This Train Won’t Go Anywhere


Don’t be fooled by the fancy sepia effect: I took this picture only 3 years ago. Those wagons were kept in some humid depot for several decades, and got rusty. Now they’ve been moved to a parking and wrapped in plastic tarpaulin, so that they can deteriorate even more. However, a couple of them has been restored. These relics means a lot to my fellow citizens.

There used to be a railway connecting the Banana Republic to Disco Beach and the rest of the world. It was in service for only twelve years before being wrecked by a heavy bombardment by the Allies who were chasing the Nazis along the gothic line, towards the end of World War II. Its final ride was in 1944 and carried refugees from Disco Beach and the surrounding area. They largely outnumbered the population, yet they were fed and accommodated in houses and train tunnels, where they waited for hell to break loose, crammed together with the locals. The naive inhabitants had even marked state borders and roofs with giant white crosses as a reminder of the country’s neutrality to be seen from above, but it was useless. About 200 civilians died in the bombings, but an amazing 100.000 refugees survived.

This is solidarity. This is what the generous Bananese did for the foreigners from a neighboring country. About 60 years later, as a sign of gratitude, the same country put the Republic under financial embargo. It’s good that the wagons are being kept for the future generations: it’s a remarkable reminder of how history teaches us nothing.

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