Jan 28, 2007

Huis Clos

During the anti war march in the capital yesterday speakers repeated their pleas like lines from an old play. Oh the santimony, the I-am-right-and-have-been-all-along' was deafening, everyone insisting the war was must stop, and on a dime at that. Feminists, artists, activists, people with a political grudge on issues having nothing to do with the war all sang out. Voices quivered. A 12-year-old sixth grader from Boston made a most eloquent appeal, and you could hear people within mic range say, 'she really is just 12.' Yet no matter how relaxed and confident her delivery the girl was reciting an adult view. It was all an 'adult' view. Kucinich kept repeating the word 'peace' as though this was a neurolinguistic training exercise.

To hear it the notion seemed to be that if you just bring the troops home, the problem will dissolve, as though if you subtract America, the moral algebra will be zero. Equation solved, we can all feel good about ourselves again. Or like Pontius Pilot we can safely return to our isolation ward.

But what do you make of the Shiite commander who pointed out that the war will be over when the minority is vanquished and the sooner that can happen the better. That's the way it's always been, he said. That's the math for him, crush the minority, then democracy....

Has it not become ever clearer that whether there are more troops or fewer troops, this fire must burn itself out. The hatred is too carnivorous. An Iraqi, with his 7-year-old son on his lap, was quoted as saying in a New York Times article this morning that after several of his family had been killed and property taken, now he was so angry he wanted to 'rip them up with my teeth'.

For sure the diplomatic offensives should be launched, in all directions, without conditions. But now there's no escape — think of huis clos. It's too late. We're there, as bystanders or participants, call us what you like. We're in, worse than the French in Algeria, we're in and there's no way out, good or bad. It is the hell realms.

Did you read the account of the bomb in the bird cage that went off in the old animal market? By Marc Santoro, New York Times. Here's an excerpt....

The animal dealers would arrive early in the day and set up stalls along Jamhuriya Street.

The Bedouin would come in from the desert with scorpions and snakes and spiders, selling the venom for medicines. Merchants would bring in exotic animals, monkeys, foxes and even wolves, simply to attract a crowd so they could sell their more mundane animals, like chicken, sheep, dogs and goldfish.

The sellers would do just about anything to get attention.

Small birds were often painted bright colors to attract children, and fish were put in ornate glass jars to show off their brilliant colors. Men gathered in alleys to watch dog and cock fights. Tea and snacks were sold by wandering merchants.

Birds were a big draw, with rare pigeons being particularly popular.

One vendor, an Egyptian, according to witnesses, once put a chicken on a metal box and began rhythmically clapping. The chicken hopped from one foot to another, and the Egyptian claimed it was the world’s only dancing chicken.

But the crowd discovered a hot stone under the metal. Iraq has long been a rough place and the customers, who did not appreciate the trick, beat the man badly.

On Fridays, the day of rest, large crowds went to look at the animals before going to the mosque.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you used Satre in the wrong place... The example of France and Algeria is very interesting. France stayed long enough in Algeria that made French people think that Algeria is a part of their country. They’ve been thrown away afterwards. There’s no such thing that any form of colonialism can last in any part of the world. I agree with you, you’re there, so stay there, sending other troops would be a good thing.
That place had known one of the most important civilizations in the world, they value that, they have a past. America will be sooner or later thrown away.