Tuesday, February 10, 2009

La Guerra

Hi Folks!

Excerpt From the Book ‘War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning’ by Chris Hedges

Sarajevo in the summer of 1995 came close to Dante’s inner circle of helll. The city, surrounded by Serb gunners on the heights above, was subjected to hundreds of shells a day, all crashing into an area twice the size of Central Park. Ninety millimeter tank rounds and blasts fired from huge 115mm howitzers set up a deadly rhythm of detonations. Multiple Katyusha rockets—whooshing overhead—burst in rapid succession; they could take down a four or five story apartment building in seconds, killing or wounding everyone inside. There was no running water or electricity and little to eat; most people were subsisting on a bowl of soup a day. It was possible to enter the besieged city only by driving down a dirt track on Mount Igman, one stretch directly in the line of Serb fire [believe me he is right here, as I had .50s on my vehicle as I came down]. The vehicles that had failed to make it lay twisted and upended in the ravine below, at times with the charred remains of their human cargo inside.

Having done the Igman road, and having had .50 cals aimed at me, and having nearly tripped a hand-grenade booby-trap, I have had enough of la Guerra. Give me a quiet house on the beach in Mexico, a good doctor for my PTSD, and some decent meat once in a while.

I am sure some of my friends have seen worse.

I can only speak for myself. I am tired of la Guerra. Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq. I think I have seen enough. I have probably been shot at more times than my father who was in the army for 28 years. Insh’allah they will never hit me,

All the same, I am really trying to make a difference here in Erbil. Through my soccer club, donations to orphanagesk by the way I treat people in my daily business routine, through the personal example I set for others….treating women as equals, treating everyone with respect and compassion.

For some, it may seem strange, but for me, it is natural. That’s how I was raised.

You all probably think I am crazy for being in Iraq in the first place, but I will help you to understand:

Our operations are covered 24-7 by private security, so I ride in armored cars, with two guys toting AKs, everywhere I go.

When I play soccer, I am inside the compound, and all the boys that play with me are cleared by security---they all have ID cards to allow them onto the compound.

I live in one room in a house with 8 bedrooms. I have access to a shower and toilet, but it’s not private. Sometimes, we have other visitors here that also need to access the bathroom. It’s not as bad as the army or the boy scouts, where you sit on the wooden latrine bench and you can talk to your neighbor as you poop.

Dang, I said I was going to try to avoid scatology here. Sorry!

Our internet is down, so I’m just getting a bit bored. I am writing this in Word, and will send it to the blog later, when I get to work and connect to the Internet.

To all music fans, I recommend Pistolera……..such a great band!

If you can’t find Waterboys, that is.

Love and Peace to all!


Vahal said...

Amazing book, thanks for sharing. I read that book a few years ago and thought it was wonderful.

Rick Nidel said...

Hi Vahal!

You are one of few that has ever commented on my blog.

I will finish the book on the way to meet my kids and my parents in Holland.

Best regards,