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Circa 2020

Innocence Is As Innocence Does

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Dear Humans of 3020 AD,

In your time, do innocent bystanders still fear displacement, injury and worse in the crossfire created by others?

"You don't know anymore; you don't know who is alive, you feel you are in a trap, you don't know who is a target," said my friend and neighbor in Gaza City, journalist Taghreed El-Khodary. The fear resonated in her voice while she was on the phone to Al-Jazeera. Taghreed lives on a street near my parents.
I sit safe, warm, well-fed and sheltered in one part of our world, while in another, fellow human beings with no more an active hand in the geopolitical forces surrounding them than I have in mine are endangered, grief-stricken, exposed.

This euphemistically-called "hot spot"--a place called Gaza in a small nation called Israel--is just one of several remaining in the world today. Your history will record the religious, political and cultural roots of the conflict in the part of the world we call The Middle East. It is a place where this life-and-death struggle has carried on, essentially unbroken, for two thousand years.

Reading this news story from the other side of the world, we don't know if the writer is objectively reporting facts, or coloring the story, however subtly, with her own agenda. We don't know if the quotes are accurate or couched in meaningful context. There is even precedent of specific stories like this being pure fabrication.

In the end, though, none of that really matters. What does matter is that we know in a place called Gaza, citizens of our time--non-combatant citizens, just like us--are living their lives under the very real, immediate threat of random injury and death. And that they came to that fate solely through the accident of location of their birth.

"Where to? Where can I go seek refuge to?" she continued. "I live next to the parliament which was destroyed; next to the police station, which was destroyed; next to the hospitals, which were bombed; and the Israeli navy is shelling from the sea, the F-16s from the sky, the tanks from the ground ... where to?" she repeated again and again.
You may wonder, in your time, if we were outraged. You may ask how, at the dawn of the Information Age, we could possibly have allowed it to go on. I have no adequate response. In our time, the majority of us, as individuals, are evolved enough to empathize with our innocent, fearful brothers and sisters. Intellectually and emotionally, we understand the moral imperatives at hand.

As a species, however, we are not yet mature enough to provide the answers.

Updated 02-09-09 at 10:05 PM by Om

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  1. Neophyte's Avatar
    Powerful stuff, brother. All to easy to read the headlines, shake our heads and then go out for lunch with the guys from the office.
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