I was reading a June 5, 2006 New York Times article by John F. Burns about a horrible archaeological find in Iraq. The find was a mass grave from the days of Saddam Hussein. The report gave a rather vivid description of how the victims were filed into the grave to be shot so please do not read further if this kind of thing offends you in any way. Here is an excerpt of particular interest:
The end would have come quickly, the forensic experts said, victims stumbling out of the vehicle, herded into the pit, then pushed forward into a shallow cut not much wider or longer than a stretch limousine. At the last moment, judging by the pile of bodies, the victims surged backward, perhaps in terror at the sound of rifles being readied for fire.
Apart from my cynical opinion that this article is printed at a time when stories of Saddam’s atrocities would help raise public support for the war back in the States, I find the article uniquely American for 2 reasons. The first reason is that it is especially descriptive. The violence is described with the horrific detail that only Americans can enthusiastically provide. The second reason pertains to the excerpt above, particularly in the comparison made to the size of the pit in which the victims were sent into to be executed. The people were moved into an area “not much wider or longer than a stretch limousine.” As an American I can understand this but I wonder how many people outside of New York and the U.S. understand that comparison.
Maybe it’s best that the New York Times isn’t read here in China. A subscription would cost most people a month’s salary.