JUDY WOODRUFF: Trauma is a word we hear used to describe a range of experiences, from fleeing a war zone to being bullied at school. Author and journalist Aminatta Forna thinks the word is overused, and, in her Humble Opinion, it is time to find a new way of talking about terrible events.
AMINATTA FORNA, Author, Happiness: My cousin Morlai once told me how he was nearly shot at a checkpoint after being mistaken for a rebel during the civil war in Sierra Leone. In 1999, rebel forces invaded Freetown. Morlai was trying to reach home when he came upon the checkpoint. Men and women suspected of being rebel soldiers disguised as civilians were being separated from the crowd and taken aside for summary execution. Morlai's life was spared when one of the soldiers in the firing squad turned out to be a former pupil. I thought about the horror and relief of that moment. And then I said, well, you must have been a better teacher than a lot of mine. I caught Morlai's eye. We both began to laugh. I have thought about that exchange many times. How did my cousin go from such a shocking experience to being able to joke about it? My family has seen what feels like more than our share of painful, you might say traumatic, events. The murder of my father who was a political activist when I was 11, followed by 25 years of political oppression, 10 years of civil war and even an Ebola outbreak. I'm often asked whether I was traumatized by events, and I have to answer, truthfully, no. Over the years, I have written a great deal about people who have managed to endure events with the power to ruin lives, and this is what I have learned. The more a society tells you that you are irrevocably damaged by what has taken place, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The ability to shape your own narrative, rather than having others shape it for you, is ultimately what matters most. The power of the story lies in the hands of the storyteller. As a writer, I know this to be true. Almost any experience can be reshaped, any destiny re-imagined, if those who have lived it tell their own stories. Today, I look at the survivors of the Parkland high school shooting in Florida, and I see kids who have begun to write their own narrative. They wish to be seen, not as the victims of a killer, but the kids who changed a nation's gun laws, who transformed their vulnerability into strength. People who frame their experience within a wider context are often most capable of withstanding painful events. They rarely ask, why me, but rather see the world for the capricious and unfair place it can be, and they have a vision of their role in it. Individual temperament matters, but societal attitudes play a considerable role in shaping our responses. The suffering is real, but it may yet be withstood. And so the story of Morlai's life was never, "I am the man who nearly died for nothing." Rather, and in Morlai's own words, it is, I am the teacher whose student stepped forward to save my life.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Aminatta Forna, thank you very much.
1.step forward 上前一步
It is our firm conviction that a step forward has been taken
2.reach home 回家
We ought to be heading back if we want to reach home before dark.
3.separated from 分开
Tristan had been separated from his wife for two years.
4.joke about 开玩笑
If I hear one more joke about my hair, I shall scream
《幸福》作者阿敏娜妲·弗纳：我表弟莫来曾经告诉我，在塞拉利昂内战期间，他曾因被误认为是叛军，险些在边防关卡遭到枪杀 。1999年，叛军入侵弗里敦 。莫来那时正在回家途中，他走到了那个边防关卡 。被怀疑乔装为平民的叛军士兵被从人群中分开，并被带走执行简易处决 。莫来幸免于难，原来行刑队的一个士兵正是他原来的学生 。我思考了那一刻的恐怖和解脱 。然后我说，嗯，你一定比我的很多老师都要好 。我注视着莫来的眼睛 。我们俩都笑了起来 。关于那次交谈，我已经想了很多次了 。我表弟是如何做到，在经历如此令人震惊的事件后，还能以此开玩笑呢？我的家人已经亲眼见证了比我们更为痛苦，你可以说是创伤性的事件 。我11岁时，我的父亲被一个政治活动家杀害，接着我迎来了为期25年的政治压迫，10年内战，甚至还有埃博拉疫情 。经常有人问我，这些事件是否给我带来困扰，我必须如实回答，并没有 。这些年来，我写了很多关于人是如何成功度过那些经历，而它们有着足以毁灭生命的力量，这就是我所学到的 。一个社会越是告诉你，你已经被所发生的事情不可挽回地破坏掉了，它越是会变成一个自我实现的预言 。塑造你自己叙述事件的能力，而不是让别人为你塑造，这才是最最重要的 。故事的力量掌握在说书人的手中 。作为一个作家，我知道这是真的 。几乎所有的经历都可以被重塑，任何命运都可以被重新想象，如果那些曾经经历过的人讲述他们自己的故事 。今天，我看了在佛罗里达州帕克兰中学枪击事件中的幸存者，我看到孩子们已经开始撰写自己的故事了 。他们希望人们看到的是改变国家的枪支法律的孩子们，而不是一个凶手的受害者，他们把脆弱变成了力量 。能在更广泛背景下形成经验的人，往往最有经受痛苦事件的能力 。他们很少问，为什么是我 。相反，他们看到世界的反复无常和不公平的地方，并对自己在其中的角色有一个设想 。个人气质很重要，但社会态度在塑造我们的反应中也起着相当重要的作用 。苦难是真实的，但它可能经受住考验 。因此，莫来的人生故事，从来不是：“我是一个差点无谓死去的人 。”相反，用莫来自己的话说，我是一名老师，我的学生上前救了我的性命 。