GLOCAL March 2014 - Page 16

For many these struggles seem to continue and intensify as the years pass. As the reality of war takes its toll on their bodies it also kidnaps their minds. Bit by bit the trauma eats away their hope, dreams and finally the light in their eyes. As they pass their final days in centers where the angels of this world take care of their every need, their battles live on. Battles with themselves, their demons, their decaying bodies and their loved ones who visit them, encourage them and try to make life better for them. And often, this reality is the true social cost of conflict – men and women who finish their lives on earth in places some of them have no idea where it is or what they are doing there. People who have survived the wars but who are getting killed by the battles they face upon their return. * Elanie Styne is Professor of Journalism at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK. 14 One element of the social cost of conflict is when the thousands of soldiers who fight and have fought in these wars, and who have been fortunate to survive, return “home.” They leave the battlefield behind to return to a life of “peace” and “normalcy.” However, many of them leave behind parts of themselves, their futures and their aspirations in the war zones they return from. And as they integrate into life away from war, the real battles start for many of them. Battles for jobs, a place to stay, a connection with the people they once knew, an escape from the realities they faced while being deployed. Page achieve. Moreover, it strips them of their people. It is estimated that 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust – about six million of them were Jews. During the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians it is estimated that almost 7,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis have been killed since 2000. Similarly, the prolonged civil war and ethnic and political violence in Sudan since the 1980s have left an estimated 1.8 million Sudanese internally displaced. And when six American troops died in a military helicopter crash in Southern Afghanistan toward the end of 2013, it brought the number of U.S. troops to have been killed in the U.S. mission in Afghanistan to 129. Over the 12-year stretch of this war, more than 2,000 soldiers have lost their lives. And this is but one example of the many battles U.S. soldiers have battled over the course of history.