Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Let's stop caring and things will improve

I believe that two things are the scourge of western society: an irresponsible (the word is chosen so as not to create offence) electorate and an overly abundant press. The second of these problems is closely related to something I find particularly annoying: the "civilian deaths" obsession.
Every time that something happens (particularly at the hand of the West) headlines scream about the civilian body count. Leaving aside that many so called civilians are not civilians at all, this reaction does not help anyone. First it motivates fighters to position themselves among civilians so as to use them as shield and second it causes civilians themselves to act foolishly. During the actual Iraq war (as opposed to the subsequent fighting) you could see civilians running around in the streets. Any Milanese or Londoner of the age of my grandparents would know that when you hear bombs flying you stay put, in those days because you knew they were aimed at you, today because, well, you never know. Cameras and headlines are no shield to the dying.
It might seem brutal but if we stop caring (by caring of course I mean the squeamish superficial care given by the average morning commuter) civilians death will significantly decrease.
There is a second point to be made, one concerning civilian responsibility. I will take as an example the civilians victims (victims to be intended as dead, injured or homeless) of the recent Israel incursion in Lebanon (which I do not necessarily consider to have been wise). A civilian is injured during an attack against Hizbullah: several options present themselves. The civilian is either an active supporter or a sympathizer of Hizbullah: in this case he is as responsible as an actual fighter. The civilian does not support Hizbullah: in this situation either he should chase the fighters away from his neighbourhood or, should this (very likely) fail, he should move because after that to blame Israel for his misfortune is like blaming a lightening if we casually lean over a lamppost during a thunderstorm. Let me stress the he can blame Israel, but as himself an active participant, not as a casual victim just as if I get strike by lightening I would say “Of course it is the storm’s fault, but I played no small part in leaning over a lamppost”. By excusing civilians in this situation again we are not doing them any favour: if we were to put blame (or, more neutrally, responsibility) where it truly stands, civilians who are actually innocent will certainly make an effort to distance themselves from the others.

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