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Explosive Lamenting

July 2, 2008

Explosive Lamenting

Walking among the smiling, excited crowds, it’s almost possible to forget that we’re at war. It's eerie and bewildering to be so far from it. During the first Gulf War we were sitting in bunkers in gas masks, and even though Haifa was only lightly bombed, it wasn't this removed. Then there's of course suicide bombings, but I refuse to think about that considering the constant carpet bombing Palestinians endure. But in this country, I find so easy to forget that I'm at war. That we're at war in my name. It's easy to forget, that is, until that first firework goes off. Nightfall amazement among half-open mouths, staring into an illuminated sky.

I force myself to keep my eyes open so my brain overrides my mind and reminds me that it is, indeed, just fireworks. Each one, large one, awe-inducing one, sends shivers through me. Each one, large one, forcing me into the foetal position, covering my head with my arms, trying as hard as I can to not twitch every time, fear someone sees. Fear someone sees I’m not enjoying this. Fear someone sees that some of us remember we are at war.

I look at the exploding sky and note the difference. The ground doesn’t shake. There are no fires. The screaming all around is that of joy and not of agony. No ambulances and black smoke in the distance. No anxious speeding of your heart as you hear that screech through the sky with one propelling flame- whisking, zipping up, louder, louder, louder- EXPLOSION.

One down, more to go. How much longer will it take for this charade to stop? How much longer can 300,000 people, ascended upon Canada’s Capital pretend they are so damn proud? I sit on the grass of Victoria Island, a token spit of land holding some remnant of aboriginal culture, and wonder. Are there any Afghani people in this crowd? Are they sitting here celebrating, enjoying every exploding catharsis?

We’ve killed dozens of thousands in Afghanistan. I wonder what this celebration would be like if all these smiling faces, wrapped in red and white and full of booze were to suddenly evaporate. But I remember, it’s not nearly this surgical. People don’t just evaporate at war, they are blown up, shot at, carpet bombed, engulfed in collapsing buildings, or killed slowly by the starvation and disease.

Eventually, the dragging on of the fireworks, each one throwing knee jerks to the point I can no longer pretend I can smile, forces me to run away. I dig through the crowd, until my mind catches up with my body. It’s only fireworks, Lia. Why do you have to make everything so political? I force myself to turn around and absorb the last remnants of the chemical combustion of gun powder and heavy metals.


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Great post. I too was

Great post. I too was thinking about the link between gunpowder exploding in the air in Toronto and the gunpowder exploding in different parts of the world...
We're way too disconnected with the decisions that are made in our name :(

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