Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#127 Dulce et Decorum Est--AfghanIraqiStan

This is the sardonic title of Wifred Owen's WWI poem, taken from Horace; the full line cross-translated as "Sweet and decorous [it] is" pro patria mori "for [your] country, to die." Prophetic. Owen was killed in the last week of the war. He was a Brit, fighting gallantly, and winning medals in a a "foreign" war along with French and American allies against the common German enemy. He hated every minute of it, nonetheless, and in his many letters to his mother he urged her to organize "agitation" against the war.

I'll quote the defining last verses later, but let's return to those other mothers (#125) trotted before the cameras every day, and constrained to give some sort of rationale for their son's death. You can't blame them: they come up with pretty much the same thing--"He was fighting for his country" ... his patria. Or worse, the bruxistic "He was fighting for our freedoms." It would be cruel to point out that the root cause of all the Middle East Wars is RELIGION, and when we get involved ... OIL. Okay, but at least our sons and daughters are dying for democratic freedoms for these people, the kind we enjoy in this country, a mother might say. That's a good cause, isn't it? President Bush said it was.

The problem is ... these people are BARBARIANS. By modern Western standards, they haven't progressed much past the 14th century on the moral/social scale of human values. Let the following sample headlines (among many more) coming out of Afghanistan speak to the issue of just WHOM our mothers' sons are really fighting and dying for. We know of the unspeakable inhumanity of the Taliban--these stories come AFTER the democratically elected government of Hamid Karzai took over in 2006:

  • Abdul Rahman, 41, sentenced to death for converting to Christianity ...
  • Afghan journalist faces death penalty for blasphemy (printing a translation of the Koran) ...
  • Father murders university-student daughter for falling in love with British soldier; police release and congratulate him ...
More on this last horrendous example: according to the Guardian (UK) May 2008 article, the father, Abdel-Quader Ali, works as a government employee in Basra. He was not charged, but rather put on salaried leave because of "bad publicity." He is still a free man. In an interview, he takes pride in an act that he says any Muslim would do, if he honored his religion. "God is blessing me for what I did. Death was the least she deserved." Actually, she got more. Torture. Mr. Ali beat, stomped, suffocated, and finally stabbed the 17-year-old to death. When her mother screamed in horror for her brothers to save her ... they instead joined in the carnage. "My sons were men enough to help me finish the life of someone who just brought shame to ours."

OUR sons are giving up their lives for this?

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