Take sarah. She turned twenty three today. She’s been hanging on to the hope that her fiance can set a date for their wedding before the deadline kidney cancer put on her life is reached. They’ve talked about it, but he has real trouble dealing with her perscribed death only a couple of weeks after their would be hospital honeymoon. He struggles to give away the only thing he wants in order to give her the only thing that she wants.

The ring he bought her is an exquisite diamond. Imperishable as a silent mockery to the brevity of her life.

Neither of them know it, but it comes from a small country named Sierra Leone, where blood diamonds are smuggled into western society. This is where we find Idi. Idi was born to a father who had died on a landmine, and a mother who was raped and murdered for the crime of being inferior. He was then abducted and put to working 14 hours a day in a diamond excavation site at age 6. He’s been there for thirteen years now.

While diamonds make the chief illegal export of Sierra, the egyptian revolution has also opened Africa to the middle east, where the conflict is fed by weapons, so the second hand AK47 that used to keep vigil over Idi has now been shipped into Iraq.

In Iraq war has never really ended. When Iraq invaded Kuwait a few decades ago, the American military spent 43 days dropping tens of thousands of tonnes of bombs on Iraqi people. During these forty odd days powerplants, water purification plants and hospitals were destroyed killing 110’000 people died of whom 70’000 were children under 5.
Tony Blair called the war ‘ethical’.

In these bombings we might have had Jamal, thirteen year old civilian who saw his brother die in a hospital bombing. When the U.S. invaded again in the 21st century the old wounds were opened and he found a second hand AK47 from Africa to fight those who he thought to be oppressors.
He’s been sitting on a hil. Without food for two days while his friend fires rocket after rocket from an RPG into a stalled tank. The tank’s reactive armour shrugs off the rockets, Which is the best Jamal and Haqim can do, so hope dwindles for the hungry terrorists/freedom fighters as the western military superiority and the unfairness of their situation is entrenched in their minds.

Inside of the tank sits Clyde. Clyde is praying that the hull is not somehow. Breached by rocket after rocket exploding not two metres from him. Even as he does this he thinks to himself he deserves to die, and that he’s worthy only of hell.
A day ago he shot a pregnant woman for stumbling upon their camoflauged vehicle. He didn’t want to, he couldn’t believe it was happening even as he did it, yet there it was, ears ringing from his rifle fire and his superior’s scream he watched her collapse. He is now the murderer of an unborn child.

Not too long ago he was still playing world of warcraft in his parents’ home while chatting online to his foreign friends, such as Kenji from Fukushima Japan, who lost contact with him after he joined the military.

Kenji was on a ground level of a bank when the warning the japanese government spent 1’000’000’000 dollars o went off, warning of a massive tsunami. That billion dollar warning gave Japan exactly a minute to react there was no time to make a final phone call to his girlfriend, or to even think of what pets and possessions he’d save even if he had been at home. So he jammed into an elevator with twenty other people and by some divine grace it worked despite their weight, taking them all up.
His family wasn’t so lucky. His home, his school, everything he had ever known was washed away, even before the nuclear powerplant leakage gave him the start of what would later be cancer, killing him in three years time.

News crews interview Kenji, broadcasting his generic story all around the world. In England Ruth sees this and remarks that that’s what Japan deserves for all the whaling they’ve done.
She doesn’t know that Kenji is a vegetarian. Neither does Sarah who’s laying in the bed Ruth’s sitting at during her visit to the cancer ward.

And I’m worried about what girl is interested in me.

Isn’t that hilarious to the point you want to cry?
We’re more concerned with the battery life of a cellphone than all the suffering out there.

Pain is universal, we’re all human, we all feel it, and mutual suffering connects us like nothing else can, yet we all cause it in one another since we never put ourselves in each other’s shoes.

Yet… Apathy is a defense mechanism, if we cared about all of this all the time, we’d have no time for our own lives. Just think about this the next time you worry over something that really should not matter.


~ by William Webster on April 13, 2011.

One Response to “pain”

  1. Pale Blue Dot

    That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

    The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

    Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

    – Carl Sagan

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