I’m having a hard time dealing with all the intensive coverage of the war in Iraq. Everywhere I turn war is staring me in the face, whether it’s on the television or the front page of the morning news. I feel terrible for the innocent people living through this war in Iraq. I feel helpless that I can do nothing to help them get through this horrible time in their lives, and even feel guilty that I sit comfortably in my house with no worries while mothers fear for their children’s safety and women wonder if their husbands will make it home. How do people deal with these feelings?
Traumatized in Terrace, B.C.
War is never pretty, and it’s not something that the media should be turning into a ratings game. Society does not need 24-hour coverage and exposure to graphic images of the war. It’s evident by the recent marches all around the world, particularly the one this weekend in New York where 200,000 people marched in protest of the war, that you are not the only one deeply troubled by this war.
Since it has become apparent that no amount of protesting is going to stop this war any time in the near future, society needs to be able to deal with their feelings. You may be feeling horrible, yet your neighbour may be feeling proud. I believe that most people feel this war is wrong (not that taking out Hussein is wrong, just the way the US is doing it with the “shock and awe” campaign against all of Iraq), but there are people who will be close minded and will believe that all Iraqi’s are just like Hussein and therefore a “few” of them dying won’t matter. But it’s more than a few that are dying or being injured. To the close-minded people, I encourage you to educate yourself about the other side of the story. Don’t just listen to what the media tells you. Read as many differing viewpoints as you can so that you are informed enough to actually have an opinion of your own. Most importantly, respect other’s opinions. On the issue of war vs. peace, we must agree to disagree. In view of the fact that we cannot express the moral superiority of our position, we should respect others’ positions even if they disagree with our own.
Once you learn to respect other’s feelings about the war, how do you deal with your own? Praying seems to increase in times of distress in the world. I do not belong to any religious group, but I am spiritual. I do believe that there is a God and my conversations with him have increased dramatically over the last couple of weeks. It really helps to articulate your feelings in prayer, to an understanding friend or to a blank sheet of paper. Write your confusions, frustrations and anger out to help cleanse your mind of the free flowing thoughts that the barrage of media coverage has instilled in there.
Stay away from the coverage of the war. The up to the minute updates informing us about the number of bombs dropped only adds to our helplessness and feelings of fear for ourselves and those in the middle of the war. Do all you can to feel like you are making a contribution to keeping this world safe and secure. Participate in marches and demonstrations, even if the group’s voice is only heard at a whisper, you will still be with people who share the same feelings you do and you won’t feel like you are doing anything anymore. The organizers of these groups will also be able to inform you about other measure’s to take to try and end this war or possibly to help the citizens of Iraq in the aftermath.
Most importantly, keep a positive outlook. Be optimistic that this war will end soon and that a minimal amount of lives will be lost. Do not give up on humanity, remember that the majority of this world is good and kind and do your best to keep contributing so that it stays that way.
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This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of firstname.lastname@example.org