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     Volume 10 |Issue 17 | April 29, 2011 |


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Writing the Wrong

Ruminations on Spring


I am not going to write about Libya. Even though I have had some very heated facebook wall exchanges with people – I was banned from a “friend's” wall for my offenses – on why I think the US needs to stay the hell out of Libya and is being utterly disingenuous about their reasons for being there now–humanitarian, of course. The same ones that seemed to be too little too late in Bosnia 20 years ago and, more recently, completely absent in Gaza when Israel embarked on a war against the children of Palestine, and Egypt when Mubarak's thugs attacked and killed unarmed protestors. The same ones that turn a blind eye to Wahabi atrocities against their own people in Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration's heart felt humanitarian inclinations are essentially guaranteeing that our children will be dealing with increasingly rabid and pervasive Islamic Fundamentalism their entire lives.

I am not going to write about the inevitable “peacekeeping” forces, who will then set up shop on Libyan soil after NATO and Ghaddafi are done bombing and decimating the Libyan people; the “peacekeeping” forces who will keep the peace by eventually growing contemptuous of the souls they have been sent there under false pretenses to protect, ala Iraq and Afghanistan. I am not going to write about the Libyan woman who was gang raped by Ghaddafi's forces. I am not going to discuss her because she is the first of many women who will be violated by not only Libyans, but also the forces of “good” my tax dollars are paying to send to her country. Because that is what happens when soldiers (recruited at times from the most marginalised segments of society) risk their lives, thousands of miles away from their homes, and realise eventually that they are being lied to about who the enemy is, and they grow so confused and traumatized that they go searching for anyone who even remotely looks like the enemy, man, woman, child, handicapped, no matter, to kill. (See the Rolling Stone Article on the kill teams in Afghanistan)

Instead, I am going to write about spring. This may seem jarring after the above diatribe, but life is jarring, is it not? It does not pause, no matter how hard you want it to, no matter how hard it is to deal with. It just keeps going and it behooves all of us to either love it or throw in the towel.

For some, the harbingers of spring involve cherry blossoms and the smell of wet earth, and warm rain, maybe even fanciful thoughts about that guy on the treadmill next to you at the Y. Incidentally, I do not recommend trying not to appear winded while smiling fetchingly at someone attractive. It is astonishing how quickly one forgets to breathe and loses one's footing and goes flying off said treadmill. There is really no way to recover one's coolness factor after such an event. I am just saying. Not that this happened to me. Of course.

Spring can also be stressful because one is now forced to acknowledge the self esteem butchering advent of bikini season (hence the potential of an unfortunate treadmill incident).

For me the signs of spring involve nearly every single furry or feathered creature squatting in my backyard (total freeloaders) turning against me. Winter dulls their senses and it is all they can do to keep alive. I am sure they resent my warm hearth and stocked pantry, but they manage to hide it. The moment the first bud pops on the first tree, they all come out to mock me and try my patience. Last year I had to contend with a pair of homicidal humming birds who would not tolerate my using my deck near their precious nest. I named them Eva Braun and Pol Pot, because their relationship was dysfunctional (sometimes they turned on each other, the glorified bumble bees), and appeared to be labouring under the illusion that the wisteria tree actually belonged to them. Anyone who thinks humming birds are cute has not had their eyes almost gauged out by one. Ok, slight exaggeration, but their incessant, angry buzzing, while they flash their sharp beaks can take a toll on one, who is simply trying to enjoy the first warm rays of the sun and some iced tea. Then there was Rumsfeld the Raccoon, who paid no heed to the fact that the contents of the garbage can were not for his personal dining use and grew so bold that even when I made what I thought were threatening noises at him, just stared at me balefully and continued to eat my tossed out pizza crusts (after tipping over the entire can and spilling its contents on my driveway.) Eventually, growing weary of what must have appeared to him as some type of demented humanoid dance, he hissed at me and stood up on hind quarters and swatted his paws at me. When he was satisfied that I had been put in my place, he waddled off, the remains of his/my meal hanging out of mouth. Like his namesake, the creature seems to think that rules of civil conduct are quaint and out dated.

I was preparing for Rumsfeld's return and put my son on Orange High Alert (the human Rumsfeld's most favourite colour, from what I recollect). All stations were manned, hatches battened down, in the form of a bungee cord around the garbage can handle, and I was ready. Bring it on, Rummy, my kid and I said (mostly to ourselves). So, imagine our shock as we watched one moist March morning as something that was also rodent like but decidedly NOT the nocturnal Rumsfeld, sat on our deck and calmly snacked on a 16-year-old plant, and then, as we watched, ambled into my perennial flower bed and ate the tender buds of a flowering shrub, I had been cultivating for one year.

My kid and I looked at one another. “Mugabe,” my kid christened the latest criminal at once, and then ran out onto the deck, brandishing a baseball bat. Indeed, in the past month Mugabe has lived up to his name. He is merciless in his quest for food and succor. He pays no heed to the rights of those who carefully planted and nurtured the seedlings in the perennial bed he uses as his personal salad bar slash playground. He is agressive and I have seen him being hostile to the bunny that tried to venture into the flower bed. We had mistakenly identified him as badger (all those suckers look alike, yes, yes, I know, I sound like an anti-rodentite) but he is a woodchuck, who is showing virtually no interest in anything wood related, so talk about misnomer! He should be called expensive flower chuck because that is what this little pissant likes to eat! I realise PETA and other animal rights groups might be appalled at how much hostility I am feeling towards this little woodland creature. I actually lose sleep over him, imagining what would happen if he formed a junta and took over my kitchen. I don't want to kill him–well, to be honest, I have had those days– and I understand he has every right to be there, but I want him to get the hell out of my backyard.

And so, this is what is plaguing me this spring of 2011, Obama actually turning out to be more of a war-monger than his predecessor, and a woodchuck named Mugabe, who, at least is being true to himself. Unlike the civilians of Libya, who will now have to find a way to live, either with a criminally insane leader, or an imperialistic occupying force, I have some immediate recourse. Cayenne pepper on every leaf. Also, unlike the US' agenda in the Middle East, my strategy is actually humane. I do admit that I will watch in glee as Mugabe sneezes several times, looks shocked and then runs off to try and lick the pepper off his mouth. I wish we could just repel all our tormentors that way. Happy spring!



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