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Posts Tagged ‘war’

Sounds carry historical and political significance, even when they are intended as pure entertainment. Alternative meanings shimmer just beneath the surface as accepted meanings—safer meanings—give way to the attentive listener. Consider the sound of fireworks. According to Wikipedia, fireworks “were originally invented in ancient China in the 12th century to scare away evil spirits, as a natural extension of the Chinese invention of gunpowder.”

In the twenty-first century, fireworks and other forms of explosive entertainment continue to fulfill their ancient mandate to scare away “evil spirits.” When we pack a blanket and join our family and friends on the beach to experience the fireworks, we banish loneliness, depression and tiredness, as well as our anxieties about the economy, our worries about the country’s values and the concerns we have about the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (more…)

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Alexandra travels south on a military train. She sits apart from the young soldiers. Surely each of the men deserves a hug from this proud Russian woman, but Alexandra is also surly and resists social niceties. At times she mumbles to herself. Her body is in pain, especially when the soldiers have to help her on and off the train and on and off the military vehicle that takes her from the train to the military base. She warns them not to mishandle her. Not only does she look out of place, she makes the soldiers look out of place too. The heat is stifling.

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In 2001, the Taliban in Afghanistan dynamited two of three giant Bamiyan Valley Buddhas in Afghanistan. Since then, the Buddha remnants at Bamiyan (also spelled Bamyan and Bamian) were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund. Many well-meaning organizations have taken an interest in the restoration of the monuments. Others, both inside and outside of Afghanistan, argue that to do so would be a double blasphemy, since any recreation would only “Disneyfy” the area and erase the evidence of distruction, which is now part of Afghanistan’s history. (more…)

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