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Friday, April 04, 2008


by George Held

The time has come to express your rejections and raise your voices loud against the unjust occupier and enemy of nations and humanity, and against the horrible massacres committed by the occupier against our honorable people...." —Moqtada al-Sadr, calling for a million-Iraqi march on the 5th anniversary of the April 2003 fall of Baghdad

Who ever thought it would come to this?

The savior of an oppressed people and the spreader of democracy

denounced by a would-be beneficiary, a religious leader,

dressed in black and like an Old Testament prophet,

calling on his people to march against “the unjust occupier,”

whose leaders urge staying the course against the War on Terror.

Is the cleric’s Mahdi Army fighting as terrorists or in self-defense

of the homeland? Is the occupier an unwanted invader

who has spread the pestilence of high-tech war to the point

of diminishing returns? Has the occupier once again had to destroy

the country to save the country? My God, we met the enemy forty years ago

and he was us. How can this have happened again? Can we blame

the terrorists, the clerics, the insurgents forever, or as we watch

footage of Saddam’s statue toppled by the invaders, can we at last

admit that we have merely tilled the soil for a new autocrat’s statue

to sprout where the old one was uprooted?

George Held has previously contributed to The New Verse News. His latest poetry collection is The Art of Writing and Others (, 2007).