Thu 3 Mar 2011
“…lift up your hearts, all will come right. Out of depths of sorrow and sacrifice will be born again the glory of mankind…”
PRIME MINISTER WINSTON CHURCHILL’S SPEECH TO THE ALLIED DELEGATES
St. James’s Place, London, June 12, 1941
I’ve been thinking about my Libyan friend Ish’s family the last couple weeks. Finally, a promise of freedom from oppression but at a steep price. As the daily death toll mounts in the Libyan countryside I can only hope that they come through unscathed.
As regimes topple across Africa and the Middle-East, the reaction here seems so mild. Our country has become so inured to war this last decade. Televised death in the streets seems so commonplace that coverage of a sitcom star’s foibles far outpaces that of the misery of millions.
As conflict spreads, tensions mount, I find the ever quiet acceptance by so many of my fellow citizens to a near permanent condition of war more and more troubling.
How is it our nation barely acknowledged June 7th, 2010, the day our fight in Afghanistan became the longest running war in our nation’s history? How is it that the spread of terror from the air to Yemen and Pakistan – along with its attendant “collateral damage” – passes without note or bare opposition? How can we stand by while 9 children and hundreds and thousands of other civilians are killed pursuing a hopeless and worthless goal while millions more suffer here and abroad due to our country’s crazy posturing?
So many accept the false reality that conflict “there” means safety “here”. There can be no safety without justice. There can be no justice without compassion. There is no true compassion while we bomb and maim and kill so many for so little cause.
It’s such a sad mess that I feel many of us are immobilized. We find it easier to ignore than to rage at the machine.
Today was a particularly bad day for our country as we accepted responsibility for those 9 deaths.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of our and NATO forces said “These deaths should never have happened” and we were “deeply sorry for this tragedy.”
Yes, it should have never happened because the war should have never happened. It was a fool’s errand nearly a decade ago and it is doubly so now.
The death of 4 children in Birmingham 1963 was a turning point in our country’s pursuit of social justice. Innocent bystanders leveled by hate and fear spurred a re-examination of our country’s conscience. For many, it was a call to arms – to take up a struggle they long ignored.
But that was a different era and a different country.
Nine more children dead in Afghanistan won’t turn this country away from war.
I wonder, especially today, what, if anything, will.