I first heard this driving down Riversdale Road, Hawthorn...actually I wasn't doing much driving as there was a bit of gridlock happening (or would that be not happening?) I can't remember where I was going or what I was doing but it was hot, hot! I had the windows down and enjoying the weather for what it was.
I think it was around 2003? Anyway my timeline is quite crap so I may have to google to find out when the USA invaded Iraq and then when Australia got involved...actually timeline shmineline, doesn't really matter.
Now I'm not a very political person and I rarely put my money where my mouth is (and often beat myself up about it) but this war in Iraq really, really got to me. I am extremely antiwar. I cannot quite believe that we still do it, that we - or the powers that be - haven't evolved enough emotionally, even intellectually and strategically, to see it's not the answer. Well, I've kind of answered my own conundrum up there without realising it..POWERs that be. It's all about power. Ridiculous.
Anyway, so there I was listening to Tough Culture - a now defunct program on RRR, hosted by (I have to say, the very sexy sounding) Jonathan Alley. He was* also obviously very passionate, very left, intelligent and articulate. Jonathan read out a piece by a photojournalist** which described the carnage left by a US bomb in a small cafe and shop lined street in Iraq. Just the images of the everyday juxtiposed with the horror of bombed out buildings, cars, a civilian bus and strewn body parts - Like the hand of a small child found in the green grocers (no sign of the rest of the child, just the hand) - gave me goosebumps on this sweltering day.
Then he played this piece.***
"Touchingly it was mainly women who did this work"...powerful stuff. Lest we forget.
*Is! Jonathan is still alive and well and on RRR on Saturday evenings (I think)
**I remember the photojournalist's name was Paul so it makes me think it was written by Paul Watson but not 100% sure
***An excerpt from Slaughterhouse 5. An amazing, amazing book which I've read over and over.