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Two American tragedies, one mourning

April 23, 2007

Two tragedies happened last week in this country, but we seem to be outraged by only one of them: the Virginia Tech Massacre. The sudden realization that we are not safe anymore, not even in our own schools, has confirmed our worst fears. Thirty-two innocent people were killed by a deeply disturbed youth who also happened to take his life. They were students, professors, friends, sons and daughters, parents, relatives… but no more. No chances for these students and professors to make a discovery that would affect many fields of the sciences and the humanities. Their chance to change this world in some way no longer exists. For the parents of these students, there will be no graduations, no birthday parties, no falling in love, no weddings, no anniversaries, no grandchildren…

Last week another tragedy occurred that should also outrage and disturb Americans: one of the deadliest attacks in four years took place in Iraq killing nearly two hundred people. These were also friends, sons and daughters, parents, relatives… For the relatives and friends of these victims, they will not experience graduations, or weddings, or birthday parties either…. The Virginia Tech massacre is experienced every day by the Iraqi families that have lost loved ones in recent attacks and that should be enough of a cause for all of us to mourn and demand peace.

However, we don’t hear about this tragedy as much as we hear about the lamentable massacre in Virginia Tech. But why? Perhaps because of the unusual and troubling circumstances surrounding the mass murder at Virginia Tech? Or maybe because the victims were innocent people who were simply learning or teaching at a school?

Are not the civilians in Iraq killed every day innocent as well? Are not the circumstances surrounding these attacks troubling too?

Have we become completely desensitized at what is taking place in Iraq? The country that some Americans maintain has been “liberated” from a totalitarian and genocidal government? What are the Iraqis thinking when they hear how an entire country mourns for thirty-three people, but yet pays little or no attention to their daily suffering? Have the lives of these innocent people just become numbers for us that prove or disprove the effectiveness of a political agenda?

(Photo credits: NBC and BBC)

See also:
Bishop of Baghdad’s Perspective on Iraq
Pope Benedict XVI on the Iraq War
Bishop of Baghdad: “The world is not thinking of what’s good for the Iraqi people”

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