Iranian.com is truly a bed of roses. Some days, the scent of the petals fills one's nostrils. Other days, the manifold thorns of the darker side of humanity prick one's skin. Such has been this week's dose.
Following a photo essay which chronicled the somewhat clumsy and amusing attempt of a certain bachelor preparing dinner, we are immediately afterwards, treated to photos of a trip to the place where man(kind) showed itself at his worst. Pictures chronicle the train ride, the scenery at dawn, the city, resplendent against the late summer sun and finally what the viewer has dreaded; the nuts and bolts of destruction - systematic, perpetual, final. There ensues a thick blanket of sadness on those of us who let the photos go past the eyes, past the conscious part of our brains, past the immediate resistance to human suffering by justifying it - albeit in a roundabout way. Would it matter who was shoved into those gas chambers? Is it ever right to limit another human in every which way, no matter what they have done or not done? Isn't it simply ghastly to see what intelligent megalomaniacs are capable of? Nazi officers kissed their wives and children too, before reporting to work every day. Pondering on that fact alone makes one wonder if this world is real or just an illusion.
In another blog I read about Koran burning scheduled to take place on 9/11/10 at some small, no-name brand church somewhere in Florida. And the whole world is up in arms about this silly act. I heard this morning that Obama is even urging the pastor to be cautious. Is Islam so fragile so as to lament the dumb threats of some ignorant backward pastor? And what would burning a book really do? Will the world stop turning? Will this act alone bring peace so men don't tear apart other men? Sad is all one can feel for the utter naivete and stupidity of it all.
And of course sadness at the nuclear level, a husband a wife, depression tearing them apart plunging them into a darkness - a confession, a pouring out of emotion, regrets, admissions, possibly blame, an attempt to connect to the iranian.com village, that yes, it is possible to be extremely successful, ferociously funny, admirably aware and yet suffer from the walls at home - the place where one is supposed to feel safe, the place we all want to rush to be ourselves, to be loved, held, told that it would all be OK. And that simple wish is denied to those who have to witness the suffering of a loved one and hence the Wall.
Particularly poignant are the comments by the villagers. Whilst many came to sympathise, empathise, identify, relate, confess and hold each other's proverbial hands in cyber as a response to the resident joker/sage, others were likely to throw stones (in one form or another) to the demise that many Auschwitz residents met. And whilst some grow angry at the burning of Koran by a nobody in a god-forsaken corner of the world, they appear to be surprisingly silent at the daily burning of souls who are forced to live by the laws stated in this holy book or another.
When a we humanize a problem, give it a name, a face, make it personal, it hits another's heart. But when we are presented with suffering of a mass (one that is not exactly popular), we are likely to turn it into some academic exercise in reason and justification. We become armchair historians coming up with theories, hypotheses, reasons, arguing about numbers - yes it was 3 million, no it was 1 million. Really - does it matter? Will it make us feel better that fewer people than reported suffered Auschwitz? Would we have felt better if those in the chambers were Chinese, Arabs, People of the Congo? How about burning all the holy books? Is that worse? At the end of the day, how much evil is OK? As far as I am concerened, even one death at the hands of another is too many? One broken heart - a tragedy. The world is full of tragedies, killings, burnings. Oh yes, I can analyze, theorize, dissect and explain it all; write a paper about it, publish it. But does that make me feel better, to have explained the atrocities?
Today I feel sad, because I also am part of that humanity depicted on the pages of this website - the good, the bad and the ugly. All of us are. And we all kiss our loved ones good bye in the morning before heading to work.
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