Sunday, March 23, 2003

i just saw al-jazeera coverage that featured close-ups of dead american soldiers.

they seem to have shots to the head, their faces are covered with dust or burned and smeared with blood, but are still recognisable, their combat gear is torn, their underwear exposed, their bodies are being handled roughly by those presenting them to the cameras.
i feel for the mothers and fathers and partners of these dead soldiers, just like i feel for those who have to endure the bombings (like mentioned before, compassion is all encompassing). i can not imagine what it must be like to see your loved ones this way, dead in the evening news, being shown off.

these images made me think of hannes wader's song "es ist an der zeit", a song that always moved me.

"es blieb nur das kreuz als einzige spur
von deinem leben, doch hoer meinen schwur
fuer den frieden zu kaempfen und wachsam zu sein
faellt die menschheit noch einmal auf luegen herein
dann kann es geschehn, dass bald niemand mehr iebt,
niemand, der die milliarden von toten begraebt.
doch laengst finden sich mehr und mehr menschen bereit,
diesen krieg zu verhindern, es ist an der zeit"

it's actually the german version -with different, more hopeful, optimistic, activist wording, of the song "no man's land" by eric bogle.

"and I can't help but wonder now, willie mcbride,
do all those who lie here know why they died?
did you really believe them when they told you "the cause?"
did you really believe that this war would end wars?
well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
the killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
for willie mcbride, it's all happened again,
and again, and again, and again, and again."


post script: it's just been reported round here that there seems to be an agreement between us tv stations to not show the al-jazeera footage of the dead soldiers for now. the us military wants to make sure they can contact the families of the soldiers first. there is also footage of captured us soldiers, which won't be shown either, but has been shown round here, too.
taking images of the pow, btw, is a violation of article 13 of the third geneva convention relative to the treatment of pow: "...prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity".
the us however, in the past hasn't been too good at abiding to the conventions, either.