Fatima A few weeks ago I watched Oprah stage her input into the plight of the American soldier in Iraq and Afghansitan. She assembled the families of returning troops in her studio without them knowing that the actual soldiers were there too. Classic set-up emotionalism so typical of Oprah, and American television in general.
Somewhere in between watching emotional scenes of reunions, children hanging onto fathers and mothers who have been away, and loving embraces between loved ones, I felt a certain resentment.
My resentment was first directed at Oprah. I thought "damn why is she making a nationalistic statement about troops and their families?"
Well I knew the answer almost immediately. It sells. And Oprah is a salesperson first. She is playing to the glossed-over majority mindset in America that mostly excuses the troops from their vicious role. The "I Support our Troops" and their families so bring them home from that war 'over there' mentality is profitable in these terms.
The troops in this sense are not held responsible for their actions. They are rather seen as victims of what is now an unpopular war. If there is brutality to be recognized, well then the excuse is that they are merely carrying out orders.
It is here that my greater sense of resentment was directed. I could barely watch the service men and women embrace their families without thinking about the mass terror and murders their voluntary service has enabled.
Brown, Black, and white troops. Poor and patriotic. I needed to be careful about throwing all these into one bucket of resentment. But I found myself not caring anyway. Who speaks for the suffering of Iraqi's and Afghans? The senseless murder of innocents. The rape and prostitution forced on a people in the name of democracy.
Well not Oprah, of course. Not one word was spoken, not one tear was shed, for the millions who cannot reunite with their families or loved ones on Oprah's stage.