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The Apathy and the Empathy

The horrific attacks on the innocent citizens of London bring the horror of indiscriminate bombing and its aftermath into our living rooms, but why do the likes of the Murdoch Press differentiate between London and Baghdad when it comes to the documentation of human tragedy?

I continue to be astonished at the hypocrisy and hysteria enveloping the popular media in light of the appalling bomb attacks in London. It is not that the attacks are not a horrific occurrence on innocent people going about their everyday business. That they certainly are. It is the fact that Londoners are able to, and expect to travel to well paid jobs, and to live in affluence that somehow makes the attacks so reprehensible. The beleaguered citizens of Iraq of course are visited by such attacks a thousandfold, all in the name of Operation Iraqi freedom. In a country which has sunk into chaos and death for the unforeseen future, there are no heart rending stories of individual courage, of tragic and innocent deaths, of lives permanently disrupted, of shocking disabilities. These things only happen to citizens of western society.

There is no justification for the London attacks, but when apportioning blame, surely the Bush/Blair/Howard cartel who were so enthusiastic about invading Iraq behind a litany of lies and distortions, ought to have their roles in bringing about these attacks examined. There is little doubt that the London attacks were in direct response to the Iraq invasion, and would not have occurred had the British Government not ignored its citizens, who were overwhelmingly against the war. Tragically, many of the victims were no doubt against the war - just as the blood soaked victims in Iraq would like to distance themselves from the tyrants and hypocrites who bring death to their door-steps. Notwithstanding the crimes of Saddam Hussein, he was a strong leader who brought stability and a reasonably high standard of living to his country and his people, in some respects like the strongman Tito, who ruled Yugoslavia with an iron hand until his death in 1980 (albeit with less megalomania). A decade later Yugoslavia erupted in blood as the ethnic and religious divisions kept under control during Tito's rule threw the country into murderous chaos.

In using the attacks of 9/11 as justification for its invasion of Iraq, the 'Coalition of the Willing' have brought into being a degree of hatred, indignation and lust for retaliation which previously existed only in their fevered distortions of reality. That the invasion has kindled hatred and retaliation is beyond dispute. As convenient as it might be for Bush/Blair/Howard to limit bloodshed, murder and incarceration to the battlefield of Iraq, they ought not to be surprised that the enemy seeks to take the battle to their own streets, where the bodies are counted, the traumas are documented, and the injustice of it all is shared.

The people of Britain and the people of Iraq are victims of the same common enemy. It is ignorance and oppression wrapped in lies, cloaked in banal slogans, and ultimately, contemptuous of human life. The tragedy is, that, like the egg which cannot be unscrambled, the consequences of the invasion of Iraq loom ominously into an uncertain fear-laden future. Perhaps if we really did have democratic values, it would be different. I have empathy for the British victims. I also abhor the apathy of a western world which can bask in its own tragedy while being far less concerned about the agonies visited upon the people of Iraq.

Posted: Thu - September 21, 2006 at 04:40 PM      
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