Sheila probably spoke for many yesterday when she declared no more war. The anger and bitterness surrounding the issue of the war in Iraq can drain even the most energetic of people. However, my hope is the war of rhetoric has managed to burn itself out, and from the ashes can come true conversation.
Soldiers are heading to Baghdad, and eventually, this city will be in US hands. This isn’t to say the ‘war’ will be over — this is not a typical war, fought by typical warriors. The question was asked — what next? Steve Himmer made a start on answering this question, without rhetoric, providing practical suggestions as to directions. In particular, his suggestion of the UNESCO loan program is a viable, reachable start to helping the people in Iraq. However, equally important, in my opinion, was that he was making an attempt to bridge differences between people with different views of the war in Iraq. And doing so in a non-confrontational manner.
Jonathon Delacour commented on Steve’s efforts, in the same writing where he responded to an accusation of racism levied against him in his comments. His remarks are about the most rational and effective response to that type of accusation I have seen. Rather let loose a stream of invective, and wade in with shirt sleeves rolled up, ready for a virtual showdown, he calmly refuted the accusation; managing to deflect the anger of the accusation, not back at the accuser, but outside the conversation, completely.
That’s what we need to do.
Primarily because of Steve’s reasoned response, Jonathon has also re-directed his discussion about protest marchers into expressing a specific issue rather than the use of more colorful and rather pithy adjectives.
Their conversation, and the comments associated with them give me hope. Hope that could only be increased if other voices join in.
There is a conversation waiting to be born about the presence of the US in Iraq, about UN involvement, and the makeup of an interim government. There is also a conversation waiting to re-born about human rights at a global level — a closely related topic. Allan Moult pointed to two documents detailing human rights abuses in the world, including violations in this country. These are a start.
(How poetic that the twin issues of freedom and human rights for the people of Iraq are the same issues that we need to address here in the United States. )
From these conversations, common agreements can be found, perhaps even unified, positive actions. At a minimum, we may come away with a better understanding of our own reactions to the war, the UN, the US involvement, and human rights in general.
It’s just too bad we’re all so burned out. And I’m fresh out of Burningbird magic Rising from the Ashes Pixie Dust to sprinkle about.
And as I was finishing this, I looked up and out the window at a sky filled with black smoke. But it was just a fire at an auto shop nearby.