Some days I feel the weight of the world bearing down on my chest. An intense fear and a deep sadness when I look deeply into the suffering of a child, whether from war wounds, disfigurement or otherwise. It’s a hopeless, empty fear. I feel helpless and so frustrated and sad. I just finished watching most of “Aftermath: The Remnants of War”. It was possibly the most moving piece of work I’ve seen all year on television.
It’s a disgusting, horrifying chain of events in history that leads me into this dark, deep hole. Seeing it laid out on the screen in front of me, I feel weak. Tonight I lay on my sofa and watch the documentary focusing on “wars that never end”. A presentation of the deadly leftovers of wars in modern memory and the physical legacy they’ve left behind. Shells across France. Bones and munitions in Russia. Agent Orange and Dioxins in Vietnam. Mines in Bosnia.
All of this is a world and an age away. None of this comes close to home… except the pain in the realization of the grand scale of horror this brings to millions of fellow humans in these areas around the world. We live in a very, very fragile time.
Perhaps the most vivid image for me was that of the suffering children in Vietnam. Maybe it’s because since becoming a Dad, issues dealing with the suffering of children are amplified so greatly, striking deep at my heart. Most of the Vietnam war there is a blur to me. Broken memories of news items, various documentaries and photo collections and of course all of Hollywood’s takes on the subject spatter my mind and memory.
Most of it is a real or fairly decent representation, but so much more goes untold. The massive scale of the deployment of Agent Orange in Vietnam is mind boggling. This poison/herbicide is not to be taken lightly. It lasts ages and damages greatly. It is linked to hundreds of thousands of birth defect cases and poisoning in areas where it was used in Vietnam, yet the U.S. Government doesn’t want to pay reparations. The Canadian biologist said it best “there is a general saying, he who pollutes is expected to clean up after himself. That hasn’t happened here.” How shameful.
I don’t know what to do with this. I feel torn. The frustration and sadness builds not just from the outward facts here, but the chain of events which lead to the unfolding and the absolute horrors of war. I’ve said it here before; freedom isn’t free. It’s an eternal human paradox – there is no peace without war. And it continues today while thousands and thousands of men and women fight in battles raging around the world. Maybe it will come close to home some day. Maybe they’ll make a documentary about my corner of the world. Maybe some day humans will take the God given gifts of reason, love, logic and wisdom and use them for the greater good. Maybe some day pigs will fly.