BAGHDAD — Unlike so many deaths in this city these days, the passing of Ahmed Lami was remarkable not for its violent end, but for its lack of bloodshed: He died of natural causes at 65.
But even peaceful death has become a magnet for violence. ...At the Lami funeral, attendance was smaller than usual for such public events, because fear of death grips the capital. Lami's family even took precautions to guard against a car bomb attack, blocking entrances to the tent with a minibus and palm trunks. ...
"The suicide bomber came in and greeted us and sat down," said Lami's cousin, Sabur Abdul-Hussein, who suffered slight shrapnel wounds in the blast. "We thought he was poor, waiting for the feast to be served. We asked each other if someone might know him." After two minutes, Abdul-Hussein said, the stranger blew himself up.
My musings on current events, current projects, current anxieties and current delights.
I started this under the Bush regime when any grain of sand thrown into the gears of the over-reaching imperial state seemed worthwhile.
I have worked to elect more and better Democrats -- and to hammer the shit out of them once we get them in office so they do the things their constituents want and need. It's a big job.
It's mighty uncomfortable, getting by in a declining empire where elites maintain their power by massaging our mean streaks and mobilizing our resentments. This country and this "civilization" may be on their way out, but there's nothing else to do except try to make them as humane as possible along the way. That and to celebrate the extraordinary love that sometimes accompanies our species' bumbling way.
And the end hasn't come til it comes, ever.
Visitors will find a lot of commentary on books I'm reading here. I am very intentionally reading more offline these days because when it feels hard to find direction, it's time to learn something new.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. I am currently an independent consultant to organizations seeking "help when you have to make a fight."