When I was fourteen years old, living in Alberta, I read Orwell. It was 1984 (the year, the book) and the convergence in title and time convinced me of two things. First, that history is not history, and the future is already here. Second, that I may be personally charged with remembering: with living, and giving testimony.
The Americans were testing long range cruise missiles at the Cold Lake Air Force Base and the year before, I had made a petition in protest. Every day after school, I walked door to door looking for other teenagers to sign. Eventually the petition went all over the province and I sent it to Ottawa. I wish I had the letter that I received from the Prime Minister. I remember tucking it in a box in the closet and then never seeing it again. But in any case you can imagine the response. Thank you, we assure you, we wish you well.
I woke remembering this, and Googled to find accounts of how close the US, Britain and Russia came, over 10 days on November 1983, to reaching mutually assured destruction. Operation Able Archer.
Most of the time, I forget that I grew up in the tail end of the Cold War. Kids today also grow up in fear of human annihilation. I decided to become a violist, then a historian of science, then an improviser, then an ethnographer, a cartographer of global flows of power and control, as heard in music. I don't know how to end this scattered morning thought, but I guess I just wanted to sound this out to my younger friends. In Morse Code: "Good morning", "Fine business", "Over". .
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