Saturday, June 10, 2006

How Are We Different From Them?

There is no clearer example of how much we have lost of our humanity than to watch the cheering squads of death celebrate the killing of the latest scary guy of the week. Leaving aside the politics that demand we live in constant fear so papa government can kill in our names under the guise of protecting us, and conspiracy theories that claim this latest boogie man was created in a Pentagon basement movie studio. Or that he was no better than a street urchin blown into mythic proportions by a government who needs big bad guys to continue killing in our name. Or that he was an umbrella man that all the Iraqis who want us the hell out of their country can be swept under when they dare to complain or criticize the occupiers of their land.

If you set all that aside, the question still remains, what the hell is wrong with people that death has become something to celebrate? Isn't that the kind of mentality our own troops are supposedly dying to stop? What separates us from the monsters if our own behavior is no different than theirs? Has it been that long that we were outraged by scenes on television (later rumored to be staged by our own government) of children dancing in the streets celebrating the destruction of the Towers?

At the time, before our sophistication grew enough to recognize propaganda, we discussed the social meaning of such a terrible scene. We were told these children were not raised in a democracy, they were some horrible splinter cult religion, their parents who danced along with them were blood-thirsty terrorists who cared nothing about human life. We were told how awful these people were we put on display to shame and humiliate, we were told they deserved to be tortured them because they did not deserve to be treated as human beings.

We were portrayed as the good guys while committing the acts and atrocities of the bad guys on television for everyone to see but not see. Because if we looked too closely, if we started to question what the difference was in how we treated them and they treated us, if we began to feel a bit queasy over it all, then we were accused of being traitors, of abetting the enemy, of being cowards.

And then so much time went by that our voices became useless. The time to speak up is at the first death because by the second the scabs start to form, the excuses start to form, the inner nausea becomes something that must constantly be pushed back.

We start to laugh at the obvious propaganda put out by the Pentagon instead of being outraged by it. We laugh over Bush the Idiot instead of paying too much attention to Bush the Religious Fanatic on a mission for the voices in his head. We look away from the blood, from the excuses, from the rising death toll. We stop looking because it hurts too much to see what we have allowed to happen with our silence, our fear, our misplaced patriotism and loyalty.

It grows in us, a giant and bloody fever. An ache that won't subside. A shame that lies between us but is never acknowledged. All feelings are pushed down. Denial becomes the word of the day.

And then a body is dragged before us. This is the face of the enemy, we are told. Go ahead, you can touch it. Just like that, give it a little nudge. Don't be afraid to kick it. Beat it a little. Let out sounds as you do so. Scream when it gets too close to tears. Cheer when the disgust threatens to bring up breakfast.

And then turn on the tv, read the newspapers, hear the radio hatemongers who know about your shame, your distaste over this whole matter of death. It is they who make certain the music gets turned up, the volume on the rhetoric becomes ear-splitting, the bands march and the crowds in the stadium cheer...for Nero, for Hitler, for Stalin, for Mussolini, for Bush, for all of them...all the killers who knew how to make the crowd cheer the killings so they wouldn't feel anything remotely resembling a conscience.

If we cheer these deaths, these government sponsored assassinations of monsters created and fed by our own government, how are we different from them? How can we continue to claim a humanity we no longer possess? How can we ever judge another for the crimes we have committed alongside them with our silence?

(One World design from Ursine Logic )

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