|Heart of Darkness
to CNN we've learned more about the three captured U.S. soldiers. We know their family
members who are, understandably concerned, we know what they were like, what they liked,
where they went to school, and even what their favorite books are: Heart of Darkness.
It's hard not to feel for those three soldiers and their concerned families especially now
that they are so vividly portrayed on CNN as human beings with dreams, plans, feelings,
habits (even reading habits) and likes and dislikes.
This reminded me of something that happened long time ago. In a country faraway I had a
neighbor who was a judge. I was a teenager and he was an imposing figure with his cloud of
white hair and piercing blue eyes. I used to greet my neighbor-judge whenever we met
around our apartment building, until one day I read about him in the newspaper article.
Apparently comrade judge was dealing with a lot of cases drug cases at the time when the
illegal substances just reached the faraway country where all this happened. And he was
known for the extremely harsh sentences he was imposing on drug users, citing the danger
that this epidemic that "came to us from the West" posed for our youth. But in
the article the paper revealed that the judge gave one of the users a very light sentence,
and, when asked what made him made an exception in that particular case, he replied:
"I knew that kid's mother, and I know how much she suffered."
Whoa! Wait a second, I said to myself, and when our neighbor, the judge, realized that I
stopped greeting him he asked me if something was wrong. Well, yes, I said, I have only
one question: do you think that all those other young men and women that are now spending
years in prison because you send them there, do you think that they were all test-tube
babies, or orphans, and that not a single one of them had a mother who suffered only
because you did not happen to know any of their mothers, and you don’t have
enough imagination to picture them as human beings that were born just like the rest of
And I still think that I was right in that particular case, although I don't think that it
made much difference. But in the case of the three soldiers CNN is absolutely right. They
are humans, while all those civilians that are killed or injured or otherwise affected by
the NATO humanitarian friendly bombing are robots. As it’s nicely described in
Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, they only pretend to have feelings, but are actually
there only for our amusement. They do not have mother's or father's or other family
members, they do not feel, they did not go to school, they do not have dreams and plans,
and, to top it all, I very much doubt that they have favorite books.
So keep the campaign of humanitarian friendly bombing on, Mr.. Clinton. And don't you
worry a thing. You don't know any of those people's mothers.