January 29, 2007

Stay With Me Although it made me feel a bit like one of those people Tom Lehrer rightly mocked in The Folk Song Army, I went to the Peace march in DC on the 27th. I don’t know that I’m for a complete pull-out of US troops, but after reading Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book on the execution of American policy in Iraq, I’m against allowing this administration to risk more lives.
It was a nice day in DC — mid 40s and sunny. Other people have written about the march itself, and it’s not the march that made an impression on me. It was the diverse group of signs. “Support Our Troops, Bring them Home,” said one. “Bombing to Establish Peace is like Drinking to Stay Sober,” said another. My favorite was being held by a woman with long, red nails and such impeccable make-up, I have no idea how old she was. Her handwritten sign said, “History hasn’t been forgotten and it is repeating itself. Vietnam War 1959 – 1973 Iraq War 2003 – you decide.”
The Vietnam parallel is tricky and doesn’t always work with Iraq. But it brought to mind the way time vanishes. And without leaving anything but ghosts behind. The New Yorker recently ran a letter from Tom Bloom responding to an Adam Gopnik piece on how the city has changed. “New York has become a memory,” Mr. Bloom wrote.
Now, New Yorkers being New Yorkers, they think this only happens to them. (See, for example, the opening lines in Colson Whitehead’s The Colossus of New York). But I’d like to know about other cities, other places, other times. Are history and cities forgotten or repeated? How has where you live become as ghostly as a memory?

Published in: on January 29, 2007 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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