When Hope Dies

The Facebook video of a young Iranian woman dying from an assassin's bullet (June 20th, 2009 1:15 PM") brings home the situation not only in Iran but in any country people live where freedom must be fought for. Because freedom should be a natural state of being, an expectation from birth, rather than a political concept subject to sometimes tragically violent conflict.

While standing alongside her father about a mile from the main protests, a woman observed the tumult and was struck in the chest by a bullet. The damage was so extensive she died in two minutes. In the video we see her already fallen, her eyes wide with terror and wonder, being tended to by passersby, helpless as her blood begins to flow from her nose and eyes, her life visibly ebbing. And then she is dead.

Hope, when it dies, dies in the gutter.

This scene has been played over and over throughout history, its repetition inciting callous comparisons by well-off fat-cats to prove an inane point, or the stuff of bleak, black jokes; so commonplace is the inhumanity. Governments routinely either support or decry such acts, rarely, if ever, aware of their own complicity or their own mortality. They are, as their policies of control over the masses have proven, fatally corrupt and exist only because they are allowed to through sheer force.

And every political argument begins with its impact upon a single life and no clearer is that truth more evident than in this video.

But not only in this video. It is shown in the millions of images revealed to our eyes and souls for generations, from human rights violations to genocide, from domestic abuse to sexual abuse to routine humiliations between class, race, gender. On and on, the images of violence rippling through the sea of humanity continually remind us of the horrors we inflict upon each other. And yet those reminders are at best impotent or last but a moment before our baser natures overwhelm both sense and the senses and more atrocities tumble forth, barely staunched.

We are all born innocent and yet many of us, through exposure to ideologies which inflame outmoded and dangerously base instincts, become corrupt and to degrees complicit in the suffering of our fellows who have been caught beneath the boot of brutal political regimes, religious extremism and commercial exploitation.

And as we have all regularly been witness to, the words of our leaders can inspire or terrorize. In either case it is the people who have in them the power to give aid to hope and to staunch the blood flowing from innocents who have been felled by the indifferent bullets of the radical ideologue.

Or else hope will continue to die over and over, in fields, in living rooms, in the gutter.