Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Need to Vent...

I'm not one to often rant based almost solely on emotions, but I have to break that rule tonite because I am deeply pained about discussions that have occurred on this blog the last 2 days.

Yesterday, I posted, "Death in Iraq - A Personal Perspective", because I had come across a blog post by an Iraqi family member whose brother-in-law had been murdered in Iraq this past week at the hands of terrorists.

I sent the blog a notice or 'trackback' to acknowledge that I had written something at my blog about their loss. Ever since then, I've had numerous commenters find their way to that post who have attacked me as a supporter of Saddam, as someone who doesn't care about the slaughtered victims of that madman, and as someone who has no right to share in their grief simply because I'm a liberal.

When I wrote my post, I had no idea of the politics of that blog or its regular visitors. That did not concern me. What did matter was that yet another personal tragedy had unfolded in this war that would largely go unnoticed - as thousands already have. That bothers me. I'm human. I expressed that and now I'm being punished for it.

I have asked the owners of that blog via a comment and by private e-mail, in which I offered unconditional support during this horrendously painful time, to alert me if they find my post at all "offensive" or "obscene" as it has been characterized.

Unless and until I hear back from them, I will let it stand as is - with the hateful vitriol and ridiculous assumptions made by those who felt they had something to teach me. Whatever that was, I'm still not sure because none of them have pointed to anything in my post to back up their assertions.

I called the Iraq war "illegal". That's not a political opinion. That's one based on the numerous accounts I've read by distinguished international lawyers on the issue from the left and the right.

I've been accused of politicizing their grief. What's political about lamenting the fact that victims are not publicly acknowleged in an appropriate manner or that soldiers' coffins are being sent home hidden from the American public? That's not the way we handle our war dead in Canada. We, on all sides of the political spectrum, mourn their loss via publicly broadcasted arrivals of their coffins as they return to their home soil by airplane. There is absolutely nothing political about that. It is politicized in the United States and that reality astounds me.

None of these people who have attacked me seems capable of understanding how, despite our political differences, I simply mourn for the dead. Victims are victims. It doesn't matter if they supported the invasion or not and, in fact, I've now been accused of not supporting Iraqi freedom or democracy because someone at the other blog has decided that I did not believe this person died with honour. What kind of callousness is that?

What pains me the most about all of this is that some people have decided that others with a different political belief than them are less than human or humane and isn't that exactly how we end up in wars in the first place?

People are now so incredibly divided because of this war that they have become incapable of accepting someone else's humanity - even when it is expressed at its deepest level - that of grief. And, that is incredibly sad. What's worse is wondering how we can possibly ever heal this divide.

As far as I'm concerned, that can only be accomplished by treating each other humanely and with dignity and by realizing that, at the end of the day, we're all in this together - no matter what. That doesn't mean that anyone should ever be absolved of war crimes, no matter who they are, or that criminals should all be given hugs and set free. What it does mean is that everybody is entitled to basic human rights and justice and I am simply sick and tired - and hurt to the core - of having to read about the injustices that go on day after day, decade after decade, century after century while powermongers decide that war is the answer. It's not.

How much more inhumanity do we have to face before we change that attitude? How many more millions of innocent people have to die before we stop? Just how civilized are we, really?

Civility begins at home and extends from there. Why have we failed to instill that as so-called evolved societies? Are we still so attached to our most basic instincts based on fear that we must continue to destroy each other? What higher purpose does that serve? And who does it serve to attack people who are on your side in wanting an end to this insanity?

I've run out of words. I have never had the feeling that I didn't want to see what was contained in the discussion on one of my posts, but my dissenters have won that battle - for now. The only solace I'm able to find is from people who truly know me and know what I stand for. First and foremost, that is compassion and an end to suffering. Everything else pales in comparison.

And still, beyond all of their noise and venom, my message is still this: I mourn with the family and friends of a fellow blogger who have lost their loved one in such a brutal way. I cannot imagine the pain. I stand beside them in their hope and I am humbled by their strength in the face of such a senseless tragedy.

That is what matters.


I had contacted ITM privately to ask if they wanted me to remove my post and also to ask that they remove my trackback and comments from their site because they have elicited so many visitors here who, I feel, have missed the point of my post: to provide support for the family and friends.

I have received a simple response from Omar about my trackback and comments: "Deleted". He did not ask me to remove my original post.

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