America’s forgotten POW: Bowe Bergdahl
April 24, 2012 Leave a comment
The decision to send young men and women to kill and die in foreign lands is one which is often taken without much real thought for the welfare of these individuals, often barely past the age of adulthood, despite the massive amount of rhetoric and jingoism which surrounds their deployments. Soldiers are killed and maimed with depressing regularity, registering as a brief news story and then in most cases disappearing from the public consciousness forever. Perhaps even more painful psychologically is the plight of soldiers in conflict who disappear into the hands of those they have been sent to fight, continuing to exist in a state of living death, often mistreated and without means of contacting their loved ones or a clear prospect of when, or if, they may ever safely return home again. During the years of his detention in the Gaza Strip, captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit became a symbolic figure in his country whose name was known to every citizen. Through his suffering he became an iconic figure in Israel, where concern about his fate was almost universal and public pressure eventually forced the government to make his status a priority in its policy decisions. Similarly, most every Palestinian knows the plight of their own prisoners languishing behind enemy lines and popular opinion ensures that their fates are front and centre in every political negotiation carried out by their leaders.