In the past two years, the media has shown numerous photos of people in the war zones in Africa and Asia. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and now Israel and Gaza are just a few of the countries that have suffered political changes, aerial attacks and, in some cases, even genocides. The political and territorial conflicts behind these images that we’ve been seeing are not for me to discuss. I am not in any capacity to even try and explain what happened, how international affairs are working, why the biggest powers of the world get involved or what consequences these conflicts might have for the entire world.
I have only one focus, and that is truly personal and comes from years of loathing conflict: PAIN.
If you google “pain”, the first result is an Wikipedia page that defines pain as “an unpleasant feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli, such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting alcohol on a cut, and bumping the funny bone”. On the same page you can find another definition of pain, used by the International Association for the Study of Pain: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”.
If you scroll down on the Google page, you find websites dedicated to the study and understanding of pain, as a medical phenomenon. On the first page of results – which displays the most relevant results – pain is only mentioned in its physical meaning, there is no such thing as associating pain with emotions, conflicts, death, loss, poverty, wars or destruction.
I dare do the association, instead of Google, because I have met this kind of pain much more often than the other, physical kind.
Images of Pain
From the Screen, to Us
I don’t watch the news. I only read online newspapers because I have the possibility to choose what I read and the images I see. And sometimes I choose to see the Pain. I look at the people captured by the cameras and the terror, the sense of loss, the look of true, searing, emotional pain gets me. There is no way I don’t get touched by the despair in a parent’s eyes at the sight of his dead child, a child lost in the aerial attacks over Gaza. Or people looking for their family, lost somewhere in the ruins.
I don’t look at these pictures because I am a sadist and I love to see pain inflicted on others. I don’t look because I am a masochist and I enjoy feeling pain, either. I look because, this way, I become a part of the world. Seeing what they – the people affected by war, upon whom pain is inflicted consciously – see, feeling what they feel, being a part of what they are means that I am a part of the public space that so many have defined as a worldwide scene, created by the means of communication and technology. The pain touches me because we all live in this space and time. The worst part is that is all an illusion. They say you can influence by expressing your opinion, because you have the right of free speech in a democratic world.
If those people would be able to express their opinion and that opinion truly mattered, do you think they would choose the PAIN?
- US Continues to Blindly Back Israeli Attacks on Gaza (news.antiwar.com)
- The Symmetry and Asymmetry of Violence in Gaza (nationalinterest.org)
- When Gaza Burns (admiralmann.wordpress.com)