July 22, 2006

Sending a Message

This image of Israeli children writing messages on missiles destined for Lebanon creates a distinct queasiness. At first, there is disgust, but it's laced with ambiguity. Are we to think that hatred is so rife in Israel that even children thirst for the blood of Arabs? Some say yes.

For children to hate, it must be learned, so who has done the teaching here? Although a bunker-bound Israeli's blog suggested this picture was set up by the press, Columbia Journalism Review tells another version in which the children were just copying their parents who had just emerged from a 5 day stay in a bomb shelter.

Corrupted innocence is disturbing, but a greater burden lies in knowing that hatred and war are the lessons we teach our children.

It may be a comfort to consider that these girls passing notes on missiles are merely playing. Like George W. Bush playing soldier on an aircraft carrier, playing war has little to do with real war. So, like the Commander and Chief, these girls have very little understanding that the missiles with which they play, are the same missiles that destroy the children of Lebanon.

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