Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary?

Today marks the 7th anniversary to the start of the US-led war in Iraq.  My friend pointed it out, actually.  I  heard nothing in the news about it. 

When I went online to find more, there was very little available regarding the anniversary from any major news outlet--national or local.  In fact, the news that was easily accessible and readily available was mostly about Sandra Bullock's husband, March Madness and the debate over our healthcare policies. 

I recognize that a quick visit to a randomly select group of news sites is no scientific study, but it shows me that either (a) the news outlets don't see the war as important enough to give it a prominent spot or (b) Americans don't care about it enough to force the news outlets to give it a prominent spot.  Either way, the anniversary is likely to pass quietly without much attention paid to it.

As I have been studying what happened in history, I see a lot of eerie similarities to what's happening today.  I'm no war strategist, politician or historian, but you don't have to be an expert to see history repeating itself.  The realist in me tends to shout: we're just a small group, what difference can we make?  Then the optimist in me wins out with one of my favorite quotes:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has.
-Margaret Meade
We may be doing a small, independent film in the making, but there's hope there.  Hope that this film can shed light on the respect and brotherhood shared by the U.S. Special Forces soldiers that served with the Montagnard people during the Vietnam War.  There's hope that this little film might cause the U.S. government to change it's foreign trade policies with Vietnam to improve human rights in that country.  There's hope in capturing this focused bit of history, culture, language and tradition so that it can be shared with future generations.  There's hope that broken promises can, in fact, be upheld even if it's 30 to 40 years late on the delivery. 

We face a lot of compassion fatigue.  We are asked to give time and money to so many organizations fighting different things: cancer, hunger, children's illnesses, the environment, etc.  There are thousands and hundreds of thousands of messages fighting for our attention every day.  We are brand loyalists, consumers, overachievers, in constant contact with the people in our world through a variety of instant messaging means.  We get so overwhelmed with the problems of the world that are so much bigger than us, we don't know how to handle taking any action at all, so ... we do nothing.

But this is our country.  And I want it to be a great one.  I want to seek the truth and find opportunities to make our nation, our home, our relationships with the world better.  I don't have the answers and I don't know what the future looks like from here, but I do know that it is definitely time for a season of positive change.  And it's up to us to be sure that happens.


Ilina said...

Compassion fatigue. You got that right. But I'm astounded that no mention of the start of the Iraq War has been commemorated in the press, at least in reverence to those who have served and are serving.

Camden Watts said...

You're quite right. Hardly a mention in the press about it at all.