Why Have I Paired Erich Fromm’s ‘Nowhere Man’ with Sibel Edmonds?

Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow man, and from nature. He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as investments which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable within existing market conditions. Human relations are essentially those of alienated automatons, each basing his security on staying close to the herd, and not being different in thought, feeling, or action. While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by a deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome…. Automatons cannot love; they exchange their “personality packages” and hope for a fair bargain.

When I was around twelve years old, in Iran, during the Iran-Iraq war, my father, a surgeon in charge of a hospital specializing in burns and reconstructive surgery, decided to take me to the hospital to teach me an unforgettable lesson on war. I think one of the factors that prompted him was my new obsession with classic war movies; you know, ones like ‘the Great Escape.’ Anyhow, he took my hand and we entered a ‘transition ICU Unit.’ In that room, on a standard size hospital bunk bed, laid an infant of eight or nine months of age, or what was remaining of her. Over eighty percent of her body was burned; to a degree that the skin had melted and absorbed the melting clothing on top -impossible to remove without removing the skin with it. Instead of a nose two holes were drilled in the middle of her face with tubes inserted allowing breathing, the upper eyelids were melted and glued to the lower ones, and…I am not going to go further - I believe you get the picture.

This baby was the victim of an air strike, a bombing that killed her entire family and leveled her modest home to the ground. My father pointed at this heartbreaking baby and said, “Sibel, this is war. This is the real face of war. This is the result of war. Do you think anything can justify this? I want to replace the glamorous exciting phony images of those war movies in your head. I want you to remember this for the rest of your life and stand against this kind of destruction…”
– from Sibel Edmonds’ http://www.counterpunch.org/edmonds05252009.html