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Do Innocent Lives Matter ?

Over 54 people including 37 children (United Nation figures) died early this morning when Israeli air strikes leveled a building in Qana, in southern Lebanon. The Middle East has been in flames ever since the Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and the Israelis retaliated, 19 days ago. Since then, both have been raining rockets on each other. The Israelis say the Hezbollah is launching rockets from civilian areas, like Qana. It now accepts this morning's strike was a mistake.

From all appearances, the Hezbollah, an `extra-constitutional' authority in Lebanon is guilty of drawing first blood. But the point here is not the genesis of the conflict or where its headed. Nor is it about how this morning's air strike and the casualties thereof has caused the Lebanese to go ballistic. Not just in Lebanon but all over the world. Mind you, its not just the Lebanese, there is support in the rest of the Arab world as well.

And its not about the support either. Its just about how the killing of innocent civilians in general and children in particular can cause so much consternation in the international community. US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice postponed her scheduled trip to Beirut today following the bombings because the Lebanese said they were in no mood for discussions. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan later condemned the killing of innocent women and children. As did many others.

The Price Of War..

I observe this in the context of our own reaction to terrorist attacks on our women, children and families. Note that terrorist attacks are far more dastardly acts than those of war. The conflict between Israel and Lebanon can be termed as war, since Israel is responding to what it sees is an attack on its sovereign nation. And yet, the cost of casualty is the same.

I recall some one saying that we don’t have the time nor the inclination to mourn our dead. Because, after all, so many of us die and in so many ways. And yet, when someone butchers innocent women and children (as opposed to their dying while crossing the street or being hit by a garbage truck) the rules change. The world at large seems to have understood and accepted this. I am not sure we have.

Comments

Wars and associated chaos are meaningless in themselves but bring on innocent civilians in the mix, especially children and it is a lot more painful!
Archana said…
You are absolutely right about terrorist attacks being more dastardly than wars, but wars are frowned upon by the international 'peace' bodies. In this case, the easy targets are average people whose death is the price they pay for innocence.
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sheebadmello said…
True, we don't seem to these tragedies in the same light. Not just acts of terrorism, any form of death or suffering seems to leave us untouched; witness our apathy towards the countless homeless dying on our streets.
It may be because of our large population: when there a billion people, what's a few more or a few less. Or it may be just that we are just too lazy to make that effort...

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