3/30/2003

Death by bomb

I stood with the British, and watched them bomb my friends on the other side of the city fence. I watched the sergeant place the rocket in the launcher, hoist it on his shoulder, saw the puff as he released it, and watched it rise high into the sky, spewing flames, and racing to destroy lives and homes.

I wished in that moment that I could stop time, and walk into the town, and save the people that that missile would hit. I would slave away, carrying their time frozen bodies into safety, then I would carry the items they had worked their entire lives to buy out of the building that the missile would hit. When time resumed, the missile would hit an empty building, and there would be no sorrow that day.

But that could not be. The missile rose high into the sky, turned itself downwards, and raced towards a house. I imagined the child, standing on the balcony, and watching the star falling towards him. He would point at it, the sort of terror in his heart that no child should ever experience, and the star would hit below him. The building would collapse, and he would grasp at the falling balcony, gasping in the dust, his eardrums smashed by the explosion. He would land on the floor, for a moment alive and screaming. Then the roof of the house would fall on him, crushing him. The sharp metal pieces in the building would rip of his leg, but he wouldn’t feel that, because his brain would be crushed, no longer able to house his soul.

I turned away, because I could not watch the missile land. But I could not turn away from my thoughts. They filled in the gaps all too well, and I cried inside for the child I would never meet, and never know. My heart broke for his friends, who, as they hid in terror from the rain of bombs, would forget their own fear for a moment, to weep for their dead friend. I died inside that day. I died inside for his mother, who would see her life, and her reason for living dead and battered on the floor, for a crime he never commited, and never understood.

I felt hate for the people I stood beside, and when the bomber joked about the number of people he must have got, I felt like smashing his face in with the butt of my rifle. But I did not. I laughed with him, and that laugh was the most difficult thing I ever did in my life, because I laughed as my heart drowned in tears. I laughed although my mind was stunned at the brutality of the man.

But I laughed because it was the only way of saving the next child. I laughed, because my laugh of today, though it kills a part of me, could save my people tommorow from the speakable brutality of the men who stand beside me, and laugh with me.