Thursday, April 19, 2007

Being human

David and I were talking yesterday, about the horrific events in Virginia. I keep thinking about those lives, snuffed out by a sad and obviously disturbed young man, and am overwhelmed with sadness for all of the people who loved them. This event opens the door to my Fear Closet, the place where all of my deepest fears lie in wait (the door tends to open in the middle of the night, when I awake from a sound sleep), where I worry that something like this might happen where my beloved son attends college. It's usually easy to close the door to the Fear Closet, especially during the day, and I do so with great relief every time.

What we'd both thought, within moments of hearing about the carnage in Virginia, was that the loss of only 32 lives in one day would represent a good day in Iraq. It seems as if the number of innocent people killed in daily violence in that war-torn country escalates every day, at least according to the headlines in the Oregonian. If you think about it, we should be damned grateful that only 32 lives were lost to madness and hatred this week. We could, after all, be living in Iraq.

So where is the sadness and empathy for the husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children and grandchildren of each and every human life snuffed out in Iraq? Do you feel that every time you read a newspaper headline or watch the news on TV? To be honest, I didn't. As so often happens, I've become accustomed to these awful statistics, just as I did during the Vietnam War. I'm not proud to admit this, but sadly, it is true.

So here's my latest resolution: I will stop every morning, if even for a moment, and think about the people whose lives are ripped apart each and every day in Iraq, with love and compassion. As if they were Americans. As if they were just like us, human beings. What a concept, huh?


...deb said...

I was quite moved by this post. You make critically important points.

Revalani said...

Lib, Jer and I were talking about exactly this on our walk this morning. I deplore the loss of life at Virginia Tech, but holy shit, look at what's happening in Iraq every day. And if only our Prez felt the compassion for THOSE poor people that he expressed for those who died in Blacksburg, Virginia this week.

Libbi said...

And my hero, Jon Stewart, made the same comment in an interview the other night. For me, this is yet another example of how so many of us, inadvertently, turn other people into 2-dimensional beings, and assume that they don't experience life the way we do.