A few days have passed since the dramatic photographs of the pupils of one of Baghdad’s orphanages were released. Most of the emotions have subsided, but some distaste remains.
The sight of the boys abandoned by their educators, starved and ailing, sparked outrage around the world. This reaction was all the more understandable as huge stocks of food, clothing and cleaning products, formally intended for the institution’s alumni, were found in nearby warehouses. In reality, they were being sold on the black market by the “enterprising” employees of the shelter.
The outrage was accompanied by many comments on the incompetence of Baghdad’s welfare officials. And this is hardly surprising. Unfortunately, apart from substantive accusations, there were also racist comments such as: “you know, they are Arabs. With them such things are possible. That’s right.
It’s hard to convince avowed racists that their views are wrong. Racism is a pathological state of mind, a kind of mental disease – unfortunately, in most cases incurable. So what if you are sick with hatred – this text is addressed to people with greater sensitivity, who at the sight of the shocking pictures were in doubt, but who – despite everything – are open to factual argumentation.
Sociology has long used the concept of anomie. What does it mean? Each of us has some goals in life – we want to earn well, have a better education, or live in a prestigious neighborhood. In order to achieve them, we take various actions – we choose the right university and study profile, we make beneficial acquaintances, and so on. However, there are situations when these normal actions do not bring the expected results. This happens, for example, in a state of civil war or post-war anarchy. Once aroused, however, needs and ambitions cannot be suppressed. And so the temptation to take shortcuts arises – to break the rules, to disregard the existing social norms. “I can’t earn a decent living as a tutor? Then I will rob a children’s magazine.
Americans also to blame
In Iraq, anomie was all the more easy to come by because for years the people of this country had been living in the desert – literally and figuratively. The collapse of Saddam’s regime, in addition to the foreign troops, brought to their country a whole host of material goods that Iraqis could not even dream of. Goods, and more importantly, fashions for various consumer lifestyles.
How does all this relate to the comment about barbaric Arabs? It is not characteristic of Middle Easterners to be indifferent to the suffering of children. The drama of the boys from the shelter would probably not have happened if it were not for the ongoing war in Iraq. In the USA these pictures caused a particular outcry. But it is the Americans who have an extremely impure conscience in this matter. Because after the invasion of Iraq they did everything to destroy the statehood of this country. By smashing the existing apparatus of power, they led to anarchy, the consequences of which turned out to be lamentable for the poor orphans of Baghdad. And not only for them – the anarchy has become grist for the mill for Islamist rebels, who have so far killed more than 3,000 American soldiers.