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Tag Archives Baghdad

EXCEPTIONALISM

The Japanese Imperial Army’s

mistreatment of POWs

during World War II was a war crime.

The killing of Japanese civilians

in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by the United States Army Air Force

was a geopolitical strategy.

 

Daily, on the tv screen, out of the sky

suffering comes: dust, flames, detritus,

outcries – and the living burdened, fleeing…

 

…Myanmar, Baghdad, Grozny, the fall

of Paris – long lines of people south

on the roads through the fields of the Beauce,

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GERTRUDE BELL AND THE TREATY OF SÈVRES

Paris, 1920

 

The treaty was signed in the Exhibition Room,

overseen by Marie Antoinette’s

dinner service. Like porcelain owls’ eyes,

they were witnesses of the delegates’ harsh

geometry, the fretwork jigsaw of desk

wallahs – Ottoman Mesopotamia

become modern Syria and Iraq.

 

Gertrude Bell was one of the delegates:

daughter of a philanthropic iron master;

Oxford graduate like T.E. Lawrence;

cartographer, mountaineer, linguist;

archaeologist, administrator,

public servant;

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