Saturday, April 14, 2007

Happy Anniversary?

One of the captions to the headline on Monday the 9th read:

Iraq Protests

In Najaf, demonstrators wave Iraqi flags during an anti-U.S. protest to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. The April 9, 2007 protests were called by fiery cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Baghdad was under curfew.

The fact that tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets last weekend to protect America's military occupation is both a sobering and disturbing thought. It's been over four years now since American soldiers marched into that Middle Eastern nation. Can you remember what you were doing the day a truck-load of American soldiers (and camera crews) just happen to drive by a statue (with a rope and ladder) where a few hand-picked (and more than likely paid) Iraqis waited so they could bring down the hunk of metal together?

I was working for a prominent national bank as office coordinator with seven others. We had no TV but we did have a radio at most desks. Everyone in the office thought I was insane when I said that the whole event (the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue) had likely been staged and that the people of Iraqi would not welcome us as "liberators" but see us as "occupiers" after a short time. No one spoke to me for the rest of that day. I would work for only two more weeks before I would lose the job due to "down-sizing" anyway. And even though I'd worked there for almost three years no party was given for me, not even a card with every body's name signed in it. They wanted there to be no mistake how angry my comments had made them.

I wonder how they feel about that day and my remarks now, four years later, with over 3000 American military lives lost (a half-dozen on the anniversary weekend) and billions of dollars wasted in a civil war America can never win. I'd love to meet one of them on the street, at a mall or restaurant and bring up that day again. Think they'd still feel the same?

Here's a poem to read before you consider your feeling:

Basic Psychics 101

Every child under ten is swallowed up by the galaxies.

Then later, a ransom note arrives that includes several versions
of hell.The city is given the option of swapping its video on how to
teach ababy how to wave "bye-bye" or every last diaper pin in the
infant museum. It is reminded that ordinary shirt buttons will not
be acceptedas substitutes and that a shipwreck doesn't know how
to swim to safety. It also states that the two dozen or so watercolors
made by a 5th gradeclass at PS 46, after a recent visit to the zoo,
can be used as a bargaining chip as long as none of them suffer from
the heartbreak ofpsoriasis. Flaming or thorny. Lisp or studder. All
we're really sure of is that rock climbing can cause a "tangible
disaster" and that fire-truck ladders are practically useless. In fact,
all we can really do is place our hands on the roof of the school bus
in an effort to figure out the exactspot where it will skid..

And if we ride off the edge of the cliff we won't
fall, at least not until we notice our error.

This poem first published at:
Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
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