Friday, October 05, 2007

The crystal spirit

There are some articles that transcend journalism and take us to other places that are intimate, poignant, ambiguous and significant. Christopher Hitchens has written one such piece about his encounter with the family of a soldier, Mark Daily, who died in Iraq, inspired to enlist by Hitchens' writing in support of the overthrow of Saddam's tyranny.

It brought to mind a dispiriting talk by the veteran peace activist Johann Galtung, the subject of a previous post. One of his throwaway comments was, 'ask the bereaved if it helps to be killed by a democracy'. The superficiality of this statement is graphically shown by a hypothetical example of two deaths; one inmate murdered in an extermination camp and another killed during its liberation. One is a crime, the other a tragedy.

Grief is an emotion shaped by context. Read this article Johann, and then you will realise that it matters. It matters very much indeed.

Thanks to Will for sending me the link and read Terry Glavin on it too. You can read Mark Daily's own words here:

"Don't overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don't cheapen the moral aspects either".

No comments: