Column: Power to prevent horrors

By Gus Bode

They march forward slowly and deliberately, accepting the fate that awaits them 10 yards ahead. In their eyes is fear, yes, but also determination. They believe in their cause enough to die for it. Beaten to death for quietly and peacefully protesting their oppression. Is it right?

The putrid stench of burnt flesh floats in the air, a thick blanket covering the compound. They know the smell is their own blood: mothers, fathers, daughters and brothers. Yesterday they were shipped to this hell in cattle cars; today they literally burn in the hell-fires of the crematoria. Is it right?

All his family but one son is murdered before his eyes, annihilated by the rebel’s illegal guns. His son is kidnapped, he himself beaten to within an inch of his life. He fears his son will be killed. The truth is much worse: The boy is “adopted” by the rebel soldiers, given a gun and taught the ways of a mindless and heartless killer. The next time the man sees his son is months later as he is staring terrified down the barrel of an assault rifle. His son looks blankly back at him, finger tickling the trigger, not recognizing that the man he’s about to blast away is his father. Is it right?

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As Americans, most of us cannot fathom the horrors that are every day wrought on innocent people. We sit safely behind our television sets, computers and newspapers, reading stories of the Holocaust and watching child trafficking and oppressed women on the news, hoping that these indecencies will never come near our suburban neighborhoods.

Some of us may have the heart to make a donation or adopt an orphan from a warring nation, but mostly we sit back and watch the world attack itself.

We hear of people being imprisoned to work in horrible conditions, mining diamonds with guns trained at their heads. We see people shot while fetching water, having the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Too bad for them there is no “right place” or “right time.”

Worldwide and throughout history, people have been oppressed for two reasons: Either they rightfully wanted and worked for a better life, or for no justifiable reason at all. The examples given at the beginning are proof of this.

In the first example, Mahatma Gandhi and his followers were violently attacked while leading a peaceful protest against an unfairly imposed British law in India.

The second example is one we have heard of over and over: The Holocaust, the systematic destruction of Jews, simply because they followed a certain faith.

The final story could’ve come from any nation at civil war. Power-hungry rebel groups are trying to overthrow the current government. The entire nation is in turmoil. Millions of people die because some radical decides he needs an ego boost.

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The question remains: Is it right? No. But by educating ourselves and doing what little we can to prevent horrors like this from continuing, together we can make it right.

Ord is a freshman studying journalism.

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