Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Four Years On...

I still remember exactly where I was sitting this day 4 years ago when Bush announced the long expected news that they were to extend the war on terror into Iraq. I had just begun an internship in New York State, we arrived the day before St. Patricks Day, we were mini-celebrities asked to our eternal embarassment to take part in the city's parade (Albany, the state capital, not the New York one! - we declined, I don't think I would if asked again now) and felt a great deal of excitement at what lay ahead for us. A number of days later we genuinely felt a great sense of foreboding, watching the news while our American housemates went about enjoying spring break.

When I think of the long and tragic story that has unfolded since it saddens me deeply. News stories in the following days visited different towns around the State to assess the impact the oncoming war would have on their day to day lives, did they know then the massive numbers of American lives that would be lost? No coverage was given to the likely impact on Iraqi towns and no coverage will ever likely do justice to the devastation incurred by the Iraqi people and no correct record will ever be made of the number of lives lost in the rubble of their villages and towns.

The day before we arrived in Albany a man had been arrested by shopping mall secuity for wearing a T-Shirt saying 'Give Peace a Chance', at a dinner during our first week it was recommended to us to not air any grievances we might have had on the war - we as strangers were mildly effected, I was one of 3 guys and it took us 8 weeks longer than fellow female interns to be registered with Inland Revenue to begin getting paid, this was only a mild precursor to the rigid Homeland Security measures inplemented since. Then over Easter, distant American cousins came to visit me in New York and told me they had cancelled holiday plans to France because of what the French did to them. A few weeks before we came home the son of a collegaue at my work had been called to service and couldn't make our going away party as he was having moulds made of his teeth for identification purposes in case anything happened. It was a strange frustrating time, we had the best of times there, experiences that will never be had again and I wouldn't want to because they were so special but that unease at what was to come and how it worked out worse than we could have imagined never escapes me on ominous days like today.

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