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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Guilt - American Style


There rests within me a quiet guilt today. I woke to a peaceful neighborhood. If there were noises they were so benign as to leave no memorable footprints in my mind.

The drive to work was no more challenging than most. Perhaps even better. No major traffic backups on the highway.

My workplace was standing. This, I realize is not a normal part of fantasy of many people, but I realized that in some parts of the world, I might not have waken to tranquility but rather sit up all night listening for the sounds of explosions and how close they might be. If I ventured out at daylight, roads may well have been difficult to navigate with ease. My work place might or might not be standing. Even if it were, commerce as we normally know it would be non-existent.

Americans were horrified at 9-11. Most of us cannot recall what it was like when Pearl Harbor was attacked and even those that are old enough likely do not feel the intensity of it, unless they were present during the attack. Americans are richly blessed in that we have not realized the real horror of war when it is on our home front. Even as bloody as the Civil War was here on our home soil, it was domestic and not a foreign country invading.

So we see the fighting on television that is occurring in Iraq or between Israel and Lebanon and we accept it as thought it were just another occurrence like a space shuttle launch. After a while you forget it is going on.

I wonder if there is an aspect of visual imagery that is easier to become immune to than that or word imagery? If I see a picture of a bombed out apartment building flash before me on television screen, do I find it less disturbing than if I read a written account and have to construct the images myself?

And then I also wonder if Americans are more desensitizing to such images as civilian war casualties that people in other countries?

I do think that mankind must recollect such things as war and death and famine - those things that devastate humanity, and we must do it in writing. It is an obligation that we havde to remind future generations.

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