02 May 2008

In a nutshell

Last night, I was fortunate enough to find myself in a theatre for a live, satellite simulcast of NPR's This American Life with Ira Glass.

Years from now, when my son or daughter asks me about George Bush's war of choice that managed to destroy not only the invaded country, but the invading one as well, I'll have to point her to the story of Haider Hamza, a young Iraqi who worked with the Information Ministry at the start of the war.

Hamza eventually relocated to New York City where virtually everyone he met told him that they had been against the war. If that was the case, he wondered, then how did it happen? To find out, he traveled to the South to try and engage pro-Iraq War Americans about their feelings. (His set-up, a Peanuts-like booth with a "Talk to an Iraqi" sign, is priceless). He--and we--were treated to a perfect example of the thinking that got us where we are today.

While posted at a car dealership, a local man told Hamza that the war was to make him and his people free. Hamza told him of the strife that followed the American occupation and asked him what freedom was.

"So you can go outside and say what you want without fear of the government."

Hamza pointed out that, between carbombs and curfews, people can't go outside, period. While Saddam Hussein was in power, he said, at least that much was possible. The most pregnant of pauses followed, and the man finally said:

"But you weren't free."


EDIT: I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mr. Hamza ran across my little write-up here and took the time to send a few kind words as well as a correction (It's "Hamza" not "Hamsa," as spelled in the write-up I originally cited).

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