The Silent Killer

Airstrikes kill 200. I read that headline in the news with disbelief. Within five days, the USA managed to murder two hundred innocent defenseless civilians with no one to denounce her. Why so? Why is it that when Americans or any Westerners die, there is such a big outcry; but, when 200 Afghanis are ruthlessly killed, no one thinks it is such a big deal? Are they not humans just like the Americans? Weren’t those killed in Afghanistan by the US military also ‘moms and dads, friends and neighbors’, to borrow President Bush’s phrase?

Somehow this situation reminds me of the ‘big bully in school’ cartoons that I had watched when I was a kid. The USA reminds me of that bully who always picked on the weakest kid in school and the rest of the students just used to stand by and watch, not wanting to face his anger, if they opposed him. The rest of the world is either scared of the USA today or it simply does not care, because the Afghanis belong to the ‘Third World’. But, we must all remember: even in the cartoons, the oppressed kid always got back at the bully in the end.

Americans were devastated when the ‘terrorists’ hijacked the planes and ploughed them into the WTC towers and the Pentagon, while one crashed in Pennsylvania. Americans are angry at Bin Laden, who is supposedly the mastermind behind those attacks (though the US government has still not unveiled credible evidence against him). What Americans were really angry about was a foreign group of people who killed their fellow citizens on their own soil, when they though they have done nothing wrong. Now, think about the Afghanis who are going through the daily airstrikes by a superpower. Is it not the same situation? Do they not have a right to be angry at the foreign group of American people who are bombing them and their country, and killing their brothers and sisters, when they have done nothing wrong??

It is the same, indeed. In fact, far far worse. Those living in Afghanistan do not enjoy the luxuries of the West. They hardly have enough to wear and eat. They are on the verge of death already and the bombing by America, is not helping them. Of course, everyone will defend America, by mentioning the food drops. Do you really think that dropping 37,500 food packages a day will help over 4 million people who are starving because they were dependent on the UN bakeries and WFP aid which has stopped now, due to the bombings? So, why is everyone silent? Why does no one say a word about their sufferings?

“We just sit in the dark, watching the sky, waiting to die,” said an Afghani vegetable vendor, quoted in an Associated Press article. Imagine the despair they feel. Put yourselves in their shoes and think. Think of those who are being so mercilessly slaughtered by the American pilots who feel like “football player(s) on Superbowl day”, while bombing them. I am not making this up. If the hijackers on September 11 were terrorists, then these pilots deserve that title too.

Four UN workers were killed in Afghanistan and I was surprised to hear that the UN did not cause a lot of racket about it. I thought that perhaps they are silent over their deaths just like they are silent over the Afghani people’s deaths. I thought that at least now, they finally consider all humans equal, regardless of nationality. But, I was greatly mistaken and happy over nothing. The four UN workers were Afghanis. They were slain just like the rest of their brethren.

America claims that this is not a war against Islam. Not a war against Afghani people. Yet, a bomb hit a mosque killing 15 people. What are we supposed to make out of this? The high-tech army of America cannot distinguish between a place of worship and stocks of weapons? We are told that the attacks on Afghanistan are “carefully targeted”; does that mean the mosque and other residential areas were deliberately hit? I think this thought doesn’t bother the high-ranking officials in USA, if not the American public as well.. it is dismissed as ‘collateral damage’-to put it simply, acceptable massacre of innocent civilians who happen to be in the same country as the enemies of USA.

I know that I may seem like one of those frustrated, misguided Muslim youths in the view of many. But, let me tell you something. When you see millions of your own brothers and sisters killed while the whole world takes up the role of silent spectators, then you will also feel the anger. Yes, something like the rage that you feel right now against an undefined enemy. Even in the midst of my anger, though, I pray to God that I never feel like one of the heartless majority of Americans who support their government’s military strikes, even if they cause poor, innocent people to die.

Ms. S. A. A. is a 16 year old Muslim, who has graduated from senior high school.

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