“One man can make a difference.” This is not a statement that many American’s believe in today. As it was when Daniel Ellsberg told the truth about the Pentagon Papers and when one soldier told the truth about the village of My Lai, today we have the scandal of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans. “One man can make a difference.” And the difference that is made is the distinction between true and lies.
Ellsberg says in an interview with Rolling Stone reporter, Jann Wenner in 1973, “Do the people actually care about the difference between truth and falsity?” In this troubled world of secrets I have to wonder how much I really want to know. Do I really want to know the gory details about Nick Berg’s death? Does it make a difference? No, I don’t want to know but I need to know. Because it does make a difference. I would prefer the lies because they do not disturb me. I would prefer the half-truths and omission of details because then I can keep my head in the sand and pretend all is fine in my world. But the truth will set you free. The awful truth will remind you that you are part of something larger, whether you like it or not.
We are inundated with images of horrific abuse by Americans and Iraqi’s alike – not to mention the abuse that occurs on other levels in our lives – familial, political, racial, cultural, etc. Can one man really make a difference? History has shown that he can, but with so many of us burying our heads in the sand how many men are willing to risk it all to make the difference? Because without truth, we will all be lost.
May 19, 2004
K. Y. Hamilton, BA, MA - Copyright 2004, 2006