I wrote an essay yesterday titled, Collateral Damage. In it I opened with the same photograph reproduced three times of a pre-teen Iraqi girl mouthed ope’d in horror, clinging to herself, with the image of spattered blood puddled and dripping on the wall to her right and her father’s dead, bare feet to her left. Someone’s hand is seen reaching to touch her father. The little girl is alone in her own world of horror.
An astute reader alerted me to the need to place advance warnings on images of this type to allow people not to look, should they be disturbed.
Of course, I will honor that request, as I wish never to inflict pain or distress of any kind on anyone.
But I also have very mixed feelings about this. Is it moral to be able to distance oneself from what is happening in Iraq? Is it acceptable not to know and to experience what is being inflicted on victims of violence, whoever they may be, and for whatever societal sanctioned reason?
On this first Iraq Moratorium day, I’d like us to discuss the morality of immersion of and identification with the victims of violence.
To reiterate, for the purposes of this blogging community,on one hand, yes, I don’t want anyone to be shocked and unduly upset, and as I said, personally, I will be careful to give advance notice.
On the other hand, as one who has been in the trenches with blood on my hands, spattered on my clothes, flicked into my eyes and into my nose, and comforting and cleaning up the horror of violence as a part of my job and professional practice, I think it’s my duty to share what that experience is like, to the best of my ability, so that people make INFORMED decisions about supporting violence – whether that be war, police action (tasering, billy clubs, shooting, etc) or any type of societal sanctioned violence.
It is not acceptable for voters to turn their heads any longer, to avoid the landscape of blood and dying and death, to plug their ears to the cries of the victims, to close their noses to the stench of loosened bowels and bladders, and to close their hands and withdraw when the hands of victims are reaching out for comfort and for rescue.
What do you (collectively) think about this?