Tuesday, May 3, 2011

America's Big Day?

The big news, as we all know, was President Obama’s announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in an “operation” by the CIA conducted in Abbotabad, Pakistan.  Following this news, we took note of the celebratory tone of many of the media stories and op eds that spoke of the “relief” that this boogeyman has been eliminated at long last; the “big fish” in the “war on terror” has finally been reeled in, duly dispatched, and his corpse tossed into the sea.
We watched a video of Obama’s announcement and was struck by the dramatic language he used to recount the drama of 9/11 and the loss of 3,000 American lives that day.  But what struck even more strongly was that not a word was uttered about the many lives lost as a consequence of that day’s events, and of the displacement of millions of innocent people, all because of a false assertion that somehow Saddam Hussein had had something to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. 

I wanted to ask, “What, Mr. President, nothing to say to the Iraqi people, not a word to acknowledge this  cause-and-effect resulting in the shattering of their society, the deaths of their loved ones?”  I would also wonder whether Mr. Obama would have any words to say to the Iraqis I have met here in Amman since I arrived here in March:   the man whose fingers were eaten off by acid in an episode of unspeakable torture; the woman whose husband was kidnapped by a militia, murdered, and his remains returned to her in pieces stuffed into a garbage bag;  the young woman whose beauty was stolen forever by a car bomb; the mother whose twins’ lives were erased in an explosion; the family who left Baghdad under threats of their children’s “annihilation,” living in one cold room and sharing two small blankets…and there are so many more.
 At this particular time, when it appears that the world’s collective attention may be focusing now on pursuing yet more boogeymen in the name of America’s “freedom,” we feel it is a good time to look more seriously than ever at the “collateral damage” that is a consequence of 9/11, and work even harder to repair it. We would love to see as many of you as possible granting my wish, and giving us the support we need to continue helping the refugees here in Amman to rebuild their lives.  

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