Palestinian women demonstrate behind a burning mock Israeli prison during a protest demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners in Hebron. (New York Times)
A British Army soldier runs in flames from a petrol bomb thrown during a violent protest by job seekers, who say they were promised employment in the security services, in the southern Iraq city of Basra March 22, 2004. According to witnesses and Iraqi police at the site, 2 Iraqi police officers and at least 2 British troops were injured in the disturbance, which occurred in front of central Basra’s Ashar police station. REUTERS/Atef Hassan
I couldn’t sleep last night. I had this dream that I was a soldier in Iraq.
We were on some sort of train heading to a battle site of sorts. The waiting before battle is what felt the most absurd to me. There was china on the table, but they handed out paper plates for us to eat off instead. I was so nervous. How can you eat and act normal before you’re about to break the bodies of your fellow man? Before you yourself are broken?
I never understood the cold moments before battle. How can you ask someone to pass the salt when you’re about to shoot someone in the head and shatter all their teeth into a bloody pile? What if it is your mother’s blood spilt on the ground? Who will look after her when she grows old? Who will raise your children?
The battle site was hot and sandy, Iraq I guess. We entered an enclosed area through a narrow stone hallway. It was full of kids and people, some of them shooting at us …. and a lot of hideously angry faces. There were people throwing whatever they could at us, and behind every corner there was someone with a gun. All the mundane nooks and crannies were filled with fear and uncertainty, and I felt hyper-alert of every blindspot. The area behind my black glowed hot with possible bullets. The shade of every pillar hid an enemy. The kids throwing rocks had dirty faces, blotchy and almost diseased. They were screaming at me. If I had fallen they would have crawled over me and bloodied my face with rocks, torn me limb from limb.
Ayad Bressem, an Iraqi boy, with family members. He said an American bomb blinded him in one eye. (New York Times)
I shot at some of the people shooting at us, and some of the kids throwing rocks. There is always a safety on in my dreams. I can always rewind, or just disappear and watch from somewhere else. The anarchy left me dead or wounded sometimes, so I rewound to get into better position, or to have my gun ready and loaded. I just felt really scared. Like, why the fuck are people trying to kill me? I’m just 21 years old but I’m in the middle of all this danger and people that want me to die and I just want to go home and watch TV.
Shannon was there and I wanted to get her out. As we ran out the narrow stone hallway a car screeched to a halt 5 feet a way. I pressed my body against a stone pillar and waited for the explosion.
The word Buddha means awakened one. I pray that someday we can awaken from this dream.
An enraged mob attacked a group of foreign contractors in Fallujah today, shooting four people to death, burning their car and mutilating their bodies. Fallujah’s streets were thick with men and boys; one of them held a sign that reads, “Fallujah cemetery of the Americans.” (New York Times)