I’ve never seen a bomb drop. I’ve never felt genuine hunger. I’ve never had to walk until my feet bled. I’ve never seen a bullet hit a body. I’ve never physically pulled a trigger on a gun or witnessed the blood empty from a corpse. I’ve never seen lightning strike, but I have heard thunder. I can’t pretend I haven’t looked the other way; but, I can’t dig up the dead and say, “I’m sorry” because every inch of my apathy is covered in eulogies.
But, I can say that I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, feeling disoriented and confused, because something was missing. Something is missing and it cannot be bought or paid for in our consumer-driven society. There’s an emptiness lurking that cannot be shrugged away or ignored any longer. This country may be in a state of peace, but for its citizens, it is at war.
Our family trees have bodies hanging from the branches and this history is not just a hangover; it will not disappear with a bottle of water and an aspirin. Gas prices. Guns. Terrorism. Injustices. Famine. Machetes. Death. Weapons of mass destruction. Genocide. Rape. We cannot sleep this one off; we will continue to awaken with an uneasiness in our stomachs and a pain that we do not have the words to describe.
We are lucky. We are spoiled. But do we really believe our need for anti-depressants, alcohol, and drugs are unrelated to Baghdad? Denial is a gift to many, but really, I think we are all just sleeping. It is time we woke up.
This is Canada in 2007 and this is a war.