Its one thing to celebrate the human spirit in the face
of great adversity. Its another thing altogether to let the weapons
manufacturers who helped create the adversity sponsor the
celebrations. Nick Deane explains.
The Invictus Games will be familiar to all who watch the ABC,
their promoter and sponsor. The Games will be taking place in
Sydney in October, the participants being injured service personnel
from 18 countries.
It is highly inspiring to see the human spirit triumph over
mutilations of the human body. Who can fail but be impressed by the
fortitude of the participating athletes? As the Story of the Games
tells us, they have faced life-changing injuries but have somehow
found the motivation not to let those injuries define them.
From what we can see, they appear to be in comparatively good
health both mentally and physically, despite the terrible wounds
they have suffered. This is wonderful. And it is entirely fitting
that sport plays a positive role in their rehabilitation.
Admirable also is the skill and dedication of those who brought
them back to comparative health and the ability to rejoin society
the surgeons and nurses, the technicians who create the equipment
and prostheses, and the carers and family members who keep them in
their current state of well-being. There is clearly a whole team of
people behind each, individual participant.
This part of the story is displayed for the general public in a
brilliant light. Under it, we see the heroism of the individuals
who have had to face extraordinary misfortune and feel pride in
their accomplishments. We are, however, discouraged from exploring
the shadows this light casts, where lie aspects that would
otherwise complete the picture.
Of the wounded, we only see those who have, to some extent,
prevailed over their disabling wounds. Others, out of the bright
light, couldnt find the necessary motivation, or are so damaged
that seeing them would horrify us.
Are they out of sight, so as to be out of our minds? Besides,
there are probably some who are literally out of their own
minds, suffering Post Traumatic Stress. We dwell, almost
exclusively, on the heroes. An obsession with success takes our
eyes away from those who cant or wont recover.
There is a whiff of triumphalism in this (it is in the name of
the games). Their spirit may be unconquered, but they have, without
exception, been severely beaten. Giving them a special name does
not alter that.
All the participants have encountered life-changing trauma that
they must endure as long as they live. Telling them they are
admirable because they have suffered in the service of their
country is inadequate compensation even with the promise of
life-long medical and financial support....