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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Last Night I Flew Over Iraq

Most of the time you glance up at the moving map, you’re flying over obscure stretch of the Balkan coast. It’s never interesting enough to hold your gaze for more than a minute, unless you’re gripped by the kind of boredom that a media-less flight brings with it. Tonight was different. Tonight the map was of Iraq. The thin red line that charts your completed flight path hovered and inched east of Baghdad. I was as close as I’d ever been to some form of war.

What was going on below? What new Kalashnikov mischief was afoot? What were mothers whispering into their children’s ears? What were the troops saying about Hurt Locker? I tried reaching out through the Arabian night. I tried sending my spirit to the Middle East, to that most misrepresented world.

I tried to empathise, but then I picked up the dinner menu and like the rest of the world, was engulfed once again by air-conditioned apathy.