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Lest we forget. Four years tomorrow, 186 children died at Beslan's School Number One after 1,100 people were taken hostage by terrorists, 777 being children. As we wage our despicable war in Afghanistan, let us pause to reflect what horrors we have wrought, the most recent being the murder of 60 children, as confirmed by the UN,in their sleep, by our airstrikes this past August 22 in western Afghanistan. This follows other atrocities, now long forgotten: the 15 children who died in one of our airstrikes two weeks before Christmas in 2003; 18 January 6, 2006; the 45 killed in the last week of June, 2007; the 9 children and 6 women killed on October 1, 2007; 17 in June, 2007; 22 July 4, 2008; 47 July 6, 2008; 8 July 15, 2008; 50 July 17, 2008; 27 July 26, 2008; ..and the beat goes on.
It is our sad fate that for those who of us who think deeply, feel deeply. I recall that warm autumn September night in 2004. The children were dreaming in their beds. The dog was snoozing at my feet, and the moan of a far off lawnmower was making me drowse in the cool night breeze. I was packing their backpacks in front of the TV with new school supplies: creamy fresh white copybooks awaiting an alphabet, a doodle, and for the smudge, perfumed pink erasers atop perfect pencils, a green lunchbox for a red thermos. And always my note: I love you. And then the news: 1,100 children and teachers taken hostage at Beslan, 334 killed, 186 being children. After watching the footage, I hurried to my children's bedroom, locked the door, and got into bed with my youngest baby to hold so tight. As the ivory light of the moon slowly crept across her blanket, I wept while she slept.
Dear gentle reader. Have we lost all compassion, are we now so numb, so dumb to the violence committed in our names by vainglorious yet coward politicians to do nothing but gape? I have no doubt that a Muslim mother, huddling with her children under a kitchen table in a blackout, sh-shivering with fear, loves them as much as we do here. By refusing to confront the politics that cause such misery, by allowing the cowardice of our politicians to deny what our hearts would affirm, we too, through callous indifference, add just a little more to her pain, destroy just a little more of her hope, and make more certain the death of her children. Guilt drives us to fix our steely gaze strictly upon our shopping malls, cars, and celebrity pratfalls.
How convenient to ignore the blood-soaked political misery and injustice on which our present happy oblivion is ultimately derived. How we are told it is beyond our ken to deal with these issues which silently scream for our attention.
Why do we not hear the same level of condemnation arising from Belsan whan NATO commits the same crime, but only piecemeal?
That's a fine condemnation, not only of terror but, of war in general. Preventing war ought to be the duty of every state. Perhaps that will be part of some future UN's guiding principles and conditions of membership ...