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I heard that three-quarters of Fallujah had
been shelled into rubble. I heard an American
soldier say: ‘It’s kind of bad we destroyed
everything, but at least we gave them a chance
for a new start.’

I heard that only five roads into Fallujah
would remain open. The rest would be sealed
with ‘sand berms’, mountains of earth. At the
entry points, everyone would be
photographed, fingerprinted, and have iris
scans taken before being issued identification
cards. All citizens would be required to wear
identification cards in plain sight at all times.
No private automobiles – the vehicles of suicide
bombings – would be allowed in the city. All
males would be organised into ‘work brigades’
rebuilding the city. They would be paid, but
participation would be compulsory.

I heard Muhammad Kubaissy, a shopkeeper,
say: ‘I am still searching for what they have
been calling democracy’.

I heard a soldier say that he had talked to his
priest about killing Iraqis, and that his priest
had told him it was all right to kill for his
government as long as he did not enjoy it.
After he had killed at least four men, I heard
the soldier say that he had begun to have
doubts: Where the fuck did Jesus say it’s OK
to kill people for your government?’

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Evil Time – Hermann Hesse

Now we are silent
And sing no songs any more,
Our pace grows heavy;
This is the night, that was bound to come.

Give me your hand,
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.
It’s snowing, it’s snowing.
Winter is a hard thing in a strange country.

Where is the time
When a light, a hearth burned for us?
Give me your hand!
Perhaps we still have a long way to go.

[1911]

(Translated from German by James Wright)
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