Oops, I didn't blog about Thanksgiving yesterday. It's easy to forget the holiday when no one even mentions it here, and I did not so much as come across another American the entire day. My parents didn't even email me!
It's also difficult to focus on turkey and cranberry when yesterday was the bloodiest day ever in Iraq. 144 dead, 260 injured. Happy Thanksgiving, Iraqis! How does democracy taste? Isn't it sweet? I think it's a hell of a lot tastier back in the U.S.
So we're all tired of hearing about the reports of dead and injured in that country we decided to invade. It's just so horrible to even comprehend it, so we shake our heads sadly and tune out. And it's quite easy, really - most of us don't even have a personal connection to a soldier there, let alone any clear concept of the people that are suffering the most - The Iraqi civilians.
If I was in charge of the world (and by world I mean the media) this is what I would do: For every death in an armed conflict, I would have my research team put together touching obituaries on all the victim's lives.Instead of hearing "144 dead" and going back to the football game, viewers would now get to listen to the life stories of all the people that no longer have a chance at living. Like a young couple pregnant with their first child, dead in the explosion. A grandmother who just lost all of her children and grandchildren, and her husband is hanging on by a thread. A young woman who fought her entire life for an education and was leaving the next day to study abroad. Gone forever.
It's a fact that we don't attach as much importance to the lives of Iraqis as we do to our "own." And it should be criminal. How do I know this? Look at what happened after September 11 - the U.S. population stood behind an administration that has now put two countries into complete chaos. Millions of people affected. And a few years later, everyone is at home in front of the television, eating their turkey.
Or maybe we should just start with long, emotional portrayals of dead American soldiers. After all, they are "like us," and their families are suffering the same pain as families anywhere in the world that lose loved ones. No more, no less: It's the same pain. Until we understand this and really live this, things will never change.
Maybe, just maybe, if this (completely impractical) media policy is developed, governments will be slower to start such messy conflicts in the first place. Because their compassionate and outraged citizens will prevent it from happening.