Sunday, November 22, 2009

War in shop

One of the favourite American shops is called "Trader Joe".
It is basically a supermarket for food.
However, many products they sell are organic.
And the interior is cozy and attractive.
Hence, it is a pleasure to purchase in "Trader Joe" what one needs to feed the body.

What is also different in "Trader Joe" compared to regular supermarkets is the cashier.
It is made to look like a casual coincidence where the purchased items are transferred
in a most friendly way from the basket into paper bags.

Conclusion: shopping at "Trader Joe" is a great experience.

But then...

Then what?

On the wall behind the check-out counters is an exhibition of pictures.
Photographs.
Portraits only.
In the centre of these images is a sign saying: "Our local grown heroes".
And all of the pictures show faces of men and women in military uniform.
With each a small label revealing the name, the rank and the time in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This wall with its images reminds the happy shopper at "Trader Joe" of rather unhappy events elsewhere.
Two wars raging with people killed daily.
Going on for so long now that hardly any shopper stands still in front of the wall to reflect on the awful situation.
Americans shopping happily while compatriots are fighting on the other side of the world.

War has become a part of the American reality hardly anybody still gets excited about.
Pictures of soldiers who kill and are killed for reasons few still understand are put on the wall in a supermarket and life goes on as if nothing is the matter.
The war is far away from the doorstep.

Part of the slipping away of the awareness and the following denial is the classification of the American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Our local grown heroes".
But are these men and women actually heroes?
Or are they called like that just to soften and smooth the thinking?
To stop reflecting on what really is happening and for what reasons.

Wars that go on for too long lose the connection with the original intentions for starting them.
A war becomes something of itself.
It started somehow, it is going on and nobody knows how to stop it.
From something big it becomes a little nothing.
To see portraits of soldiers, death or still alive, on the wall in a supermarket and nobody pays them any attention anymore.

Meanwhile, every day, innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and now that the war has spread, also in Pakistan, die.
Meanwhile, every day the family members of the American soldiers live in fear.
Meanwhile, every day coffins with dead bodies return from the wars.
Meanwhile, every day soldiers return from the war who are physically and psychologically damaged for the rest of their lives.

While the collective forgets.
And the individual cries.


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3 comments:

Rajendar menen said...

Your comments are interesting. Recently an international organisation released a report that Iraq is the most dangerous place in the world followed by India. We have had more bomb blasts, insurgency, communal and naxalite violence etc etc than all the other countries in the world barring Iraq. Hundreds of thousands have died and the war in Kashmir has gone on for over 60 years and there is no end in sight. On the contrary, new wars are taking seed. Every single person who boards a train here to go to work or return home knows in the corner of his/her mind that this journey may well be the last. So the adrenaline pounds and life is lived at a fever pitch. Add new epidemics and pandemics, unemployment, corruption, lack of governance, police excesses and all the other travails of everyday living for a billion plus population and you get a whiff of hell.

Even the captured terrorist, one of those responsible for the 2008 Bombay carnage, is still being tried!! The one who bombed parliament years ago has still not been convicted.

So don't complain about the USA, pal. You are very safe there and can criticise easily because others are dying for you on foreign soil. Everyday life is not spent in dread because the anti terrorism laws are sound and in place.

International politics and wars are complicated. Not simple mathematics!!

Judy said...

America is not at war.
The U.S. Military is at war.
America is at the Mall.

If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!

Remember, Freedom isn't "Free" -- thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today!

Raj said...

I fully agree with Judy. No one wants war. But when you deal with crazed people, there is no other alternative but a show of force. Soldiers die to allow you to click and me to write in freedom. A lot of people in the world are closed to reason and compassion and free thinking.