Every Life is Sacred
By Merrily Davies
to the total number of Iraqis we have killed Colin Powell responded
in a briefing last spring, "That
is a number in which I have no interest." There have been
independent estimates, but the government keeps no official record.
Yet, the lives of these people are enormously important, because
we share their humanity.
Followers of Christianity, Islam and Judaism are
known as "the people of the book" for their common reverence
for the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. All three
religions trace their origin back to the patriarch Abraham. The
Bible in Genesis tells us that after God created the heavens and
earth, grass, herb yielding seed, fruit trees, living creatures,
and human beings, "God saw everything that he had made and
behold it was very good." And so we recognize the goodness
and common humanity of all people, including the people of Iraq.
as 15,000 Iraqis were killed in the first days of America's invasion
and occupation of Iraq, approximately 30% of those being civilian
noncombatants. Counting the time since the war "officially"
ended on April 9, there have been between
8000 and 10,000 civilian deaths.
How did these people die? Reading
down the list......by explosion, rocket propelled grenade, gunfire,
gunfire, gunfire, car bomb, ammunition truck explosion, gunfire,
roadside bomb, grenade mortars, and on and on.
And who were these people?.....they were civilians passing in vehicles
during a bomb attack on a convoy, a deputy mayor, demonstrating
ex-soldiers, a journalist, a policeman, 3 children, women, a senior
doctor, and so on.
following is an account of some of the deaths, "...a local
man, possibly a former Ba'ath party official started shooting a
handgun. The British then opened fire, `It was about 10:15 AM and
the market was very crowded' said Mr. Younis. 'I threw myself on
the ground and shouted to everybody to run away or get down. The
shooting lasted for about 5 minutes but there were bullets going
everywhere. They were firing on automatic'. At least 17 people were
hit. They included a 13 year old girl caught by a ricochet in the
shoulder and a nine year old boy. Several other casualties have
spinal injuries and multiple fractures. In all 5 men died from their
Every individual is precious. Every life is sacred. Every life lost
violently and tragically affects the family circle it was once a
part of. Every individual will have brothers and sisters, sons and
daughters, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands who will love
them and mourn their loss for a long time to come.
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the Biblical account
of creation. If you are of a more scientific bent, perhaps you will
appreciate the astronomer, the late Carl Sagan's interpretation.
That is, "We are the embodiment of a cosmos grown to self awareness.
We are star stuff, pondering the stars." So, either we are
the sons and daughters of God, or we are the offspring of the cosmos
and the stars. Either way, we, all human beings, inherit an incredible
pedigree. We owe it not only to ourselves and other human beings
to live and let live, but also to the rest of Earth's children,
the plants and animals. But, in a larger sense, we also owe it to
that God or that universe, immense, ancient and eternal in which
we live and move and have our being.
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