Arianna Sullivan (United States, AC 08-10)
Just the other day I stumbled over an article about strained relations between the United States and Pakistan. Strained relations and violent reactions concerning the United States and the Middle East no longer make surprising headlines, but my textbook sense of the United States’ relationship with Pakistan says that the two countries are allies. Curious, I looked further into the issue.
What I found was a complex net of unclear intentions, one government infringing upon the sovereignty of another, civilian casualties, miscommunications leading to bullets between allies, all in the name of this infamous ‘war on terror’. The United States government and military is interfering with Pakistan’s jurisdiction under the claim that it is cleansing the country of al-Quaeda. I walked away confused by the politics and the complexities of the situation.
What I do understand is the part of the story that makes me feel something. What I understand is that Pakistani civilians are killed in this violent attempt to by the United States military to exterminate terrorism. I struggle in painful desperation to comprehend the apparent ease with which these leaders draw out death sentences for ordinary citizens, claiming that the end justifies the means.
I am seared by the breach of initiative displayed and practiced by these power holding individuals again and again. I am charged with anger to see great potential, in the form of power, handed to this elite section of people and then wasted. In their mighty hands it evaporates and condenses into actions that fail to measure up to any basic moral or ethical standard.
I am completely baffled by the disconnection that these leaders must feel from humanity, in order to live with the fact that they pick unripe lives from the vine without a glance back at the waste and the chaos and the irreparable pain of those who survive the victims.
At this point my criticism bleeds beyond the borders of my own country and its leaders, spreading to a universal irresponsibility amongst powerful leaders. It is this irresponibility that has caused global crisis after global crisis, and allowed the crises to continue as human lives are washed down the drain. All around, I see a lack of honor in the actions of our world leaders that is appalling. This immorality marches forth masked by the enticing possibility of some utopian goal which will justify it all. Equally appalling is the widespread lack of integrity on the part of the bystanders of this global carelessness, those who watch without calling forth the perpetrators.
People always react in the same way to my devastataion over world events- “Are you surprised?” they say. The answer is, yes. I am appalled. I am appalled that our world is governed in such a manner that the most prominent, dominant characters in its theatre are allowed to act so carelessly without being held accountable.
But who am I to criticise, without moving forward myself to call forth and cease the actions of my country’s president? Is that not the very hypocrisy that I criticize? So how on earth can we, the general population, regulate the accountability and common moral sense of our leaders? We are but diminutive citizens, who hold no power to begin and end wars with our signature on a piece of paper; We have no power to decide if a civilian family living on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border close to a suspected al-Quaida “haven” should live or die.
However, we do hold the power to bring moral values into each small decision that we face within our days, within the borders of our own lives. It is just as thoughtless to live lives parallel in carelessness, on a different plane, with smaller effects, so that we are never held accountable or even judged for these decisions. It is our job to begin at the hub of the situation, our own actions, working our way outwards from ourselves.We must put our intention into our every action, no matter how small, and focus on the fact that each small stone tossed into a body of water creates a ripple. If we cannot seize this as an opportunity to put something positive into the world at our own level, I do not know how we can expect it ever to be acheived in the great heirarchies of our governors.
– United World College Student Magazine –