Volume 95, Issue 21

Wednesday, October 10, 2001
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Editorial Board 2001-2002

Little, green blips are a big deal

Editorial Cartoon

Little, green blips are a big deal

Well, the "war" has begun – whatever that means.

Beginning Sunday afternoon, people across Canada and the United States were presented with the spectacle of the U.S. war machine in action.

If you looked really close, you could almost make out the little, green blips – incandescent tails of cruise missiles – thundering across the black haze.

Viewers were told it was the Afghan sky, but it might as well have been a poor quality Atari screen.

On the streets of New York, the scene of the Sept. 11 devastation, the majority of people went about their usual business. Across Canada most people ate Thanksgiving dinner, curious perhaps, but not driven to much alarm.

Four short weeks after terrorist attacks rocked the fabric of our collective North American consciousness, it seems many Canadians are more than happy to retreat inside their complacent bubble.

Stealth bombers are not flying across our skies. Cruise missiles are not bombarding our cities. When the battle does not hit so close to home, it becomes easier to detach ourselves from its reality.

We can tell ourselves America is at war – not Canada.

We can watch the Afghani battleground, presented via night vision, styled as a cheap video game – not reality.

We are told the American attack has opened the door for counter-attack, but many Canadians assume retaliation will not happen here. It is a possibility, but still improbable in many of our minds.

New York and Washington were black and white. The terrorist attacks presented a mural of vivid, horrifying pictures.

It was tangible; it was real.

The blurry, night vision attacks that the major networks have fed us the last few days are a reminder of the media coverage we received during the war against Iraq which began in 1990.

Faceless. Bloodless. Victimless.

We must remember the military has control mechanisms over the media coverage we receive.

Many of us may feel overloaded with information, but the events taking place on a distant landscape will likely have a profound effect on the rest of our lifetimes and may even end the lives of others. Despite the cumbersome amount of data, perhaps we should pay attention, so our children and grandchildren can learn from today's mistakes.

We must learn today in order to teach the future.

The "war" has begun. It is important to carry on with our normal lives, but its also important not to ignore the reality of what has begun.

Half-way across the world a battle rages and even though we can't hear or see the carnage, we must remember it's there – because even though it appears, at this point, a battle worth fighting, it could come back to haunt us sooner than we think.

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