The Humbled Americans

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The death of anyone is a cause of mourning and grief. When the death is of a child the pain is intensified to infinity. The nation is now focused on the death of Caylee Anthony, a 2 year-old Florida girl. One could feel the anguish of the Grandmother as she testified in Court. The pain of the Grandmother clearly had an affect on all who watched the Trial that day.

Media psychologists/psychiatrists announce a new psychiatric diagnosis of the accused every day. The pundits refer to the family as dysfunctional even though they have no inside information and have never talked directly to family members. That is clearly a violation of professional ethics… a cruel source of pain to a grieving family.

The intense interest in the case by the media is understandable. It is all about ratings. That means money. Of course there are more important reasons for the intense interest. Courtroom drama is seductive. Will justice prevail? What exactly would be justice in this case? A child is forever taken from us. A family will never completely recover. Can there be such a thing as ‘closure’ after such an enormous tragedy?

Now multiply the tragedy by 500,000. The 24/7 media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial is in sharp contrast to the almost total blackout of the 500,000 Iraqi deaths. On May 12, 1996, CBS 60 Minutes, Leslie Stahl asked about the 500,000 Iraqi children who died as the result of USA policies. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright answered: "…We think the deaths of 500,000 children was worth it…". Since 1996 the world has been waiting for the Press to focus in on the US policy that led to those deaths. We are still waiting. ‘Worth it’ to whom? Certainly not worth it to many people I know. Why are these deaths trivialized? Is it because most of the Iraqi children had tan skin and black hair? Is it because these children were not, white, middle class ‘Americans’. Is USA Foreign Policy just too hard for political pundits in the media? Sex, scandal, and trivia are easier.

To the family of Caylee Anthony, I send prayers for strength and resilience. In spite of misinformation from pundits, there are many ordinary people who feel compassion and empathy for you.

To the families of the 500,000 Iraqi children, I send prayers. I also apologize and want you to know that some Americans are very sorry that we allowed our country to kill so many of your children.

We know that our drone attacks continue to kill your children and other civilians. We are sorry – we just are not smart enough to figure out a way to control our government. First we need to ‘inform’ the voters and our fellow citizens. How can we make that happen? We are just not smart enough.

As the 4th of July approaches, many ‘Proud Americans’ will rally around the flag – celebrate with parades – explode fireworks that mimic ‘bombs bursting in air’.

There will be another group – the ‘Humbled Americans’ – those who know what the USA has done – and continues to do. We will not celebrate. We will spend the day in quiet reflection. We will be mourning the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children.

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Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She was arrested, tried, and convicted for her participation in a peaceful protest of the war. The conviction was appealed and overturned in the State Supreme Court. The government then announced plans to retry the case. Finally, after years of legal proceedings, all charges were dropped. She contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from the US.

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