Through the Eyes of a Parent |

Through the Eyes of a Parent

My life changed forever when I held my baby girl as she took her first breath of life. I felt a love stronger than I thought I was emotionally capable of feeling. I felt the love that only a father can feel for his daughter. As a father, the thought of any harm coming to my daughter is unfathomable.

Even though I am new to parenthood, I realize that the love a parent has for a child is not unique to a single race, culture, or country. It is a universal feeling shared amongst all human beings. If we are to understand the sentiment of the people of Iraq, and if we are to leave Iraq having won the hearts of their people; then we must look at our current situation from a different perspective.

We must see the current situation through the eyes of a parent. I cringe when I hear someone exclaim, “I can’t understand why they don’t like us, we’re just trying to help them,” or “they should be thankful that we’re freeing them.” Tell the father holding his two dead daughters that we are trying to help him.

Explain to the grandmother whose only son and only grandchildren were blown up during our “shock and awe” rampage that we are trying to free her. As a father, I would sacrifice my life for the freedom of my children. But I cannot imagine the rage that I would feel if someone else decided for me that they were going to sacrifice my children for my freedom.

Since our invasion, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed-a number not reported by any mainstream media outlets. Through the eyes of a parent, we realize that all 100,000 plus victims of this war were someone’s son or daughter, and the pain of their death is just as real as the pain that we would feel for the loss of one of our children. We understand the pain and the anger that we felt when America lost 3,000 people in the attacks of 9/11; yet, we fail to understand the pain and anger of the Iraqi people after losing 100,000 civilians.

The dead are not just numbers to be placed in the textbooks of history. They are people-the sons, the daughters, and the grandchildren of Iraq. It is this reality with which we have lost touch. If we look through the eyes of a parent, we cannot simply write off over 100,000 deaths as “collateral damage.”

For a moment, we must try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We must not be too arrogant or too displaced from reality to realize that we are not the only ones that feel pain and anger at the wrongful death of a loved one.

Then we will understand why our country is divided over our actions and the world is appalled by them. How would we react if China decided to invade our country and free us from the corrupt oligarchy by which we are ruled? Would we line up to thank them after they killed 100,000 people to accomplish what they thought was best for us? For a country that is obsessed with reality on television, it is amazing that we are so blind to the realities of this war.

Our media doesn’t have the courage to report the civilian deaths in Iraq, and the administration has banned the photographing of the coffins of our dead soldiers.

Even if the media presents reality to us as if it were a sporting event or an action movie, we must strive to maintain a perspective of reality and conviction rather than the perspective of an audience. When we take on the perspective of a parent we realize that just because we turn off the television, doesn’t mean that this movie is over.

As much as the administration and the media have tried to hide from us the realities of the death of over 100,000 people, it is they, ironically, who have finally opened up our eyes to what this much death looks like.

The war in Iraq has taken a back seat in news coverage to the Asian Tsunamis. It is the medias coverage of this event that has finally shown us the pain, the devastation, and the utter horror of over 100,000 dead bodies.

Now, maybe we can grasp the destruction that we have caused the people of Iraq. Now we have been shown what this much death looks like, what kind of people would write it off as “collateral damage”?

Shane Valdez is a resident of Grass Valley. His column, “In Layman’s Terms,” can be read on his Web site at .

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