Sunday, June 22, 2008


I am no longer thrilled by fireworks displays. I no longer get goose bumps of patriotism when the huge bombs of 4th of July celebrations rock my house. In fact, it sickens me somewhat. All I could think of last night, as I listened to the thundering explosions of the annual celebration in the park two blocks away from where I live, was the cheerless city of Baghdad – a city that has been brought to devastation by bombs that no doubt sound similar to the rockets being detonated down in the park. No one in Baghdad smiles and says “ooh” and “ahhh” and “how beautiful” when the murderous shells explode in their neighborhood. No one in that besieged city sits outside on blankets to marvel at the lovely sights of destruction and death. One might answer, “Oh, come now, we Americans are simply enjoying a traditional summer celebration. It has nothing to do with war.” Excuse me, but it does. Our national anthem is about victory in war, a victory that happened because of “bombs bursting in air”, and that’s what every 4th of July celebration is symbolically about. War is a ghastly pastime of the human race, a perverse and horrendous game that’s being played out once again in Iraq. In Baghdad, the sound of bombs bursting is the sound of inhuman misery and incalculable loss, and that’s why I refused to smile and say “oooh” when I saw the rockets exploding in the sky above my house last night.

No comments: