Saturday, December 17, 2005

"Pray For Us"

What is the worth of being able to vote after living for decades under a totalitarian regime?

What is it worth not to go to sleep to the sounds of bombs and gunshots?

What is the worth of having clean drinking water, straight out of a tap, even though you have no idea where it comes from?

What is the worth of knowing that your family will be safe tonight, that you can hear your loved one breathing beside you, that you know that no one will break in to kidnap you or take you off to be questioned and tortured?

These are questions I rethink as I read Carolyn Hawley's reminisces of living and reporting in Iraq. She is the BBC correspondent, who now leaves that place to go to the Middle East, where she will continue her work.

This article is insightful and balanced, with subtitles ranging from "struggling" to "targets". The categories of people she talks of are all very different kinds of "targets", yet there is "relief" and "optimism" as well. I suppose in those spaces, we turn our weapons away from each other, and merely consider each other human. Only a yearning soul can have the subjectivity enough to have optimism at such a dismal situation.

It relates the brutality and utter defenselessness of Iraqi civilians, caught in a battle over power dynamics between the old Hussein Regime, and the occupying forces, the racism of the soldiers themselves, and the vulnerability of them all to deception and violence.

Earlier tonight, I spent time catching up on old music tastes, learning how to play the song "Wake me up When September Ends" by Green Day, a video that plays out the story of a young soldier going off to war, leaving behind his girlfriend who said she would always love him. It provokes angre in me, because I know that despite hating what men and women with semi-automatic weapons can do, I still feel sympathy for them, and their motives for doing it. Before he left, he told her he always wanted to remember that moment because you get to a point in life when all your memories and desires are wiped away, gone, and so I suppose that that is the significance of September, or any month you want to get through, because you cannot bear the memory of the loss it reminds you of.

Let us look forward now as the holidays are here, to hope that others may have the same chance to focus on holidays, or that they can even maintain a livelihood enough at all to celebrate anything.

Filed under News Reviews


Blogger Lorena said...

this is such a warm thought. i never saw the video for that song. (lately i've been thinking of how i haven't see the majority of the videos to my favorite songs and it's a good idea to see the visual image behind the song) anyhow, i sympathize with your feeling.

the message behind "love actually" film (did you see it) is that Christmas is a time to tell those you love how you feel. i think it's a great idea. definitely helps us to appreciate each other.

(sorry for the rambling)

3:42 p.m.  

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