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columbus represent

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Difference?

I've been having a hard time getting my mind around what happened at Virginia Tech, how our Country has been collectively grieving, and how this all relates to what is happening, and what we have ignited in Iraq. On the one hand, my heart aches deeply for the families of the victims of this utterly disturbing individual. I know the pain of senselessly losing someone you love to an act of purposeless hatred and violence. I know that we all are in pain from what happened in that quiet town in Virginia. We feel deeply for what happened and collectively ask ourselves: "Why?"
But how do I link the outpouring of humanity and love and solidarity with the victims and their families, with the (for the most part) lack of that same thing for innocent lives lost en masse, daily, hourly, in Iraq? It could be said that we know Virginia, or places just like it. We could see that being ourselves, or our loved ones. That is not so easy to imagine when its people who live half way across the world. Someplace whose streets we have never roamed, whose universities we have never studied in, whose cafes and record stores we haven't perused. We tell ourselves: it is different. "I can't understand that, because it is so different from me. Everything about it is different. I don't know what its like to live in a war zone, I don't know what its like to lose 17 members of my family and be left orphaned. Therefore, it is different. The pain must be different, the feelings inside of the people experiencing this must be different."
But it is not.
I think many of us have imagined over the past few weeks what it must have been like for those terrified students in Virginia. Going about their daily grind, wiping sleep from their eyes, downing that first cup of coffee and settling in for another lecture, then........... I think we've imagined the fear, the panic, the confusion, the "Oh my God, this is happening" feeling that students must have been feeling.  But how many of us have thought of those in Iraq, that same day, getting up, eating breakfast, getting that first cup of coffee, jumping on the bus to get to work, or to the store, or to hang out with friends, or to go to school and then...........
It is not because we don't care. It is not because we just don't like brown people, or A-rabs. It's because we think it is different. How could we go on if we thought of it any other way? How could we function, and live our lives if we realized, fully and truly in our hearts, that what happens every day, and has been happening for years now, is the same. This pain, is the pain we would feel. No different. Just more tragic perhaps because the world isn't holding candle light vigils for the innocent civilians, just like you and me, who are caught in this awful, incomprehensible cross fire. What if no one mourned with us after 9/11? What if the world turned its back in indifference and numbness? But they didn't. So why should we? Can we do differently? I honestly don't know. I know that it is hard for me to function on a daily basis thinking about what is happening. If I truly let it in, I would be paralyzed. Then what? I'm still at a loss for what to say, how to react, how to make a difference. But all I know, is that a family's pain half way across the world, is no different from mine.

Pass It On


Blogger iomi said...

Thank you for writing this.

6:06 AM


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