Lynch heroic, but not a hero

    I dare you to approach anyone and ask, “”Who is Jessica Lynch?”” You will get a more thorough answer than if you asked “”Where is Iraq?”” For those of you who are really detached from worldly news, she is the 19-year-old P.O.W. who was “”miraculously”” rescued from the Iraqis, after having suffered fractures in both her legs, her right arm and a wound to her head.

    Private First Class Jessica Lynch, a supply clerk, is stated to have shot several Iraqi soldiers, and continued to fire until she ran out of ammunition in an ambush on March 23. After having suffered injuries, she was taken to an Iraqi hospital and was later found by American troops.

    Within seconds, Lynch is turned into a heroine — the new American symbol to place on a pedestal and show off to the world. The media is focusing on every aspect of her recovery and of her family’s reactions.

    Ever since she was found, her family has held countless press conferences and interviews with the media.

    The journalists have not failed to report to the public how Lynch has finally had the apple sauce she had been craving, and that her other favorite foods include turkey and carrots. They inform us daily when she talks to her family, and whether she has “”high spirits,”” or is feeling “”groggy.”” There are Web sites that allow people to donate gifts to her and her family and even donate money toward her future education.

    One especially interesting site is a ballad written in her honor to the tune of “”Davy Crockett.”” At the end of every stanza are lines that apply to her, such as, “”So she shoulders her rifle an’ off she goes! Jessica, Jessica Lynch, the girl sure showed no fear!”” Another personal favorite line is: “”Jessica, Jessica Lynch, Queen of the Iraqi Campaign!””

    Basically, Lynch has become a “”queen”” in the eyes of the American media. She represents the American that will go to any length for her country, even if it means risking her life. She is the symbol of courage, perseverance, strength and survival. The fact that she is fresh out of high school and harbors simple dreams of becoming a kindergarten teacher after serving her country, immediately render her a teenage martyr and an inspiration to all.

    I am not disputing the fact that she is strong. And I am happy that she is currently getting the needed medical treatment and has been reunited with her family. I admire her will and she definitely deserves recognition, but didn’t the media take it just a little too far?

    After the ambush, up to about a week ago, there were always updates on her condition with most news broadcasts, followed by a brief clip of her parents talking and then an image of the anchors conversing among themselves, yet again, about how “”miraculous”” her recovery is.

    Putting aside the fact that the American media is doing a very poor job in objectively reporting the war in Iraq, my question is: What did they expect?

    This is war, and therefore there are bound to be casualties on both sides. It is inevitable to have troops missing or suffering from wounds. The media acted as though Lynch is the only person with a story, with a life to risk, and the only person fighting this war.

    No one ordered Lynch to enter the Army. No one forced her to pick up a gun and fight. She made that conscious decision herself and I am sure that she was aware of the chance of getting injured and possibly not making it home.

    Other lives have been lost, and while the United States does report on American soldiers, they hardly attribute the same kind of attention to them as they do to Lynch. They are doing an insufficient job of reporting any Iraqi casualties. Many Iraqis have died — people of all ages — and hospitals are overcrowded with the wounded.

    She was rescued, but who is rescuing everyone else?

    It also makes you wonder whether the exact same hype would have been contrived if the private rescued would have been an African-American, an Asian or from another marginalized group. It’s doubtful. Lynch fits the American image and the media is going to make a star of her.

    Just last week, local news stations reported that television studios were already arguing over who would have the rights to making a movie of her story; I love how we waste no time.

    In Iraq now, as journalist Thomas Friedman reported, the nation has no running water, no food, and growing insecurity. If the purpose of this war was to “”liberate”” the Iraqis and bring them to a state of democracy, the United States still has a huge mountain to climb before they can slide down without regretting the initial first step.

    Presently, according to Friedman, the conditions in Iraq are beyond conceivable. Friedman describes the Umm Qasr Hospital: “”A woman who delivered a baby an hour earlier is limping home, and her mother has the baby tucked under her black robe. An old orange Dodge speeds up and a malnourished teenage boy moans on the back seat. A little kid is playing with an X-ray film of someone’s limb. In the hospital lab, the sink is piled with bloody test tubes, waiting to be washed when the water comes back on.””

    These surely are not images that the U.S. media wants to show to the American public. Instead, they continue to flood American living rooms with photos of Lynch, in order to show us the exemplary characters that make up our nation, and to render us proud of our actions in the international community.

    I think our nation’s media should consider focusing on other aspects of the war and other lives that are affected, and get over Lynch. She chose to fight and she is not the only person right now who is suffering as a cost of this war.

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