Thursday, March 20, 2003

I'm reading Dear Raed and I'm absorbing all the facts, feeling like I'm really there, on the streets of Baghdad, when suddenly time does a belly-flop in my gut and I realize that this is real, that these people he knows and these things he describes and dammit, him, are real and are out there in the world and living with the fear that can only come when the world's largest country is about to attack you and you don't know when. We cannot imagine this. There is no way to unless you've known it, but a small part of me imagines knowing that planes are soon going to drop bombs on my city, my streets, my familiarity. That the sky itself is going to betray me. What white-hot fear that must be.

And all the pieces of the puzzle that I'd been arranging and re-arranging in my head--motives, oil, Blair, Bush, control, power, war, explosions, violence, Hussein, on and on--suddenly become jumbled and fuzzy, with this new and bold move by the US. All the tentative reaches I was making towards an opinion on all of this have been seared, and are lying there, wondering what to do with thier burned selves. So it seems the only thing I can do right now is keep listening, and watching, though it makes me sick and horrifies me.

The whole map of the US has become tainted, from the borders in. I don't even want to go there anymore. I said to my Mum the other day that it must be such a powder keg there these days, and I know that it is from Dad's descriptions. So many different sides, so much tension, so much building anger. Just no-one drop a match.

When I was a little girl, about 4 or 5, I asked Dad about the Gulf War. Something about why people did these kinds of things, or what it was all about, or something. I don't remember most of the details (which might serve to make this a more poignant vignette) but I remember it was around Christmas time, and we were in our little cabin, the woodstove was on and Cape Breton snow piled up around the door. The CBC gave reports from sandy foreign places, though I didn't understand it, the oil, the blood. War is such an explosive endeavour, and once it begins there is no way to control it, even though you might think there is. It ups the ante, explodes connections and sneaks around doing dirty work. Awful things hide under the cover of war; the things intended to and many more not even dreamed of by the warmongers, and that's what makes it so horrid.

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