Apparently, we all missed this cover of the Washington Post two days ago.
I know the most Middle Eastern news America can tolerate is Paula Abdul reading her cue cards wrong, but how do we indifferently walk by a picture of a baby being rescued from rubble? We made a freaking TV movie about a baby hillbilly getting stuck in a well.
Her photo won a Pulitzer Prize.
Have we lost our compassion? Our belief in Whitney Houston's words that children are our future? Unfortunately, after his home was alledgedly bombed by our missiles, two year-old Ali Hussein died later in the hospital. Why do we care more about our morning cup of coffee than a city whose civilians are being attacked? I don't have time to defend the tastiness of coffee or explain the major buzzkill that is warfare, so I'll sum it up: because we can.
My news source is the small plasma screen in the elevator where I work. In 8 seconds I get the weather, the name of Soleil Moon Frye's new baby, the trajectory of stock options I'll never have, and how much money the leading pro-golfer makes. Among the flashy pictures and sexy advertisements there is the odd blurb, "Two more American soliders dead raising number to 47," and then it's back to a woman reclining on a white couch holding a glass of wine. Thank goodness for goodlooking people, money, and narcissism. I almost had to think about someone's pain for a second.
To fill the gaps, my sister who works on the Hill, wet blanket that she is, likes to bother me with current events, mostly having to do with death, destruction, warfare, sadness, greed, racism, and other reasons to kill yourself. The picture of the child above is one of those current events.
Put down your People magazine, and push up your sleeves. I give you point and counterpoint in the article from which this picture came.
"Sadr City is under the American hammer and nobody is monitoring it," said Leewa Smeisim, the head of the Sadr movement's political bureau. "Eighty percent of the military operations are targeting innocents, because the Americans want to make people turn against the Mahdi Army so they can enter the city and control it. Nobody is safe in Sadr City, neither women nor children."
U.S. officials emphasized that U.S. troops responded only after they were attacked and that it was the fault of the militiamen if there were civilian casualties. "The sole burden of responsibility lies on the shoulders of the militants who care nothing for the Iraqi people," Stover said in an e-mail.
He said the militiamen purposely attack from buildings and alleyways in densely populated areas, hoping to protect themselves by hiding among civilians. "What does that say about the enemy?" Stover said. "He is heartless and evil."
I have to back the U.S. on this one. I know that every time I get caught speeding, I follow the officer home and kill any puppies in his neighborhood. Hey, if he really cared about his pets, he wouldn't have given me the ticket! What kind of a cop keeps puppies in his neighborhood anyway? Don't they know most people don't like cops? Hellooo...that one on the Simpsons is always getting made fun of. At least in MY elevator.
Photo credit: Associated Press