Surreal Juxtapositions
By Bart Vogelzang

As I sat in my living room, watching a bit of TV, I was interested but hardly enthralled by a show about life changes, and in particular some women who needed and received free breast operations. One needed reduction, and the other felt she needed enlargement. It is hardly my place, nor concern, to make comments on the need and validity of this kind of surgical intervention. I really don’t know how much emotional trauma these women had, nor the medical complications that might have resulted if no corrections had been made. However, something else happened that jarred me terribly.

I have a tendency to check my email on my smart phone while I’m watching TV, which is probably a nasty habit, but I just never know what vitally important email might be waiting for me to act upon. In the last hour I’d received 18 emails, which is sort of typical. Not so typical, thank goodness, is the request to help out by signing an online petition. I subscribe to a number of those ‘services’ and I always think deeply about whether or not to sign.

Online signing of petitions is a relatively new form of public protest, based on the long-standing traditional one. Unlike ‘regular’ petitions, there is no scrutiny of your identity, a verification of you being a legitimate person with a right to actually sign a protest petition. However, I still feel that when you sign such a thing you are responsible for at least agreeing with the goals, so I don’t sign all of those requests. I know some people will think that is silly, but that’s me, responsible even when there is no legal requirement; just like I stop at traffic lights and stop signs even if I’m in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t another car for several miles in any direction.

This time, the petition is to stop governments from reinstating cluster bombs. It seems that these bombs explode, ejecting a multitude of mini-bombs called bomblets, some of which don’t explode; immediately. That is the biggest problem…they are effectively just like landmines in that they lay there, wherever they’ve fallen, ready to be touched by some farmer, an animal, or a child. Kids who weren’t even alive at the time of the original conflict can find them years afterwards. It blows them into agonized bits of shredded flesh and they slowly die from those wounds. Getting this petition request, a day after a marathon of watching the horrors of the bombings on London and Coventry England at the beginning of World War 2, makes me just ill, thinking about the mentality of anyone who would even consider making such a device. What on earth is in the head of someone that they can design, build and use a non-specific ‘weapon’ that cannot be controlled once sent on its way? How can any right thinking person even conceive of killing someone else…but that aside, how can one make something so indiscriminate in its killing field.

Imagine my disgust that it is the USA that is actually at the forefront of this industry and the efforts to allow these depraved bombs to be manufactured and used. Here I am, watching TV and seeing massive efforts to help some women recover from their ‘trauma’ of not having the right breast size, while I am reading about people in the same country trying to get approval (effectively) for maiming and killing innocent children.

Surreal to say the least. Disturbing, absolutely. Surprising? Not so much. Any country that allows discrimination against its own citizens, without regard for truth or consequence, even to the point of having its own children killing themselves out of despair probably doesn’t have much respect for the lives of foreign children either.

Check out and sign the petition.
http://www.avaaz.org/en/cluster_bombs_ii_b/?fp

©2011 Bart Vogelzang All Rights Reserved