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More Than A Week’s Worth of Sadness

Hayden Hollingsworth
Hayden Hollingsworth

This has been a week that will long be remembered for tragedies on many fronts. The Arab/Israeli conflict escalated for the nth time. Are they no lessons learned from the last four thousand years? Is it possible that minority groups like Hamas and radical Zionists are the only ones who have the power to control the future of that ancient land?

Latest figures show 432 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3000 wounded in the last two weeks and despite more than a thousand rockets fired into Israel there has been only one casualty. Since the ground attack began there have been 20 Israelis killed.

Syria has sent Bashar al-Assad to a third term in an election that appears be a sham. Now we are confronted with ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) that has seized control of key cities in northern Iraq making the announcement to all residents who are non-Muslim to convert and pay exorbitant taxes, or be executed. As ISIS so euphemistically puts it, “the only alternative is the sword.”

The Malaysia Airline flight 17 was blown out of the skies, presumably by Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, killing 298 innocent people; a true tragedy that has aroused global outrage. How could this have happened? Who did it and why? Has there ever been anything like this?

Yes, there has and the United States was responsible. On July 3, 1988 Iran Air FL 655 was shot down over Iranian airspace by two missiles from the USS Vincennes, killing all 290 aboard. The investigative record clearly shows a cascading of errors leading to Capt. William Rogers, III horrifying decision to destroy the Airbus 300B on a routine scheduled 28 minute flight from Tehran to Dubai. The United States government refused to apologize for the action. President Reagan called it “a proper defensive action,” and then-candidate George H.W. Bush said he “would never apologize for anything the United States did.”

We are still reaping the harvest of distrust in Iran today, where many are convinced from those statements that we are bound and determined to eradicate Islam. However the Ukrainian crash is resolved there can hardly be more duplicity than that we demonstrated in the loss of FL 655. In no way does it justify the actions of the perpetrators but is embarrassing to remember our role in a similar tragedy.

A monster typhoon in the Pacific has wreaked havoc on the Philippines and the outer islands of Japan. Wildfires in the western United States continue to rage with the sure prospect of more to come as a result of the devastating drought. Mother Nature is not always kind.

More than 600 have died in central Africa from Ebola, an untreatable virus and the natives are blaming the health care workers for bringing it in to their jungle villages. Sooner or later we may see similar outbreaks in other parts of the world; it’s not hard to imagine the panic that will ensue.

The list could go on, but that’s just last week’s news. Aside from the heartfelt sympathy for those involved the feeling of being powerless is overwhelming. What can we do, other than feel sadness? The saddest reaction is one of apathy. If there is nothing we can do, then we just move on with our lives. The media make sure that we are inundated with follow-up stories that do little more than numb the senses.

It would be easy to lose hope that things will ever improve. A better alternative, albeit miniscule, is to conduct our individual lives in such a way that they are marked by kindness and concern for others. If only there were a way that could become as infectious as Ebola then maybe in a thousand years or so we would have learned to live together in harmony rather than the hostility that seems to mark us so forcefully.

– Hayden Hollingsworth

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