Thursday, September 5, 2013

Flour Children

Human nature can at times be heroic, saintly, compassionate, and loving. It can also turn with amazing speed into hate, anger, paranoia and irrational behavior, both on a personal and national level.

The debate du jour is about the responsibility of the world community to protect those who have found themselves in harms way, thanks to a twisted history of miscommunication and political missteps that extend back to the dawn of human civilization. 

A reheated leftover, this wish for global goodness seems to have faded with a declawed United Nations and mostly unenforced international laws meant to protect the human rights of citizens worldwide.

The current debate rages over the use of chemical weapons in Syria, despite a ban on them after thousands gasped their last breath with noxious fumes in the mud of WWI. As our politicians talk about a few thousand gassed men, women and children whose white-sheeted bodies and agonizing cries reach us through flat screens of varied proportions, one little fact is being ignored.

In WWI, chemical arsenals were indeed weapons of mass destruction, far more effective than the bullets and bombs of the time. In 2013, missiles, drones, star-wars-style fighter jets, battle ships, and tanks can reap wide-spread destruction just as effective, if not more so, than chemical weapons. (Let's not forget atomic bombs, although so far the Japanese have been the only recipients of this military rationale.)

So, that little red line over which the Syrians have crossed is in fact a red herring. Over 100,000 have died in their civil war, including 400 children from torture, not chemical weapons. Over 2,000,000 refugees are scattered in neighboring countries; 4.5 million displaced within their own county's borders. Life can't be swell for these people. But they are the ones who are alive and can still be saved. Short of a second coming, none of the dead can be revived anyway. Killing more people to avenge the dead seems to be one of the most irrational thoughts mankind has ever generated.

One tomahawk missile costs over $1,500,000 to fire off, and doubtless an ample supply of some such weapon would be deployed. I would like to propose to the government a different solution. How about using our war chest to organize a massive bombing raid over Syria that drops hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and medical supplies? Or stage an invasion of refugee camps to hand out urgently needed supplies? Can you even begin to imagine what a billion dollars worth of food and medicine could do for that country? Or stage a like invasion in any of the many places around the world where innocents are being bullied and annihilated, including in our own country?

Flower children of the sixties stuck yellow daisies in the mouths of rifles manned by soldiers under orders to keep us contained. I would like to propose a new generation of "flour children" whose aim is to transform the zeitgeist of the global community. 

After all, bread is the staff of life, even if gluten intolerance is on the rise.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Between the Frying Pan and the Fire

When the first inklings of a pandemic started brewing in late January, I was in Bodgaya, India, the place where the historical Buddha attai...