Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Imagine for one moment...

Let's imagine you, for a moment.
You live in a relatively secular, cosmopolitain city, raised in a culture that you have always known.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this culture is one that you know is far from perfect, but one you understood: It's authoritarian, and therefore, to you, Mr Average Citizen, it is one you have always been familiar with: From your strict parents, to your teachers, to your friends' families, there has always been authoritarianism in your life.

You are aware of the benefits of this life; you are also aware of the risks. Despite this authoritarianism, each citizen is left free to decide whether to conform to society's mandate or rebel. You are aware of the benefits offered to conformity, you are aware of the risks of non-conformity.
Now, imagine a hostile foreign country, a foreign country that your own country has gone to war with coutless times in the past, attacks and invades your country and destroys the life you have always known.
Everything is changed--dramatically. There's no more television, no more telephone. No electricity, heat, running water or shelter. No job to go to--because your city's downtown core has been reduced to smouldering piles of rubble. You've lost friends. You've lost family. You've lost everything you've ever taken for granted, everything you've ever known, everything you have ever understood.
After this shock-and-awe bombing attack, your government is overthrown, and people who have been disloyal to that government--a government you have never liked, but always accepted--are applauding the first divisions of enemy soldiers marching through the streets.
Imagine promises made by these troops--promises of a swift end to the outages, of rebuilding your country, of ushering in a new way of life--promises made by their leaders, are broadcast everywhere for you to hear.
Imagine that instead, the foreign government's corporate sponsors come in, and institute the kind of horrible, criminal corruption that you'd only heard of, in reference to the countries of the Former Soviet Union.
Imagine finally being fed up of the cahos and deciding that it was better to do something, to fight back against this invading force than to just accept that your entire life was a cahotic ruin.
Now imagine that isntead of being an American, or a Canadian or a European that you are an Iraqi.
Just imagine.