Sometimes You Win And Sometimes You Lose

As these myriad examples show — sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Yet nothing can serve as an excuse for giving up the struggle to provide something of value regardless of the way that life personally turns out for oneself in my opinion.

This first account I heard from some USA National Public Radio (NPR) program while driving in my daughter’s car some years ago. Since some of these scenarios are old in my memory, I might have some small details wrong. However, they would be inconsequential ones — such as whether a rope was tied to a tree or a bush.

This first narrative is a success story. A woman was caught fleeing in a war zone in Asia with her two children. She was caught by a commando.

Using his machine gun pointed at her and her children to get her to obey, he sat her in a chair on a steep hill overlooking and not far from a cliff. Then he tied a rope around the waist of each of her children in order to dangle them over  the cliff. Then he tied another rope to a tree and put the end of it in her hand while she was still seated in the chair. Afterwards, he put the two ropes for her children in her other hand and pushed them over the cliff with the idea that, eventually, all three would fall over the cliff to death.

Yes, the idea  was that without food and water, she’d eventually have to let go of the rope holding her in place and slide with her children to death over the cliff.  It was supposedly just a matter of time especially since she couldn’t sleep or she may let go of the lines while dozing.

Clever woman that she was, she convinced her guard that she could provide a huge ransom for herself and her children from a wealthy friend of hers if he were to let them go and trudge with them to the home of the wealthy friend.

The allurement of the money was just too much temptation for him to forgo. So he yanked up the two children from over the rocky edge and the four of them — the children, the mother and himself — all trudged to the location wherein her so-called wealthy pal lived.

When the guard was napping, she DID manage to escape with the children. She and they did manage to survive the war and she went onward in life to become a human rights advocate.


My second account is not so favorable as the last one. It’s when you have to choose between your two children for only one of them to stay alive and it doesn’t work out anyway for either of them, although you, yourself, manage to stay alive.

Here: you can read about it, yourself, It is a fiction, but could well be true. I know so since I am aware of similar actual accounts that have taken place, ones well documented, for example in the book and movie called “Shoah” and the documentary, “The Sorrow and the Pity.”

Sophie’s Choice | “The Choice” – YouTube

Nov 22, 2010 – Uploaded by TheFunFlicks

Pivotal flashback scene from the film SOPHIE’S CHOICE (1982) starring Meryl Streep. SPOILER ALERT …

‘Sophie’s Choice’: The story behind that haunting scene |

Apr 25, 2014 – Anyone who’s seen Sophie’s Choice knows the scene. A frightened Polish mother stands in line for the German concentration camps,…

Watch Sophie’s Choice Online | Watch Full Sophie’s Choice (1982 …

Watch Sophie’s Choice Online | sophie’s choice | Sophie’s Choice (1982) | Director: Alan J. Pakula …


A similar account, but with a different ending is something that happened in one of the African warring nations. Two young sons with their mother were fleeing from rebels across a river and were caught by one of them with a big fat machine gun filled with bullets.

The rebel told the boys that they needed to kick and beat their mother to death or they all three would be killed. So the mother told them to do it — beat and kick her to death in order to stay alive — and they did so.

Then they were placed in a rebel camp and told to shoot other innocent civilians or be killed, themselves. So they did as told.

Eventually one brother died in the fighting, but the other survived and was “rescued.” However, he could never be normal mentally after all that he had witnessed and that he had personally done to survive. How could it be otherwise?
Image result for children soldiers with machine guns congo image
Image result for children soldiers with machine guns congo image


Sometimes outcomes are mixed in results. For example there was a village under siege in either Central or South America. The rebels rounded up all of the occupants of the village into a church or a school.

Anyone who escaped into the farm fields around the village from the confinement place was immediately mowed down and left as a body to rot in the field. The rest were forced to leave the building and lined up to be thrown into a deep well while alive … one after the other … except for … one.

He was a blue eyed, four year old — the only blue eyed child in the village. The commandant had been attracted to him and wanted to dispel notions in his family that he was a homosexual. So he brought the boy to his mother, said that he was the boy’s father with a prostitute and ordered his mother to tend the boy, which she did.

Shortly after this event happened, the boy’s biological father, who had been away on a business trip, returned to the village to find it empty of people. SO he eventually left for the USA (Massachusetts) and started a new family with a new wife.

Yet sometimes history has a way of catching up with you. … His second wife had died and he lived with two sons.

Then he gets a call one day that a third son of his was found, the one from the village and would he like to talk with him on the phone? This was the work of a human rights organization that had researched the village’s history.

The whole affair was awkward and sad since for years the eldest son thought that he was the murderous butcher’s child, whom his monstrous father pretended was his own flesh and blood to cover for his homosexuality — a big sexually deviant no-no in his particular society.

So be it. At least this one child managed to stay alive. It is better than nothing.

This child was eventually brought to the USA and reunited with his two half-brothers and his blue eyed  father. He now lives here in my state according to this other NPR exposé also shared by my daughter with me.

Let’s be clear. I am not sharing these visions to be lurid. Instead it is because we all face situations in life like “Sophie’s Choice.” We all have a choice to go to “the ugly, unconscionable side of ourselves or we can honor our better natures and strive our best effort forward to be helpful, compassionate and clever, as was that mother in the Asian factual account.

Hopefully enough of us can choose this second course of action to turn much of this whole mess that so many in the world face to a better and kinder place. If not, woe onto us!


Image result for devil on one shoulder and angle on the other image

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.


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