my own homecoming.  

When I observe the cadets move according to their script – straightening their backs, heads turning to the right, and at ease – I play that script in my body as if I was doing the movements. In fact, I have done it countless times.

[…] the brain can simulate, within somatosensing regions, certain body states, as if they were occurring  (Damasio 2010, 101).