I wanted to write about the children of Baghdad...
I wanted to write about the children of Baghdad, but I cannot because I cannot watch them any more than I can watch Aussie kids play. In the first case they are far removed from me in the horror in which they live unless they pop up in some sentimental rave by a correspondent; in the second I could be arrested, though a respectable grandpa, because of the activities of a powerful international network of pederasts. I sit and watch as tears go by.
One thing this Curmudgeon does know is that they are always hungry. Because I once was a kid too. The fastest motion of time is that between the slamming of the back door and the opening of the fridge. Heaven was, for me, the latest Phantom comic book, and the tin of broken biscuits. Lord, give us our daily biscuit!
The Children of Baghdad are hungry for different reasons. Years of sanctions which brought man-made famine and sickness and death to their fertile plain in the Garden of Eden, followed by two military interventions for questionable reasons and the dreadfully hypocritical Oil for Food program, promoted by that gentle man who never sounds his gs, Koffi Annan.
A sound journalist always apologizes. Now I have an admission: I had it wrong. I thought the latest invasion was because the Powerful had had enough of their puppet Saddam Hussein, not because he was poisoning Kurds with American-made poisons, but because he was uppity, unpredictable and demanding He wanted, not multi-printed American dollars, but the solid, stodgy and reliable Euro. He was a dead-set bastard, but the Yanks support many such men until their use-by date.
My apology is that I was so dumb I did not realize the Big Money that is made from Reconstruction. Just as the carpet baggers arrived in Georgia after that war starring Leigh and Gable, they have come to Baghdad.
A bridge blown up, a bridge destroyed, a water supply gone? Where do I sign for the contract. Thousands of children disabled, starving or dying. Medinc of New York, Foodinc of Chicago, Bridgeinc of Dallas ….and so on.
But we have overlooked Wheat Inc.
When we think of wheat we think of the rolling plains of Kansas, of Australia - the harvester, the silos, the sun glinting on golden grain. Or of Iraq until the war and hunger came.
Lord, give us our daily bread.
It's the first thing, the primary staple to go missing when the bombs and guns and planes arrive. Ask any German or Russian survivor who has lived on dark bread half-filled with sawdust. No bread, you're dead!
A loaf of bread in postwar Berlin would have got you a prize virgin. With respect I suggest the same opportunism applies to the former City of Dreams, Baghdad. Without bread, we cannot pray and dream.
So, the children of Baghdad want to dream of a Spiderman DVD, like kids everywhere. But they need bread so they can sleep to dream.
All of this kerfuffle is to lead you, reader, to the worst story this week.
What were the headlines today?
What were the headlines today? Let's have a quick look before the curative amnesia sets in and we have another quick fix.
What was the worst?
Rabbit mutilator jailed?
No, it was Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer demonstrating that while a fearsome arsenal was unleashed on the people of Iraq, he was engaged in a private war with the United States over wheat trade...
It is part of the Christian metaphor that a grain of wheat must die so that it can be resurrected – but is it part of our story that if it be ground and made into our 'daily bread' that the merchants can fight over the spoils of war while children—orphans—go hungry?
Surely this is the path of hell for Australians.
What can our new slogans be?
'Stop Killing Customer Survivors of Oz Wheat in Iraq'?
Lord, give us our daily bread.
What are we on about here – kill people and barter over bread for the survivors? War as a bargaining chip over wheat trade? Soldiers for Wheat?
How much is human life worth per bushel of wheat? What happens when in one country wheat silos are full and the cemeteries are full in another? I sit and watch the children play.
Read the following news story and weep. There are no broken biscuits in the tin for the children of Baghdad.
Revealed: how Downer waged war with US to protect Iraq wheat trade
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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