On War

If the body has its own language it is because limbs and lungs are also a repository for events long forgotten by conscious memory. Peel away the walls of the body and you are bound to remove the place holders that keep the past from spilling out towards you.

It is also true that in Addis Ababa the stray dogs beat out an endless tap-tap.

Pressed against a sky filled with the colour of cyan and occasional streaks of red, what this signals to me is that no one wins in a war.

The mongrels are all cross-bred with a Russian genus.                                                             Not quite made for this climate but still roaming the streets.                                           Sediment of another subterranean moment that is in fact world-historical.

The paws scratch the surface of rocks and pebbles.                                                                 You dream that our elbows will interlock.                                                                                     But what happens instead is that your spine keels backwards towards incapacity.

It is also true that you cannot take in that which you want to see pour out.

I would advise you to refrain from challenging my rigidity.                                             Rather, retrace the cups that hold your pain, watch how the body can stand still for years. And the dogs beat out an endless tap-tap.

No one wins in a war.

Ontario’s “Campaign Against Terror”

Last November, Ontario unveiled a war memorial outside Queen’s Park. The monument, says Premier McGuinty, “[reminds us] of the heroism, bravery and sacrifice of our veterans and the protection of the freedoms we have today”. Along the side of the monument is a list of the conflicts where Canadian veterans have been involved. Skimming down I read World War 1… Korean War… Afghanistan…Campaign Against Terror… huh?*


As far as I’m aware, Canada is not (officially) in any so-called Campaign Against Terror. (Note they chose to use the term “Campaign” rather than “War”. Presumably this is to soften the language to make it more digestible.). Further, veterans have not been involved in any such conflict. Afghanistan is mentioned separately from the Campaign, so it would be difficult to argue that the Campaign is a term that includes Afghanistan.

I don’t think I’d be alone in suggesting that listing the Campaign as a conflict in which veterans have made sacrifices is insulting, particularly to those who served in real (rather than phantom) conflicts.

* Many of the other wars listed (e.g., Riel Rebellion) seem bizarre and incredibly arbitrary. If a reader knows why these were selected, please post a comment.