Wednesday, April 2
Rocking the Cradle:
What's at Risk When Bunker Busters and Patriot Missiles Rain Down on the Birthplace of Modern Civilization?
Paul William Roberts, Globe & Mail/Canada, March 29, 2003
... In the eyes of Iraqis I have often observed an ancient light, a world-weary wisdom that speaks more to the spirit than the mind. Baghdad has done it all, been there, done that. Of what can it now dream but ruin? The impossible grandeurs of the past can never be repeated, and if they could be, why?
Most Iraqis understand when someone talks about riches of the spirit, of the soul -- the kind of riches that moth and rust corrupt not. In this, they are perhaps once more the first people of a new world, a world in which material possessions would not be placed before the peace and happiness of one single human being. They seem somehow more fully human than the rest of us, which is why life here will go on, malnutrition or not, bombs or not -- for they value those things in life worth valuing.
I look around me at buildings held together by hope and nails that have been bombed nightly for more than a week yet still somehow hold; at the gaunt, grimy children with frightened eyes, who jump at the slightest unexpected sound, whose skin is yellowed by mild jaundice brought on by unsanitary conditions and stress; at the old people with resignation stamped across their foreheads, who can't go on yet will go on; at the young married couples who still hope for a better life yet don't hope too hard lest it break their hearts, and I see the countless unremembered acts of kindness and of love that fill their desolate days, and I realize I would far prefer to be here than in any house where this war is justified.
For it cannot be justified. But this region has always led to somewhere worth going. Baghdad is just as glorious in its ruin as it was in its glory, for something noble crawls from the rubble to spread golden wings in the light of dawn. The Gate of God opens wider