Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hope For Haditha Children And The Trauma Breaking Point

Hope For Haditha Children
Song by Don Shetterly
Back in 2006 when I heard about the Haditha massacre, I wrote the article below. At the time I was horrified. Yes, I understand that sometimes in war, innocent people are killed. However, in this case, this was not an innocent event. From all accounts in the news, it was a deliberate act upon innocent people. If the war had not been going on and this happened in the US, the individual(s) would have been on trial for murder.

Out of this tragedy, I wrote a song called "Hope For Haditha Children". This song never really took off, but I still wrote it in memory of those children who faced the horrors of watching adults murdered before their eyes. While I can fully understand the trauma breaking point, especially in a time of war, I weep for those little children.

Today, I am reading the headlines of the outrage by the Iraqis because most of the charges had been dropped against the Marines or reduced to a level that fails to match the crime. Please do not misunderstand me here in this blog post, because I am in no way offering to start a debate about this war or any war. My main concern is how trauma affects us and how it affects the children in experiences such as this.

We have to wake up as a civilization inhabiting this place called earth. Humans are genetically wired to work together, care for one another and celebrate life together. Atrocities such as the Haditha massacre only drive us further apart just as terrorist activities do. I hope that one day, we will find a world of peace and cooperation, rather than guns, violence and fanaticism or dogma.

Here is the original article I wrote in June 2006 called The Trauma Breaking Point. Please read this blog post in context of trauma, not what your beliefs about this war may be. If you decide to leave a comment, please do not attempt to start a flame war of beliefs. This will not be tolerated. I welcome thoughtful comments that add to understanding and awareness.

The Trauma Breaking Point

I don't normally deal with this point straight on but after reading the latest news headline about Haditha, Iraq, I cannot stay quiet. This has nothing to do for or against the war. This has to do with something much greater in that when we harm others, we are harming not only ourselves but the world. Again, this is not a political post and if that is the way it comes across please reread this statement. What we do unto others is what we do unto ourselves and what we do unto ourselves is what we do unto others.

One thing I have learned in my years working through my own trauma and also now learning from others that deal in trauma, is that trauma doesn't end when the occurrence of it stops. It keeps on going until it is resolved. This may play out in many ways with some things hardly resembling the actual trauma. But until the trauma is resolved, it will continue to control, manifest itself, and manipulate the mind causing depression, anxiety, and suicide. And every human has their breaking point. At some point, this trauma will snap a person. It will result in a person doing harm to themselves in any number of ways (could be drugs, alcohol, workaholic, perfectionist, etc... and etc...and etc.. the list goes on). If the person does not take the route of harming themselves to a great degree, it could also come out in them harming other people from simple things to major events like murder, etc. We've all heard the stories of people breaking.

And as I read about Haditha in the news (check any news source out and you'll see the articles), I'm saddened intensely, I'm grief stricken and I hurt because of what was done. Children hiding and witnessing their family members getting killed, shot, kicked, beat right in front of their eyes. For what? For what? Just because a bomb went off and these marines snapped - they hit their breaking point -- they could no longer deal with the trauma that they were surrounded with on a daily basis. God, my eyes, heart and head go out to these marines, their families, but more importantly to the survivors that witnessed this massacre for now they will live with the trauma that was not theirs to live with. And we as a world will not understand why these children do not grow up peacefully. But yet, how can they grow up in a world of peace when all they know is trauma? How?

I'm sure that we will finish the investigation and probably sentence the marines to whatever punishment will be dictated. However, I doubt that will be any worse than the hell they are living through on a daily basis. And they aren't alone. Every soldier, resident, and observer in Iraq is witnessing the trauma on a daily basis. They are seeing images, hearing sounds, smelling things and taking in things that humans are not built to absorb. This energy if not discharged gets locked in the body and becomes a time bomb, just waiting to go off... in some day of some month of some year.

I weep for the atrocities that are inflicted upon mankind, the world, the universe, for what is done unto others, is what we do unto ourselves and what is done unto ourselves is done unto others. There is no escaping this. There is no standing back and acting as if we have a "pass" in all of this. We are as much involved in all of this and the person witnessing the trauma. When it affects one of us, it affects all of us.

May we learn how to show peace, true love, understanding and acceptance to all people and may we begin doing this with ourselves.

“What's true inside of you connects to the truth inside of everyone” - Yanni (June 2006 Calendar).

And if you think I’m making any of this up, please locate the book "Waking The Tiger" and let the author, Peter Levine share with you just how trauma does affect us.

May we all be humbled by what is happening and may we share peace with the world.

by Don Shetterly © 06/01/2006

Music:  Hope For Haditha Children (by Don Shetterly)

Book:  Hope And Possibility Through Trauma (by Don Shetterly)

Related Blog Posts On Mind Body Thoughts Blog
1)  Trauma, Biology And Hyperarousal (posted May 18, 2010)
2)  Trauma And The Stress Response (posted May 22, 2010)

Blog Post And Images (c) 1/25/12 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

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