In the dwindling hours of 2011, an anonymous subscription-fairy bought me a lifetime subscription to Dailykos.
I have expressed my astonishment and gratitude in comments of various diaries, but I say it here again: thank you, subscription fairy. Thank you for thinking so highly of me, (a commenter with only two diaries thusfar), and giving so generously. I hope my contributions prove worthy of your faith.
As such, I feel moved to propose a topic for a series that has twinged my conscience for quite some time. It may not be what you, my subscription fairy, thought I would do with your gift. It may even anger you, that I would take the prompting of your gift to propose this. I hope not. What I wish to do is no more and no less than to remember the dead.
For every U.S. or Coalition serviceperson who has died in Iraq or Afghanistan, thousands of Iraqis and Afghans have died. We, the United States of America, brought these wars to their lands. We brought death from the sky and death in the night and death upon the celebrations of their weddings.
We have brought radiation that will poison their lands and their descendants into times when their names and their tongues and even the very wars that brought the poison will be forgotten.
And then, we dare to dismiss all that, to forget it.
It makes sense that we would forget, as we turn our eyes homeward, as we are tormented by our bankers and our rulers; as we are worried for our neighbors, our parents and children, our homes. But it is not ours to forget. As Americans, we all bear a responsibility; even those who, like me, opposed both wars from the start.
What I wish is for a series like I Got The News Today, only for Iraqis and Afghans. Not a rebuke or criticism of IGTNT, but a companion. A series where we'd look beyond numbers, beyond news reports, beyond empty words like "insurgents" or "collateral damage", to see non-Americans killed in our wars as people, as individuals.
I would call the series "Our War Dead", or to broaden it to non-fatalities, "Our War Losses." Not just because these are our wars, but because I hope that we (and I include myself) could learn to see "the enemy", the Other, the distant brown Muslim foreigners, as human beings no less than ourselves. That we could expand our concept of "us" to include all of humanity. This would be a project not just of remembrance, but of humanization; for the rhetorical violence done when we de-humanize entire peoples is but a prelude to actual violence.
I have held off on proposing this series for many reasons. I do not have the energy to run the series myself. I do not want to anger people. I do not read Arabic, Dari, or Pashto. I have no source to draw from to get the information we'd need. And I have no idea if there would be any interest in such a series, here.