by Mark Glenn
April 19, 2003
The other night, my youngest son, 3 yrs old, woke up from a bad dream, insisting that there were bugs in his bed all over him. We checked under the covers and there was nothing. He kept insisting they were there, speaking in that half-dazed dialect that half-sleeping children use, so I decided to climb into bed with him, hoping he would just go back to sleep knowing that I was there and he would be safe. He would wake me every five minutes, whispering " There's one on the cover. There's one on the wall. There's one somewhere." I had a flashlight with me and would point to where he pointed, showing him nothing.
After about a half hour of this I was good and awake. I rubbed his head lightly, knowing that would do the trick. His eyes began to grow heavy, and while I looked at his face, I began calling to mind the news stories I had seen the day before on the internet about the war.
I visit several sites concerning the war, none of them "acceptable" by the mainstream press or the government, given the fact that they aren't mouthpieces in support of the war. They don't show pictures of brave American soldiers fighting the angry Arabs and mad Moslems. And on this particular day, I had seen....
A picture of a little girl who resembled my 5 year-old daughter. She was unconscious, her left foot was gone, and in its place was a mangled stump of burned flesh and blood. A man, peasant-like in his dress and appearance, probably her father, was lifting her out of the rubble of a building that had just been bombed and had fallen down around her. I don't know if she was alive or dead. I rubbed a sign of the cross on the screen as the tears ran to my eyes and the rage ran through my soul. Next I saw a man similar to the before mentioned, with his face in his hands, as he stood over the floor where his 4 children lie, lifeless and covered with blood. They lay there quiet and still, as if sleeping. And although the picture was silent, I could hear this father, crying out from thousands of miles away.
The final picture was that of a 10 year-old boy who had been beaten to death by an Israeli soldier for having thrown a rock at his car. His face was gone, and what was left in its place looked like something out of a science-fiction horror film. I didn't want to click on anymore pictures, the sight of the boy's family wailing in pain and his mother holding her dead son’s face with her blood covered hands was too much to consider.
And at 3:00am, as I lie next to my son, rubbing his hair and gazing at his unscarred face, I thought to myself "he could be in those pictures. After all, the individuals doing these things to those people are right next door, within my own country." And save me the bull about fighting terrorism. Those children weren’t terrorists. We don't know what terrorism is in this country. We go to bed with full bellies and aren't awakened at night by the sounds of gunships and mortars. We don't have bulldozers crashing into our homes to make room for another settlement. At least, not today.
Which is something we should all consider, at least those of us who haven't been fooled by all this business of the "War against Terror," as the talking heads call it. Are we going to continue to live in denial about the fact that we might be next? That this same beast that consumes its enemies without any mercy, hesitation, or pity won't do away with us when the time is expedient? For those of you who haven't considered it, consider Randy Weaver, the Branch Davidians and Elian Gonzales. The people pushing these buttons of war and oppression see the rest of us as animals in the fields, stupid and useless, good for nothing but pulling a yoke, slaughter and consummation. The only thing those dead children did was to get in the way of a pipeline, an oil field, or a new settlement, in addition to being part of a culture that doesn’t want to be tainted with American decadence. And the moment that people like us “get in the way” of men like Bush, Ariel Sharon, Richard Perle, and the media moguls who control what we think, we will meet a similar fate.
In its coverage of the war last night, the mouthpiece on the scene was commenting on the "irregular" fighting that the Iraqis were employing, utilizing ambushes and guerrilla style tactics. I should have known ahead of time what was coming next, but I guess I forgot for a moment where I was. "They're starting to behave somewhat terroristic in their strategy, not coming out and fighting face to face," quipped the mouthpiece. And after almost swallowing my tongue, I said through clenched teeth "you invade their country with bombs and missles, destroy the homes of their wives and children, and have the nerve to call their tactics terroristic?" The one moment of sanity came from an American soldier who was being interviewed a moment later. His comment was "What else can these people do? They're going up against a ten headed monster, and it's the only way they can fight back."
For those of you reading this who support the war, go to a website covering the war that isn't a mouthpiece for George Bush or Ariel Sharon. Look at the pictures of dead children, wailing parents and destroyed homes. Then, go home and look at your own children and ask yourself, "When's it going to be my turn?"
What goes around comes around, and whatever is sown, is reaped, and there will come a day when God, having had his fill with hearing the cries of his slaughtered innocents will say “Enough,” and what an awful day for us it will be.
Mark Glenn is an American of Lebanese descent and a conservative Catholic. He majored in History at the University of Cincinnati, minored in romance languages, and has taught in several high schools and seminaries, ranging in subjects as varied as American history, Western Civilization, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish and German. Mark lives in north Idaho where he teaches, and is “trying to make a difference in what is going on by writing.” He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org