Wednesday, December 9, 2009

War on Apathy

I know a few people who have come back from Iraq or Afghanistan. I know people who are currently somewhere in the desert. I’m taking a class where the majority of the population is Arab, including the teacher. We watch videos about the Iraq-Iran war, the negotiations between Palestine and Israel. I’ve studied how we, the US, have intervened for good, and for bad.

In another class, we talk about the global efforts for one group or another. Social justice and being critical in how we receive information.

In yet another class, we focus heavily on the civil rights, women’s rights and Vietnam War.

That’s all very nice. I look around the classes and I see glazed over expressions and people doing other classes homework. All this information is being thrown at us, but not sinking in. We’ve become desensitized to school. This isn’t such a shock, really. But school isn’t the only thing we’ve become desensitized to. We’ve also become highly desensitized to war.

War is ugly. It’s revolting. It’s sickening. I’ve seen video footage from Al-Jazeera and from Vietnam. Blood everywhere. Sobbing mothers hunched over the bodies of innocent children. Bloody mobs with political lynching’s. Bombs drooped on tanks, people, and buildings. Not to mention the ruthless justification of the generals and presidents in charge.

Currently the United States is involved in war. Do you know how long it’s been going on? Seven years. For seven years we’ve been in the Middle East. I don’t care if you agree with the war or not, that’s not the point. The point is, we live in an economy where we can ignore the war we are in the very middle of. The people of Iraq can’t ignore it. They don’t get to sit around debating Jessica Simpson’s love life. They don’t even have the luxury of debating the war and whether it’s right or wrong. Frankly, who cares? The point is, we’re there.

Close your eyes and imagine it. Imagine going outside and seeing a military raid going on in the house across from you. Imagine walking to get water, and passing hordes of armed soldiers. Do you know what the rumble of a passing tank feels like? Can you hear the jets that daily pass your house? I have no idea what any of that is like. And that feels wrong to me.

I think the only American’s who feel the sting of war are the men and women who come back (obviously) and their families. I don’t have a solution and I can’t pinpoint the exact problem. But, I’m starting to see that we can not continue to live without feeling something for the people who do see the daily effects of war. It doesn’t matter if you agree that the war is necessary or not, what matters is being there for the people in the middle of it when they come home. And for their families if they don’t.