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Certain forms of grief become nationally recognized and amplified, whereas other losses become unthinkable and ungrievable ... A national melancholia, understood as a disavowed mourning, follows upon the erasure from public representations of the names, images, and narratives of those the U.S. has killed. On the other hand, the US's own losses are consecrated in public obituaries that constitute so many acts of nation-building. Some lives are grievable, and others are not ... -- Judith Butler, Precarious Life
"I wasn't scared of drones before, but now when they fly overhead I wonder, 'Will I be next?'" That is the question asked by 8-year-old Nabila Rehman, from northwest Pakistan. She was injured in a drone attack a year ago, in her small village of Ghundi Kala. She saw her grandmother, Mamana Bibi, blown to pieces in the strike. Her brother Zubair also was injured. Their case has become the latest to draw attention to the controversial targeted killing program that has become central to President Barack Obama's foreign policy and global war-making.
As the Obama family heads to their annual summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard, perhaps the president should take along a copy of Catch-22 for some beach reading. Joseph Heller's classic, satirical anti-war novel, published in 1961 and based on his experiences as a bombardier in World War II, is sadly relevant today, as Obama's wars, in Afghanistan and beyond, drag on.
In the echoing words of the late Susan Sontag: "Let's by all means grieve together, but let's not be stupid together." She wrote that to Americans after 9/11. It applies maybe quadruple after the Boston bombings -- and to us as well.
One day last week, I was in a Shawarma shop as the wall-to-wall TV coverage of the Boston manhunt provided the soundscape for lunch. The gentleman behind the counter and I exchanged words of sadness about the sickness infecting those who would commit the kind of violence we saw at the end of the world-famous marathon.