Friday, March 30, 2007

The Last Thing

4 years ago, I don’t remember that exact date, but I was around this time, me, my brother and my mother were sitting at home. Listing to the sound of explosions, shaking with everyone of them. I was playing on my PC, I think the game was “Duke Nukem”. My mother and brother were sitting in the other room when they bombed Al-hakimiayh, the building where the Iraqi intelligence used to interrogate people. Our house was 2 blocks from that building, the sound was deafening, I literally flew up in the air, with the PC, for several seconds, then came back to the ground and continued playing like nothing happened. My mother on the other hand, was crying and shouting of fear. We took her to some relatives’ house, and came back home. My brother kept shouting at me and telling me that I’m crazy, emotionless, and his favorite, careless.
Well…. I’d like to think that I’m brave and fearless, but the truth is I am not. Not that I’m a coward, but at that particular moment I felt nothing, absolutely nothing. It all started in the first American led war against Iraqi, or maybe before that when we were children during the Iraq-Iran war. I remember seeing dead bodies of Iranian soldiers on the TV; I used to watch that program everyday.
I though I was immune to that carelessness, apathy, and indifference to other people pain, but lately, as news pf people dying all over the world, especially in my country, piles over piles of bodies, and everyday I feel less and less pain, I am less and less anguished, I am less and less disturbed by those images. I am beginning to be indifferent, and that scares more that anything else in the world. It scares because it takes away from me what makes me humane.
The ability to feel other people’s pain is what made me go on. I am not there, I can’t share your pain physically, I am not in Baghdad, but I can feel what they feel, I can understand, I can relate to them through their pain, I can’t do nothing for them from here, but I least it hurts when someone dies, at least there are some feelings.
The daily sufferings and the daily deaths of hundreds of people just used to make sick. But now…. I’m feeling less and less sick. And I am afraid.
I am afraid of becoming one of those people who just doesn't give a shit what happens, and it scares the living shit out of me. I am afraid that when someone dies I wont feel anything, I am afraid that I have lost my appreciation for life, my respect for death.
I am afraid that one day I would say what the hell, that one day I might even kill someone, not by bullets only but by words. I am afraid, and this scares the living shit out of me.
I am afraid that I’m going to start to put these horrible deaths in some context and not see them for what they really are. to put something into context is to say it can be understood, that it can be explained, that it can be explained away. 200 died today, 300 hundred yesterday, 100 hundred the day before that, etcetera, etcetera. Just to say etcetera is monstrous; it reduces the deaths to mere verbal abbreviations. Is this how I want to understand these crimes? Is this how we want to understand these crimes? Putting them in context? Some people do that, some people do put these crimes in proportion or in context, but my money says they didn't lose any relative or friend in one of these crimes.
They show us pictures, videos, reports, and everything else they could think of, just to make us used to it. At first you feel upset and maybe cry a little, after a while you are just upset, but after a long time (say… 4 years?) the victims cease to be people to you, these dead people are not humane beings who once where alive, they are just dead bodies. And the ones who killed them are not criminals, and the ones who defend and support them are doing it for the right reasons. All it takes is some getting used to, and they can alter our perception on what constitutes a crime, on what a crime really is. Is it a crime that six hundred thousand Iraqis are dead? It’s debatable. But it is a crime that 3000 American soldiers died. American public can not stand the though of caskets flying from Iraq containing their dead sons’ bodies, but they are indifferent about 600,000 Iraqis. They now want to withdraw from Iraq, not because they destroyed the country and failed to establish and form of democracy of freedom, and basically failed to accomplish any of their set goals before the invasion, they want to pull out because 3000 soldiers died.
That kind of humane being I don’t want to be, favoring one humane being over another. Thinking that the lives of some people are more valuable than that of others, and finally not caring how many people die from either side.
I am a humane, and when any humane is lost it’s a personal loss to me. And I want to keep feeling this way, because if I can’t do anything to help, at least I can feel something, at least I can refuse to feel OK about it.
They took my life, my future, my present, my past, my laughs and joys, my tears and sadness, and they came for what matters for me most, my humanity.
I am afraid that I am going to lose the last thing that attaches me to life. I am afraid I am scared that one day I going to say “what the hell?” I am afraid that I won’t be humane anymore.