To the Editors of The Crimson:
Jews across the world celebrated the Passover Seder, the ritual retelling of the Exodus, this past weekend. This is a joyous holiday, as everyone knows. However, it is not unmitigatedly happy. Integral to the Seder is the spilling of drops of wine in memory of the plagues visited on the Egyptians; we honor their suffering. On the day preceding the first night of Passover, the Fast of the First-Born is observed in mourning for all the Egyptians, innocent youths and guilty taskmakers alike, who perished so that the Jewish people could be liberated. We are not permitted to celebrate our victory without appropriately recognizing the dignity the humanity, of the defeated.
Clearly, we Americans have forgotten that fundamental lesson: Our victory in the Persian Gulf came only at great human cost to the Iraqis. I do rejoice at the punishment of aggression; I am relieved that my friends who are members of our armed forces are safe. However, I am disgusted at the disregard for Iraqi life by American policymakers, military strategists and news media. Most of all, I am shocked at the way most Americans are ignoring the carnage in Iraq. The dead Iraqi soldiers, civilian men, women and children must be mourned. We must take responsibility for their deaths. They were killed by our military, in the name of our ideals and for the preservation of our advantage in the region.
We must never forget that a military victory can only be achieved by adding to the suffering of humanity. In the end, even our lives will not be enriched unless positive action is taken to alleviate the causes of suffering and resentment in the Middle East and in the U.S., the killing will continue. Unless we learn to mourn for our victims, for all victims, we will lose our own human dignity. Jonathan Dresner