"Minute after minute the missiles came in. Many Iraqis had watched - as I had - television film of those ominous B-52 bombers taking off from Britain only six hours earlier. Like me, they had noted the time, added three hours for Iraqi time in front of London and guessed that, at around 9pm, the terror would begin. The B-52s, almost certainly firing from outside Iraqi airspace, were dead on time." - Robert Fisk, "Minute After minute the missiles came, with devastating shrieks"
. . .
The bombs have finally dropped on Iraq, from B-52s that thunder much like the planes that had flown and dropped millions of tons of bombs over Southeast Asia, years ago when my parents and their families and neighbors became refugees and years before I was born in San Diego.
. . .
It was not the city where she had imagined a little girl to keep her company, it was not the city where she would have birthed me, had she a choice that had not been determined, largely, by the decisions the US government had made.
Shall I recount them again? No poetry: first the US covertly bombed Cambodia, then it supported the Khmer Rouge, and finally it did nothing as evidence of genocide accrued.
. . .
In a hospital bed at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, the new mother dreams of the city she had lived in when her parents were still married: Phnom Penh.
. . .
"How, I ask myself, does one describe this outside the language of a military report, the definition of the colour, the decibels of the explosions? When the cruise missiles came in it sounded as if someone was ripping to pieces huge curtains of silk in the sky and the blast waves became a kind of frightening counterpoint to the flames." - Fisk, "Minute After minute the missiles came, with devastating shrieks"
. . .
As Robert Fisk reports, Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired in quick succession, with "devastating shrieks" on a Saturday that has not happened yet in my time, my parents' time, Pacific Standard Time. Death occurs within the wake of a missile's shrieking passage across time, a passage in thunderous contrast of the silent, mournful passage my parents took across the Pacific. Not only are the shrieks devastating, the precision is as well, for it will interrupt lives completely and irrevocably. This is the precision exacted by the State, funded by American tax dollars and for the agenda of corporate interests.
. . .
On Wednesday as we waited, springtime began. Oakland seemed to sprawl unkempt and spiky, under a crystalline blue sky. Yet how can it be so cold? Wind-blown, so lost for words; there was no warmth to be found, no possibility, yet, of letting your arms go bare. Later at 5pm, J and I stood shivering in downtown San Francisco as rain fell, amidst thousands of other anti-war(mongering) demonstrators. Under the banner No War for Empire, we marched through the wet city, past the Financial District, nudie parlors, concert-halls, bars, liquor stores, shops closing up after yet another day of books, shoes, pussy, booze, clothes, and other items of desire sold to individuals spending the last bit of their biweekly paychecks, at least the part that was not going to rent.
Apartment windows were flung open, revealing onlookers who either gave marchers the finger or rooted, clapping, smiling their approval. I wondered, If you approved, then why aren't you in the streets? Are you gonna return to the warm, dry space of the place you call home and tune out again, for a novel or another episode of "Survivor"? Are you gonna turn on your computer and forward yet another email petition in protest of the war?
. . .
She dreams again of her father's house. In the dining hall, a long banquet table has been draped with a white tablecloth; important guests were to arrive shortly.
Mommy says, Child, do not stand on the table! I will spank you if you do!
Of course, she is the impish one, the youngest one, her father's favorite. When she thinks no one is watching, she climbs unto the table and stamps her dirty feet along the length, delighting in the footprints that she has left behind.
When Father spies her clandestine dance, he yells, Child, come here so I can beat you!
And, of course, the little girl runs away to the garden, to hide. It is the first time Father has yelled at her, for which he is contrite. For which he will kneel near the bush where she has hidden and tell her, quietly, that he will not beat her, but do you see, Child, that you shouldn't dance with dirty feet on the table?