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Perspective (post VT thought) May 9, 2007

Posted by peterong in Reflections.



This is something that I wanted to say for sometime and didn’t know how to articulate it.. But in an segment of Bill Moyers Journal where he interviews Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. You can see the full transcript here or watch the video here. They talked about Stewart’s interview with Ali Allawi:
JON STEWART: On a more personal note …I don’t even know ifit’s appropriate to broach it … but we in this country we have a verytragic situation occur at one of our universities and, it really hastaken the country aback and there’s a real grieving process that we’regoing through, And going through it mourning and learning about thevictims and-learning about it and showing our support, you know, Ihesitate to say, how does your country handle what is that type ofcarnage on a daily basis? Is there a way to grieve? Is there a numbnessthat sets in? How is that?

ALI ALLAWI: Well, I think the scale of violence in Iraq is really inconceivable in your terms…


ALI ALLAWI: We have, on a daily basis, what you had the otherday in Virginia Tech. I mean massacres of that scale. Practically on adaily basis and it’s very hard to grieve. Most of the-most of the waythat people do treat this is just to leave the country. We now have avery large external refugee problem. Nearly two million Iraqis haveleft the country and internal refugee problem also, too many peopledisplaced.

But the scale of violence and its continuity is such that it reallynumbs you. And in my case for example I had 6 people whom I hadappointed at various positions in the government killed, including myoffice manager. We had this suicide bomber walk in to my contingent ofguards. It’s quite a-quite a serious psychological problem that’s goingto be one of the legacies of this terrible crisis.

JON STEWART: Yes, and I truly, I cannot fathom it and Ijust recall, you know, there’s been so much information and I wasbecoming wrapped up in our grief and then I saw the headline today ofliterally 150 people killed and–it just sends an awful dagger to yourheart … like I can’t imagine how they deal with it.

Jon Stewart later states: JON STEWART: With him. Well, it– I thought it was relevantto the conversation I was having with him. Which was a the reason that it– sort of occurred to me was you know, I was I was obviouslyfollowing the Internet headlines all day. And there was you know, thisenormous amount of space and coverage to Virginia Tech, as there should have been. And I happened to catch, sort of a headline lower down,which was 200 people killed in four bomb attacks in Iraq. And I think my focus on what was happening here versus sort of this peripheral vision thing that caught my eye about, “Oh, right, there are lives–” I think it was a moment of– I felt guilty.BILL MOYERS: Guilty?

JON STEWART: For not having the empathy for their suffering on a daily basis that I feel sometimes that I should.

It stirred in me, that I have not had the empathy for those who are suffering in Iraq…there are lives who have been so forgotten…

 I pray for my conscience to awake and weep…they are having Virginia Tech every day…every hour…and yet, I am becoming so callous to it.



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