Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Their horrific Pictures and Our Obtuse Eyes | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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We seem to be overwhelmed by apathy and lethargy as if someone has cast a spell on us.

Not long ago, pictures of an Iraqi man holding a young girl, barely older than three, occupied newspaper front pages and news headlines. Her fragile body appeared weaker than the bullets that hit it. Her eyes were only half shut when she was shot at by US forces as she traveled with her family on the road to Baquba.

We listened to the news and watched the footage; our eyes became red as we shed a few tears and expressed our anger. Soon, however, we diverted our attention to the preparatory meeting of Iraq”s national reconciliation conference in Cairo, with all its disagreements on how best to define resistance, occupation and terrorism…

A mere few days later, the bloody landscape is repeated again in Iraq. A suicide bomber blew himself up and injured and killed scores of innocent men, women and children near a hospital in al Mahmudiyah.

Yet again, the same recurrent scenes… the women sobbing and the men carrying injured children who appear to have surrendered to their ailment. Not long ago screaming in anguish, their voices were no longer audible.

Anger and sadness soon dissipated as we focused on the latest developments from south Lebanon and the clashes between Hezbollah and the Israel army. We forgot the victims of Iraq and the plight of its citizens.

Countless other innocent Iraqis have died in recent days. Some died in what the US callously refers to as “collateral damage”, in an attempt to minimize the moral consequences of its actions and profit from our weak memory and a lack of accountability. Others fell victim to suicide bombers who had chosen the bloody road to paradise also seeking to profit from our inability to distinguish between resistance and terrorism. Many more were killed as a result of political and factional revenge attacks, a common occurrence in Iraq but seldom report in the media, such as the tribal sheikh who was killed along with his family as they slept in their beds.

These incidents were reported in the Arab media but the coverage left much to be desired. In effect, the meeting in Cairo and the skirmishes in south Lebanon received more attention.

Images from Iraq are fleeting shots that tell an incomplete story. No names, details or additional information are included in news bulletins. We are left wondering about the daily lives of Iraqi citizens who are just like us.

Photographs of injured Iraqi children, the victims of US fire, and their short lives are necessary to salvage the rest of Iraqi and ensure no one forgets. Remembering those killed by suicide bombers- irrational and unscrupulous- is equally crucial. If we refrain from telling the tale of the victims of Iraq, we are forgetting them and allowing the perpetrators to escape being held accountable… incomplete stories are quickly overlook and archived… Mass amnesia eats corrodes our humanity. Events that fill our screens should not be easily overlooked. Yet, this is exactly what we do.