Why are people so concerned with Lebanon all of a sudden? Because a few hundred people died? Have you forgotten about Iraq? About Palestine? About Darfur? Somalia?
I don’t know what depresses me most, attempting to analyze the logic behind such questions or just staring at the long list of names.
A car bomb going off in a Baghdad market killing 50 people would have made headlines two years ago and now it struggles to find a place in the Lifestyles section. Why is that?
Conflicts in our region are as common as waves in the ocean and it seems all of us wait around to catch the next one. It’s not that we value the death of one person over another, one conflict, one war over the other, but rather the fact that one will tend to replace the other in importance simply because it’s a fresh wound, a different kind of pain that our bodies have not grown used to. We’ve grown jaded with Iraq; it’s become the next Palestine. 20, 30 people die on any given day and it’s like, what else is new?
It’s the sad reality. Conflicts tend to have a certain shelf life and their climax is always their beginnings. The time when everyone is watching to see what will happen next, how bad it will get. The time when people march in the street to protest. We are riding that wave out now with Lebanon as we did with Iraq three years ago as we did with Palestine many times before that.
But then enough time goes by and while the conflict has not changed perceptions have. ItÃ¢??s shock therapy and after the initial jolts, after failed attempts to resist, we just get used to the electric currents running underneath our skin; we surrender to the pain. ItÃ¢??s part of being human and its part of being of this new world order, this new world reality.
If the war on Lebanon extends into (God forbid) a year or two or three just like Iraq, everyone will get used to the pain. Israeli bombs flattening villages or some Beirut suburb will be just another rerun on TV until that too fades into obscurity.
Because after our throats are rendered sore from screaming in the streets and after our feet have grown blisters from marching…stagnation. The birth pangs subside; nothing but the flat lining beep of the machine.
Until something new happens: another war, another tragedy, another pain, and another made-for-TV movie.
If the United States and the United Kingdom and Israel ever do stop bombing us, we can all look forward to years of psychotherapy.