Wednesday, March 9, 2011

most precious thing


Her body sags in my arms
trickling sick with blood.
One hand in an ersatz wave
as if saying goodbye
to a most precious thing.

My joy, my desert flower,
My breeze at midday
now crumpled, coated red;
wilting to the world.

Did you listen to this on NPR?
What matters so far?
What matters in a world turned ragged and hard?

Did Fox News show you this?
Drudge or CNN?
You will not see the picture,
never ponder who’s sinned.

Never held in your arms
your most precious thing
stained brown, clotted and drying.

So far there’s been nothing
but heartbreak and regret,
fired Peter Arnett for reporting in
with the real dividends of a war
that’s seen little liberation yet.

Your collateral damage
Was my most precious thing
now six feet in sand
but entombed in my memory.

You did say you came
to set her free.
Does any future or freedom for me
matter more than her today?

* * *

I saw the above photo on a BBC website one morning after the initial attacks in Baghdad in 2003. As a father it sickened me to think about being in the same situation.

Our media does us wrong- this photo was from an American wire service, yet I saw it in no U.S. paper I read. Found it again on an Al Jazeerah website. I think in the video game, news-at-10, rah-rah way we are presented with war it is all too easy to forget that the Iraqi people are not monsters. Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator whom deserves whatever fate shall befall him. He victimized and exploited the Iraqi people. Now his fate is sealed. Buts is ours with him?

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