11 September 2006

Voiceless yanquis and snot-filled hankies

Mark Strand writes in "The Hill":

"The longer I walk, the farther I am from everything."

That's how I feel about all the goddamn time I spend watching the news, watching Osama bios, watching Iraq and 9/11 coverage, watching Harvey Keitel playing John O'Neill in an ABC docudramaschmuckery.

Last week, though, I watched the repatriation of five dead Canadian soldiers on CBC Newsworld. It was incredibly moving. Their coffins, one at a time, conveyor-belting off the plane from Afghanistan. Fellow soldiers carrying the coffin to the hearse. A guy with lots of stripes approaching the hearse and saluting the coffin. The soldiers dispersing as the family members approach the hearse and weep and hug and put flowers on the coffin.

This particular repatriation ceremony also included a soldier named Graham, who was killed by U.S. friendly fire. A representative from the American Air Force was present. Which was apparently extraordinary, and I guess so. He must've been squirming inside. But his presence acknowledged the U.S.'s responsibility, showed some respect for the Canadian effort (in a war we probably shouldn't be involved in).

Anyway, it was very moving, very respectful, these ceremonies. And there was something poignant about them being televised: the Canadian public could, through their idiotboxes, join in the mourning with the families. Americans don't have this opportunity, because the sociopath who's running their country won't allow it. If it were allowed, Americans would have seen this scene nearly 3,000 times.

But maybe more. Because the "official" death toll counts only those who die on the scene. Of the 15,000 or so who've been wounded and sent off to hospitals in Germany or the U.S., how many of those have died? And how many suicides have there been of Iraq and Afghanistan vets?

It was encouraging, as we live under the Bushite regime of Stephen Harper, that a large majority of Canadians polled recently believe that U.S. foreign policy was responsible for 9/11. Now, there's a point of view that I have never heard in my thousands of hours of watching CNfuckingN. My friend debby, in Missoula, says she think a lot of Americans feel the same way. But I guess those are Americans without a voice in the media, without even a poll to count them.

Last night I dreamt about an American. Larry Fagin. Now there's a guy with a voice.

Over and out.


At September 11, 2006 11:34 am , Blogger roxword said...

remember when a vote counted
and debate was encouraged
and republicans stood for less government
and students used to protest
and money was a dirty word
and america wore a white hat
and the president was a leader
and ford and chevy built the best cars in the world
and a chocolate bar cost a nickle
and athletes never cheated
and the hollywood loved a good story
and war was black and white
and las vegas was a whistle stop
and gas was 19 cents a gallon
and elvis was king
and the world loved americans
and the deer and the antelope played?
damn. i must be getting old.


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