Sunday, March 23, 2008

A poem

I just read this poem by a high school student, published as part of "The Truth Behind the Camouflage," a project of the Northern California ACLU. The entire project is available as a pdf download (through the link) so I feel it is ok to reprint the poem in its entirety here. I found it a very moving commentary on the reality of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


(The number of American soldiers killed in Iraq as of August 12, 2007, the last day of our trip)

By Alysha Aziz

It's just a number really.
Just a cold, abstract number that I can file away with all the other numbers i learned in history, algebra, and statistics.
And yet, as she shows us the picture of her smiling son, killed in Iraq, suddenly,
that number begins to pulse, and breather, and laugh, and smile, and dream.
The surprise of seeing a real, tangible face so soon after hearing about his death was like a sudden bitterness in my mouth.
And right at that moment, I want everyone in the country to feel that number.
I want it so bad that it hurts in the pit of my stomach.
I want people to realize what just one combat death looks like, feels like, tastes like.
Because maybe then we will stop unjustly blowing apart countries,
Blowing apart families,
Blowing apart people.
Maybe we will stop marching with cold metal guns in our hands for a warm dream that is snatched out of those hands.
Maybe we will stop idealizing the big explosions and adrenaline-filled "adventure" and stop being seduced by the sweet sugary lies that slide off the tongues of the sleek-suited recruiters.
Maybe once we feel the pain, we will stop the hurting.

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