Memorial Day

A few days ago, on Memorial Day, I happened to attend an amazing concert in one of the more open minded and true spiritual churches in town. The concert was conducted by a very special conductor who together with the choir and the various musicians created a magical fusion of sounds, voices and visual images, combining different styles of sacred and world music. I was floating with joy and bliss above the wooden bench.  Then out of the blue (for me ;-) ) and I guess in direct relation to Memorial Day, a young woman walked on the stage and with powerful voice and shining eyes read from a list the names of all the Canadian soldiers who died in Afghanistan, all in their twenties, and I thought: if we are dealing with the memories of the dead, why are the young Canadian soldiers the only ones on the list? What about all the people who were killed in car accidents? Are they not the victims of the war taking over the highways, where we often fight with each other while competing with the speed of light?  What about the ones who died of a disease? Are they not the victims of the war with pollution and stress? What about the ones who committed suicide? Are they not the victims of the war we have with an overwhelming, high-speed, demanding reality? What about the ones who got murdered? Are they not the victims of our war with our ego, our fears and greediness? Why the deaths of soldiers are more significant than other victims’? And what the hell did these Canadian soldiers die for in Afghanistan, a country so far away from Canada? Did they die while defending Canada? Afghanistan does not even have imaginary borders with Canada, never mind real borders.

And if after all we do elevate the death of these young soldiers above the “ordinary” death of other Canadians, wouldn’t it be appropriate to not only read the names of the ones who died in the faraway war, but also the names of those who sent them to their Death?

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