Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Raven has found a few smaller ravens in our neighborhood. They showed up after we put his image on the door of the apartment—which indicates they cruise around urban patios checking for bird buddies? We’re not sure—but he’s cheerier. This morning he went to kibbitz with them in the parking lot of the Policentro shopping mall, and when I came home in the afternoon he was picking raisins out of a loaf of bread with his old gusto….

So, Rave. You have some friends now.

“Little by little I guess we feathered friends will gather together. Adapting to a new place is a little like trying to put the UN headquarters in Baghdad back together again.”

Or Humpty Dumpty.

“I wish I could continue the sequence with the name George W. Bush. But my own homicidal inclinations are another matter.”

I suppose. Has any group taken responsibility for the car bombing? What’s the word out their in Birdland?

“It’s pretty quiet. I don’t think many birds here in Guayaquil are politically active. The politics here have a real cartoon quality:”

Are we talking Doonesbury?

“More like Wyle E. Coyote and The Roadrunner from what I have heard. One politician from here who became President of the country ran his campaign on the level of his sperm count.”

I assume you’re joking.

“As they say here, lamentablemente, no.”

Ouch. Well, I did read a piece in Internet by Robert Fisk called, “Who Wants to Go to Iraq Now?” He talks about how the attack was labelled by the US government’s spin doctors:

“Within hours of the car bomb explosion, we were being told that this was an attack on a "soft target," a blow against the United Nations itself. True, it was a "soft" target, although the machine gun nest on the roof of the U.N. building might have suggested that even the international body was militarizing itself. True, too, it was a shattering assault on the United Nations as an institution. But in reality, yesterday's attack was against the United States.”

“Not a strain on logical thinking to come to that conclusion. Who else is occupying the country?”

Raven is back in form, tail feathers peeking out of the refrigerator.

“What happened to those imported from God-knows-where Granny Smith apples?”

I ate the last one last night with some Ecuadorean camembert cheese. You didn’t notice?

“Ah, yes. I remember smelling the cheese while I was watching the news from Baghdad. Between the dearth of bird chums and a cornucopia of US foreign policy bunglers, I was, frankly, feeling in the pit between a rock and a hard place.”

Sounds like you’ve been reading the I Ching again, Rave.

“Aesop’s fables, more likely. Baghdad is buzzing with buzzards—multiplying like mosquitoes every day, and nobody in the White House is reading the handwriting on the wall.”

That would imply literacy on the part of the current resident, an assumption I am not sure is a valid one. But your reference is well taken—I think the handwriting on the wall originally appeared on a wall in Babylon. Creepily close to the scene of yesterday’s crime, don’t you think?

“Daniel the Prophet interpreted it to mean that the king and his kingdom were going to bite the dust, and the king bit it that very night.”

Perhaps Daniel was more than a prophet?

“Well, he wasn’t in his own land, anyway. If anything is to come of the handwriting on the former wall of the UN headquarters in Babylon—er, Baghdad, somebody should be planting C-4 plastic explosives under Bush’s desk in the Oval Office.”

A subtle change from the under the desk antics of the Clinton days, Rave. Fisk says: “Bush was happy to show his scorn for the United Nations when its inspectors failed to find any weapons of mass destruction and when its Security Council would not agree to the Anglo-American invasion. Now he cannot even protect U.N. lives in Iraq.”

"In any event, Bush’s caper of cajoling other countries into jumping on the peacekeeping bandwagon seems to have been blown out of the water.”

That’s what Fisk said—something like “slamming the door shut on that escape route.”

“Hopefully, with Bush’s nose in it.”

And if the handwriting on the wall in Baghdad leads to the C-4 plastic explosives in the White House, will we be able to say that the Universe stepped into the vacuum of power?

“We would have to consult the I Ching about that….”

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