Tuesday, February 20, 2007

One (more)

In his article today titled "Η φωλιά του κούκου, 2007" republished in his blog , well-respected Greek journalist Michalis Mitsos takes up the question of victims of wars and warfare. Citing the case of Iraq he underscores the disproportionately grand analogy of casualties to dead -particularly when juxtaposed against previous wars- mostly thanks to advances in the medical field.

Meanwhile here in Boston word has come of the death of a young woman in Iraq - one that was not fortunate to make it into the "list of wounded". This morning I grabbed the local edition of "Metro" newspaper before riding the "T" [the name we have for the subway here] only to find its front page dedicated to Marine Captain Jennifer Harris, of "Swampscott, MA". The next page was a report from her funeral which was held at her native Swampscott, -a small community of some 15,000- yesterday, "with full military honors" - as if this would soothe the pain of her family, her fiancé Maj. Christopher Aaby, the community, us reading the newspaper.

Of course her fellow soldiers wanted to honor Jennifer, her life, her service - this was the rationale behind the elaborate funeral. Lt. Gascinski -a roommate of Harris at the Naval Academy- in her speech stressed the "calm demeanor" of Harris whose nickname was "Dove" for this reason.

But that said and done, bottom line is that 28 year old Jennifer is dead: her helicopter went down on February 7. Fate, death, the Sunni group, -how you want to name it- did not take into account her youth or the fact that she was a woman pilot or that this week was her last week in Iraq: she was expected to come home the following week.

Jennifer and every man or woman killed in Iraq or any war: this is the version of Iraq war that rarely makes it to non-US papers. The mere listing of casualties and victims no matter which place it occupies within the newspaper or how it is commented, it can never be compared to that of "the individual dead", the resident of the community, the neighbor, the college classmate.

In a densely-knit community-based America there is one puzzle, one unanswered question which at the same time dwindles support for the war and gives hope to all of us opposing it: "for how long more can people assist to funerals of their loved ones, their fellow citizens?" For Swampscott, Jennifer was not the first one. 20 year old Army Spc. Jared Raymond died just a few months ago in Taji, Iraq, the newspaper tells us, leaving us with this thought in mind - not without a reason I believe.

As numbers of dead and wounded rise, as our expectations from the constituencies in Massachusetts and elsewhere increase, so does our hope that this "war" will be brought -somehow- to an end: for one thing, the newspapers of Iraq, if they were to be printed regularly, they would need an extra budget to dedicate articles to all the casualties, not to say front pages.

But learning from the American experience and the pain and sorrow that such news brings, perhaps is better this way, without articles. It may not honor the memory of those killed, but it does not suck whatever courage has been left to the citizens of Baghdad and all those other cities where a trip to the market has a risk factor greater than swimming in a pool with sharks: an avid diver, my father tells that if you do not move and stay still the shark does not perceive your presence and hence does not attack.

Unfortunately, running or standing still, bombs manage to get you in Baghdad - somehow.


"Metro" newspaper
The town: Swampscott, MA

1 comment:

ion said...

Το παιχνίδι λέγεται 'Το Παιχνίδι των Πέντε' και ζητά από τον προσκεκλημένο να δώσει πέντε προσωπικά του στοιχεία στη δημοσιότητα και μετά να προτείνει πέντε φίλους του να κάνουν το ίδιο!

Είσαι προτεινόμενη!
Δες μέσα. Θα χαρώ να μάθω περισσότερα για σενα.

Τ λέμε

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