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Thursday, November 24, 2005

 

Thanksgiving Day 2005 - Year 3 of the War In Iraq

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On this day as we gather with families and friends, let us spend a few moments to think about the emptiness in the hearts of those who are suffering from losses. We can tilt the balance of being the half who "love the other half".

In memory of those who died in Iraq. Let us not forget the hapless civilians who became victims of warring factions, the civilians whose deaths are described by some as "collateral damage".

U.S. Soldiers: 2102
Injured: 15568
Iraqi Civilians: Minimum 27094 Maximum 30538
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Every Thanksgiving Day, Jon Carroll of The San Francisco Chronicle writes a column that I urge everyone to read. Excerpt: "And the final bead on the string is for this very Thanksgiving, this particular Thursday, and the people with whom we will be sharing it. Whoever they are and whatever the circumstances that have brought us together, we will today be celebrating with them the gift of life and the persistence of charity in a world that seems bent on ending one and denying the other."
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Now, to Yehuda Amichai.


Half The People In The World

Half the people in the world love the other half,
half the people hate the other half.
Must I because of this half and that half go wandering
and changing ceaselessly like rain in its cycle,
must I sleep among rocks, and grow rugged like
the trunks of olive trees,
and hear the moon barking at me,
and camouflage my love with worries,
and sprout like frightened grass between the railroad
tracks,
and live underground like a mole,
and remain with roots and not with branches, and not
feel my cheek against the cheek of angels, and
love in the first cave, and marry my wife
beneath a canopy of beams that support the earth,
and act out my death, always till the last breath and
the last words and without ever understanding,
and put flagpoles on top of my house and a bob shelter
underneath. And go out on roads made only for
returning and go through all the appalling
stations—cat,stick,fire,water,butcher,
between the kid and the angel of death?
Half the people love,
half the people hate.
And where is my place between such well-matched halves,
and through what crack will I see the white housing
projects of my dreams and the bare foot runners
on the sands or, at least, the waving of a girl's
kerchief, beside the mound?
---Yehuda Amichai



Translated by Chana Bloch And Stephen Mitchell

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