Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wow. Change of topic. Never mind the World Cup.

Riverbend, a young Iraqi blogger, has more important things to talk about.

I'm reminded of a Vietnamese woman I met at the University of Toronto during the war who explained that it didn't really matter to the average Vietnamese who was in charge in Saigon. They just wanted to not have tanks roll through their rice paddies crushing the dykes. They wanted everybody -- US, ARVN, North Vietnamese -- to just go away and leave them the hell alone.

Perhaps one potentially critical difference, judging from a couple of lines here, is that a large number of educated, middleclass Vietnamese stayed until the debacle at the end, because the cities were relatively secure. The young woman I met was in Canada to go to university and had every intention of returning to Vietnam once she had her degree.

But there doesn't seem to be a safe place to be in Iraq and you have to wonder what kind of brain drain is occurring and how it will impact the attempt to create a stable, productive society there.

They need people like Riverbend, and we need to stop pissing off people like Riverbend and breaking their hearts and crushing their souls. And I don't know how you can do that, when you broke all the eggs before you admitted that you have no recipe for omelets.

"You who build these altars now
To sacrifice these children,

You must not do it anymore.
A scheme is not a vision

And you never have been tempted
By a demon or a god.
You who stand above them now,
Your hatchets blunt and bloody,

You were not there before,
When I lay upon a mountain
And my father's hand was trembling
With the beauty of the Word."
-- Leonard Cohen "The Song of Isaac"

Please go read her blog, "Baghdad Burning."

(Later) Here's an interview with Riverbend in which she talks about her own background, politics and motivation for blogging.

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