By HDN staff
The Havre Daily news
Tuesday, May 11
On Sunday, May 2, the Rev. Jesse Jackson befriended Yugoslav authorities to win the release of three army soldiers held captive for 32 days. The day before, 60 civilians died on a bus blown apart by a NATO missile, not to mention the mishaps and misidentified targets that have cost other bystanders their lives.
The soldiers were free, and Jacksons noble act earned him many headlines. Flashbulbs popped and cameras rolled as handshakes were passed out like Easter candy. The soldiers stood patiently as a Belgrade signing ceremony officially transferred them over to Jacksons custody. We read about it in the paper. We heard it on the news. The Yanks were coming home. Everyone was proud.
What ever happened to the 60 Yugoslav civilians killed on the bus the day before? Or the 40 killed prior to that, and those after, and the lives destroyed, etc., etc.? Each one disappeared from the headlines as quickly as their lives were ended. It all happened in a flash, and one should wonder; why dont lives of 60, 100, 200 dead civilians rate the attention equal to three living volunteers?
Civilians do not volunteer for conflict. Soldiers enlist and must expect conflict. Governments create conflict and, in doing so, they send expecting soldiers to do their deeds.
We understand that war or conflict is not a sanitary action. But even so, perhaps a little emotional sincerity over the destruction of life would be appropriate. Instead, what we get are pictures of Jesse Jackson and well armed military tarzans saying step up the bombing, its working.
Perhaps we as a nation have grown so isolated by sheer geography that we pass war off as something that happens over there. And because it happens over there, the consequences dont really matter. After all, war is what we watch on our televisions. Indeed, were glad the soldiers are safe, but we regret the heavy toll bestowed upon the Yugoslav people. They are not our enemy. Rather, ideals are the enemy of governments. Attention should be adjusted appropriately.