Friday, May 05, 2006
hey, how about a little white liberal guilt with your morning coffee?
Assuming you have a nine year old son (or thereabouts), what did Junior do this morning? have some breakfast (assuming there's enough food for breakfast at your house), collect his homework (assuming he goes to an offsite educational facility), tease his sister/brother, that sort of thing...what did you ask him this morning over his orange juice and froot loops (assuming you are fortunate enough to serve breakfast at your house)? "Did you change your underwear? Did you finish your math? will you stop pulling your sister's hair? Did you remember your shin guards? "
I think it's safe to assume (if nothing else is safe to assume) that if you live in the US, you probably did not ask your dear little boy "do you have enough ammunition for your AK-47?"
Nine-year-olds with machine guns. http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs1093;_ylt=Aq2z_Xc9AVdesHD9OZZturG7u8wF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjM3FjYjBzBHNlYwNibG9nLXN1bQ--
Think for a moment. I'm sure you've seen this story before. I know I have. but take a second and really think about it. Child soldiers.
One shudders to think, and should.
My pestilential exhusband, for all his faults (and they are extensive), said a few interesting and educational things over the seven years we were together. One of the things he said was "the heaviest knapsack is the one on your own back."
Although I would be justified in discrediting every thing he ever said or did based simply on the fact that he hit me, and is a depraved monster incapable of practical empathy, self-control or even basic human kindness, I have to admit this is a pretty pithy little statement.
However, I would argue that no matter how heavy our own knapsacks are, brimming over as they are with all this egregious oppression and persecution and patriarchy and porn and blah blah blah, we here in the US (and in Europe, I guess) have NO IDEA what real oppression is, compared to children used as weaponized human flesh.
they win. child soldiers are more oppressed than us. They're more oppressed than me, than you, than just about everyone I know and everyone you know, unless you know some child soldiers yourself. They're not really children. they're not even adults. they occupy some no-man's land of depravity and ignorance of human dignity, and it's not their fault.
What causes this? Pornography? I venture to guess that these boys have witnessed and experienced and maybe even perpetrated rape in ways too painful and soul-searing for our virgin minds to even imagine, but I'd be surprised if any one of them have ever encountered a Playboy magazine or Vivid Video. I'd be surprised if any one of them would blame a nekkid picture, or lookers at nekkid pictures, for their plight.
What causes this? The Patriarchy? Colonialism? Rampant capitalism? Or just a handful of men out for revenge against other men (for any reason, or no reason, in service to the Patriarchy or maybe just on account of because), who look to the cheapest and easiest source of cannon fodder to get over on their enemies?
just something I was ruminating on. share and enjoy.
The burden (knapsack) of guilt. It's pretty interesting I guess.
FWIW, I think that child soldiers are direct products of warzones. You're 9 years old and your parents get shot. You find a gun.
Capitalism is probably one of the primary causes of war in impoverished parts of the world right now though. Racism helps the west ignore it obviously, but the fact that we (North America and Europe) directly profit economically benefit from destabilising foreign economies and leeching resources is probably far more powerful than any ideology based on skin tone.
My main question though, would be what is the use of feeling guilty, and how can we make our guilt useful.
I mostly define think of the useful sort of guilt as the sort that makes you want to make things better. I don't personally find my urges to try and make the world better burdensome or feel the need to focus on one particular avenue of theory (feminism for instance) like a lot of people seem to. I'm not entirely sure why this is. My feeling is that we shouldn't just feel guilty about isolated incidents, because those incidents don't happen in isolation. That said, I'm not sure what practically can be done. I don't have a lot of resources, and what I do have involves standing in a group of protestors and being corralled and knocked about by cops which has a sort of noble glamour to it but doesn't do a whole lot to fix anything.
I'm just wondering if there's any way we can do enough so that we can say one day we don't need to feel guilty.
yeah, I come from a very "guilt-based" culture myself. (nice secular humanist left-leaning Jewish girl with several classic Jewish Mothers in the mix). As I understand it, the general idea is/was a good one, that yes, the whole point is that you alleviate it by making amends to those who've been hurt (works-based rather than faith-based). But at a certain point it becomes an entity in its own right, the guilt. ime it gets heavily channeled into an overall sense of anxiety and "it's never enough," and even "I am a bad person" rather than just "I did a bad thing."--which is where guilt turns into shame (as I understand it. i have seen other definitions of the difference between guilt and shame, which i am still pondering).
because where else can the guilt go, if you're responsible for something "bad" but can't seem to do anything to make it better?