Friday, January 13, 2012

Response to Marine Urinating Dead Bodies

Only a few really know the cost of war, no one can really claim to understand what's happening out there only by sitting on their couch and watching BBC's documentation on war, just like no one understands tragedy and suffering without actually having your life tied to it, no matter how many movies you watch about death or even the holocaust.

After watching the video of soldiers urinating on dead corpse, and seeing the condemnation the whole world threw at them, I started to think. Of course, that was a stupid act, a 'completely inhuman', and 'utterly deplorable'. But still, granted that, what cause it? What is this shock viralling on the media?

Viktor E. Frankl, a holocaust survivor, in his book "Man's Search for Meaning" wrote that the prisoners upon witnessing so many scenes of beating, are hardened morally and mentally. Their impulse toward violence is increased (add to that the bereavement from food and rest), thus their capacity to handle, tolerate and commit violence is catapulted as well.

Not only the prisoners, the guards are also slowly transformed into a darker evil upon seeing and living and committing act of brutality in an increasing dosage. It dulls you, and suddenly gassing the Jews is not so bad at all. Let alone beating them or withholding food ration and in this case peeing on dead bodies. This kind of hellish environment forces the prisoner's life (and the guards as well) down to a primitive level, where humans cease to have meaning, merely an object, a thing, a weightless matter.

In a pretty much similar fashion, these soldiers are made to commit some atrocious acts which unlike the peeing video, never being taped and posted on Youtube - destroying community, shooting people on their head, bombing houses, and having to watch their friends being tortured and murdered on the battlefield. We often shriek and close our eyes upon watching such gruesome acts in a war or horror movie, these guys see it too often to even bother to close their eyes anymore. 

The urinating incident is indeed grotesque and insensitive, yet are we planting the seed at the first place? These people are put in hell; these are people who are commanded to 'kill on sight' upon seeing another human being and then to celebrate his death while the family, mother and daughter of that person gasping for breath trying to understand the gruesome reality of war. When morality is being taken out of the equation, when such immoral acts are their daily consumption, could they be blamed for urinating on dead bodies? 

If we were to be so "deeply troubled" at this incident, maybe what the world needs is a world without war after all. Maybe instead of putting all effort to bring justice to this, we should put greater effort in ending the war. Maybe war, even the most 'normal' activity of war, should trouble us greater, than the urination. 

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