On the Night of War

I wrote this poem on the night the Iraq war began, ten years ago.

On the night of war…
March 19, 2003

A light rain has fallen
A trio of snails marches up the main path towards my front door
Upon the thinnest of thin sheets of wet
Like the one who came into my garage a week ago
To say “hi neighbor, what is all this stuff in your garage?”
A week ago, before I turned thirty, before we entered this latest war
I was unaware there was such an abundance of large snails
Before this night which is a second day
Rising after collapsing from exhaustion of the stress, agony, exhilaration, guilt
Of being alive and flourishing at this strange time

© 2003 Amar Chaudhary

Why the pet market?!

Even with the daily violence we hear about from Iraq, this one hits home:

Birdcage bomb kills 15 pet lovers in Baghdad

A bomb disguised as a birdcage killed 15 animal lovers in a Baghdad pet market today, in the latest attack apparently designed to disrupt a city-wide security crackdown.

From the BBC:

The blast ripped through the Ghazil market in the city centre, a popular destination which sells dogs, cats, birds and other animals.

It's heartbreaking to hear about peaceful persuits, especially my own in music, art and animals, being specifically targeted. Why go after the pet market and animal lovers? Certainly, markets in general are common targets of violence, where large numbers of people gather. But maybe some markets or gatherings are more vulnerable than others:

The open soukh is a popular attraction for Sunnis and Shias alike, farmers and pet store owners are drawn by the reptiles, tropical fish and other exotic animals in a city where open air attractions are rare.

However, some extremist Islamist groups in Iraq have issued edicts denouncing the ownership of pets as 'haraam' – prohibited under Islamic law. This is not the first attack on the market – it was also hit eight weeks ago.

So do pets come under the same heading as music for these extreme Islamists? Or even just having a little bit of enjoyment seeing and interacting with the animals when there are so few options for brightening one's day? And what did the animals do to deserve any of this?

Death, destruction and suppression of joy – why would anyone want to follow these people?

George W. Bush's Acrockalypto

A friend forwarded this cartoon to me today after seeing it in The Mississauga news. (For the geographically challenged: Mississauga is a suburb of Toronto, Canada).

This cartoon is from Canadian cartoonist Steve Nease. Check out some of his other work.

It's interesting how cartoonists capture W's ugly inbred features, like his beedy eyes and pointy ears. Oh yeah, and his failed war policies, too…