Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

‘Peace and Liberty’ Make Sacrifices in War Necessary

On Wednesday, Georgetown’s Muslim Students Association placed 6,580 red flags on Copley Lawn in recognition of the Iraqi civilians and American soldiers who have died in the Iraq War and the ‘humanity that we all lost’as a result of the American invasion of Iraq.

The MSA is right to commemorate the loss of life, which is not a political issue in the Iraq War or any war. The group is entirely justified in honoring the memory of the brave and the innocent who have lost their lives in the ongoing turmoil

Many pundits and statisticians have questioned the methodology of the study that was used to find a count of Iraqi civilian deaths, which they believe to be more than 650,000. They argue that the count is inflated. I will leave the debate of the validity of the statistics to those more qualified than myself.

But if the flags are to truly represent a broader ‘loss of humanity’in the world todsay, then they must stand for more than the deaths since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In this sense, the number of flags is not nearly enough. The flags must also represent the Iraqis tortured, gassed and executed by Saddam Hussein’s regime. They must represent the Palestinians and Israelis killed as extremists and terrorists block the pathway to peace in the Middle East, and the Lebanese killed by forces seeking to subjugate their country and use its citizens as human shields.

There should be flags for the Iranian students and reformers silenced by theocratic ayatollahs that threaten entire nations with destruction, and seek the means to bring about even greater destruction. And there should be flags for the innocent people from around the world who died in the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and on railways in Madrid and London, among other barbaric acts of terror. These deaths must be recognized. If we are concerned about the ‘loss of humanity’then we must recognize the loss that has occurred within the context of a greater struggle ” not just in Iraq, or the Middle East, but throughout the entire world.

The conflict in and around Iraq is not a clash of civilizations, nor is it a religious war; it is the clash of people fighting for self-determination and the right to live their lives in peace versus those who oppress and terrorize them. Those who fight are soldiers, politicians, and civilians of countless nationalities and creeds, not just Americans and Iraqis.

The oppressors justify their dominance over others by any means necessary, most notably in hijacking a great religion, just as other causes have been hijacked by those who stand against the very nature of the human will and the human spirit. We are witnessing not just a region or a faith at a crossroads, but the face of humanity at a crossroads, a change that tests humanity’s very will power.

Let us honor those who have died, but also hope that we have the will power necessary to recognize the nature of this struggle and make the necessary sacrifice for peace and liberty to prevail over death and destruction. History has shown us the price of failure, a price too great for any number of flags to represent.

Dan Mahaffee is a sophomore in the College and a member of the GU College Republicans.

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