Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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April 25, 2006
21st Century Boys*

Nir Rosen's "On the Ground in Iraq: The roots of sectarian violence" (Boston Review, March/April 2006) hits you with a relentless blizzard of names of factions, parties, militias, clerics and politicians, then drops the picturesque detail that (for me) made for the most impactful paragraph in the entire already weighty issue of the magazine:

As I parted from Fatah [Rosen's guide, essentially] he asked my driver if he wanted to take a pistol or Kalashnikov for my safety and offered to secure a weapons license for me. He was very concerned for my safety, but the only danger on the street that day was the little boys playing with large toy   Kalashnikovs that shot small plastic pellets.

Throughout my time in Baghdad I did not see a single Iraqi boy on the streets without one of these rifles.

*[These boys are decidedly not the ones once sung about by these characters.]