Friday, 17 July 2009

Tell them that it's Human Nature

i received a forwarded email today. i don't know of it's authenticity. i don't particularly care. it touched a raw nerve. my response, as i mailed back, was far tamer in text than my temper would ordinarily allow. the email's s'posed to be the ranting of a US soldier in Iraq who's miffed at America's concern shown at Michael Jackson's death, and the lack of it when soldiers die. I'm putting up the forwarded mail, and my response, just for kicks...


Okay, I need to rant.

I was just watching the news, and I caught part of a report on Michael Jackson . As we all know, Jackson died the other day. He was an entertainer who performed for decades. He made millions, he spent millions, and he did a lot of things that make him a villian to many people. I understand that his death would affect a lot of people, and I respect those people who mourn his death, but that isn't the point of my rant.

Why is it that when ONE man dies, the whole of America loses their minds with grief. When a man dies whose only contribution to the country was to ENTERTAIN people, the Amercian people find the need to flock to a memorial in Hollywood , and even Congress sees the need to hold a "moment of silence" for his passing?

Am I missing something here? ONE man dies, and all of a sudden he's a freaking martyr because he entertained us for a few decades? What about all those SOLDIERS who have died to give us freedom? All those Soldiers who, knowing that they would be asked to fight in a war, still raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution and the United States of America . Where is there moment of silence? Where are the people flocking to their graves or memorials and mourning over them because they made the ultimate sacrifice? Why is it when a Soldier dies, there are more people saying "good ridence," and "thank God for IEDs?" When did this country become so calloused to the sacrifice of GOOD MEN and WOMEN, that they can arbitrarily blow off
thier deaths, and instead, throw themselves into mourning for a "Pop Icon?"

I think that if they are going to hold a moment of silence IN CONGRESS for Michael Jackson, they need to hold a moment of silence for every service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan . They need to PUBLICLY
recognize every life that has been lost so that the American people can live their callous little lives in the luxory and freedom that WE, those that are living and those that have gone on, have provided for them. But, wait, that would take too much time, because there have been so many willing to make that sacrifice. After all, we will never make millions of dollars. We will never star in movies, or write hit songs that the world will listen too. We only shed our blood, sweat and tears so that people can enjoy what they have.

Sorry if I have offended, but I needed to say it. Feel free to pass this along if you want.

Remember these five words the next time you think of someone who is serving in the military; "So that others may live..."

[My response]

To the brave soldier in Iraq, and all others that are interested,
From your phraseology, it is evident that you are American. Since you are in Iraq ostensibly to foster democracy, of which the Freedom of Speech and Expression forms an integral part, you will not begrudge me my little reply to your ranting.
At the outset, let me be very clear of one thing; you are a soldier. You fight for your country, you follow orders and you do the best you can (to give you the benefit of the doubt). Your actions and decisions on the field are dictated by your commanding officers and they in turn must seek their instructions from civilian bureaucrats and politicians. So even if you are fighting a senseless, dirty war leading to incalculable loss in terms of money, property and, above all, lives, you are only doing what you believe is your job for your country, which lends a certain degree of credibility to you personally. Thus, even though you do not fight for my country, I appreciate and laud the sacrifice that you make for your own country "so that others may live" (even though many others must die at the same time, but that's not the point of this email).
You have rightly pointed out some of the sacrifices you and others like you are required to make in service of your country. But I am surprised that you have overlooked one other thing that you must sacrifice in the line of duty- individual recognition. You righly feel that the sacrifice of every soldier in the battlefield should be realised and appreciated. Certainly the feeling of security among the citizens of your country is largely at the cost of the lives of many such as yourself. Evidently several war memorials, parades, massive graveyards and walls with names of martyred soldiers is not enough recognition for each of you, and you would like Congress to have moments of silence for the loss of each one of you. This might seem reasonable to you considering you risk your lives to do your jobs. It feels nice to be thought about individually. But in service of your country, you are told repeatedly to be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. You may believe it's your physical life they're talking about, but what they also mean is that you have to accept your fate as being one who may be trampled and forgotten "so that others may live." I'm afraid you're going to have to be satisfied with a flag over your coffin, trumpets and gunfire at your funeral, and your name etched in a wall, should you die in the line of duty.
Now let's talk about Michael Jackson. You complained of the reaction of a nation to the death of "ONE man". I beg to differ. Michael Jackson wasn't (isn't) "ONE man". Michael Jackson is an idea, a phenomenon, a dream and a miracle. One that asked us to talk to the man in the mirror and ask him to change his ways. One that repeatedly reminded us that it doesn't matter if you're black or white. One that moved in a manner that dazzled generations of people of all races, in all parts of the world, and forced us to wonder how the human body is capable of such magic fluidity of motion. One whose voice touched the hearts of billions of people, including those who didn't even understand the meaning of the words that carried the voice. He opened a world of music, intrinsic and endemic to a historically downtrodden race of people, to the world, thereby also opening the gates for people of all races to celebrate their music in an industry earlier dominated by white skin. Despite terrible allegations, decidedly strange behaviour, and after being reduced to little more than a caricature during the final years of his lifetime in the popular music industry, he still managed to move the world by his death.
You are wrong, Sir, to consider Michael Jackson's influence to be limited to making just one nation grieve his loss. Millions (perhaps billions) of people in several countries of the world have had to accept the bitter fact of his demise. I know I am one of them. But, even you will acknowledge that, growing up, you watched Michael Jackson perform, you heard his songs, and maybe you even loved him for it.
Yes, Michael Jackson was an entertainer. But he didn't just sing songs, make music videos, and take a bow. Through his music he became one with the subjects of his songs, and when those subjects were the starving and downtrodden millions, he mocked the affluent world exclaiming that they don't really care about us. Yes, he was rich, but he stood with the poor and asked us all to heal the world.
For the sake of brevity, I will not extol his virtues any further.
I'm sorry many people don't appreciate the worth of a soldier. I am also sorry you don't appreciate the worth of Michael Jackson.
Bikram Chaudhuri
An MJ fan