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Blood Soaked Values

April 15, 2013


55 people died today, but I am not sure that many took notice. They lost their lives to fire and politics, wrath and fury. Blood was torn from their veins by an invention of the human mind, finding its form in the mechanical bombs that sparked disaster and diseased ideology.

These bodies did not lose their heartbeats in Boston. The bombs that stole these lives were not buried in America. Nor London, nor Paris. Can you tell me about the 55 lives that have been stolen today by indecent acts? Should you be judged if you could not?

They lost their lives because of politics. Yet, the world is tired of the tales from this place, and every other place constantly soaked in blood. There is no pleasantry in these places, where numbers make up headlines, but the places are exchangeable and interchangeable. Scrolling headlines of dead bodies are numbing and exhausting. If we were to throw care into these words and numbers they would consume us with their consistency. They numb us to the point that it does not matter anymore where these bodies pave the blood soaked streets. Because it is no one’s problem but those who behold it and make the problem so.

But now, bright red lines stream across American televisions and computer screens, screaming of blood and terror. Unlike those 55 bodies that linger cold in a different place, the number of bodies in Boston who inhabited life but do no longer and those that cling to life are on constant loop through these red lines on the American television. There is panic and there is fear, there are messages of hope and encouragement, there are cries for patriotism and demands for an answer.

While the answers to “Why?” and “What?” matter, without them the conclusions have already been made. Care. You must care. You have to care.

The politics of this blood spilt in Boston is of now unclear, and the verdict of “Why?” is another story not yet known. The politics of the 55 cold bodies is also unclear. But those 55 bodies proclaimed in a headline are not run constantly in red lines across a television screen. They once were, but they are no more. Because they lack importance? You tell me.

55 people died in Iraq today, but I am not sure that many took notice. It may have been 56 or 57, or perhaps more, perhaps less. But does the number matter as much? Because greater numbers in Chad and Syria have been bypassed. As tears fall for a number that remains in constant loop across American television screens, none fall for 55 cold bodies save those of their families.

Numbers are values, they will never be equal, but they all count. The greater inequality is in the politics that teach us not to care about the other sets of numbers, no matter how little or great their size.

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Photo credit: Scott Nelson

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