Afghani Body Parts Scandal — When Life (and Death) Imitate Your Remote Control

Do we really care that US soldiers paraded in front of cameras with body parts of slain Afghans? Or do we affect our over-inflated anger, disbelief and horror for much the same reason? To see how many ‘Likes’ we can elicit, before the world changes its channel?

Politicians talk of a loss of honor. But the honor was lost when those same politicians voted for a war, in the certain belief that they, and their sons and daughters, would never have to fight it.

When and where did it all go wrong? When we first realized it was not enough to survive? When we determined we wanted also to acquire? Even that which was unnecessary? And especially if it belonged to someone else?

When we knew that we needed strength to accumulate? And more specifically, that we needed to be stronger than our neighbor, in order to possess what was his?

When brute strength gave way to politics. Supplanted by diplomacy. Aided once more by military power. Supported by lies. Spread by media. Which then wilted in the face of the online revolution. When all could be achieved at ten times the pace. And more particularly, needed to be achieved at that pace, lest the electorate’s attention be lost.

Whom do we blame? The soldiers, who fight a fight we’re too cowardly to fight? The office-holders, who serve because we’re too busy to vote? The corporations who buy the elected, with the money we spend on their goods?

Or do we point the finger at ourselves? We, who decry the massacre, yet trawl the web to find the pictures? We, who demand gas for our cars, yet protest the wars which secure the crude oil? We, who stand idly by while state legislators gut our education system, so that the young men serving in Afghanistan never have the chance to learn about My Lai?

After all, isn’t that why we have computers? To keep the pain of the world at arm’s length? Heaven forbid we should have to witness the horrors required to bring us the goodies. We’d much rather just have fun poked at them in a Jon Stewart skit. Treat life as if it’s just one gigantic video game.

We’ve been telling ourselves for 40 years now that we can do what we want, to whom we want, how we want, without any concern for the repercussions, because our kids will pay the price for us. Why should we be surprised that our kids are now taking their cue from us – all over primetime?

When we are truly ready to lower our expectations, to stop mindless consuming and to halt waste. To live only on what we need. And to accept responsibility for the consequences of what we do and say.

When we finally wake up and come to the realization that our very existence does not depend on a continuous diet of virtual sensory stimulation. Then and only then may we begin to build a society where massacres do not occur. Do not go viral. And do not get forgotten the moment we hit the remote control …

Published in: on April 19, 2012 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment