OP-EDS

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January 16, 2004

Wartime images come home

Two of the Maroon staff members were deeply moved after attending An Evening with Brian Avery, an event sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine. Regardless of their feelings toward the cause for which Avery spoke, they felt the sight of his disfigurement connected a real person with the violence occuring on both sides of the conflict, continuing even this week with a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis.

It is easy to seek refuge in academia, but some realities are too harsh to ignore. Our generation has already shouldered the burden of seeing friends, siblings, and classmates go to war, and there are more losses to come. Perhaps we can learn from our parents, who witnessed loved ones return from Vietnam irrevocably changed—or perhaps some education is earned only through experience.

Many images proliferate during wartime, and it is often difficult to separate fact, fiction, and the misleading mixture of the two. It seems painfully obvious that war is not a cause for celebration, but where does patriotism end and jingoism begin? When does faith stop being good and start being blind? The Maroon does not purport to answer these questions. We only wish to posit that it is easy for us to debate, in our safe environments with relatively detached involvement.

It is unreasonable to expect everyone—possibly anyone—to visit the front lines before formulating a position about war. What is entirely reasonable is to realize that academia does not hold all of the answers. As two members of the Maroon staff discovered, sometimes seeing the face of someone permanently disfigured by violence is a valuable component.