Saturday, December 30, 2006

Morning News

My clock radio alarm is set at five minutes before the hour. I awake to the end of a piece of classical music on WQXR and then the news headlines from the NY Times and then the weather, currently and predicted for the day. Every morning for a long time now, the news has included the number of AMERICANS who died in Iraq "today" and the incidents in the country of bombs, massacres and other events that took usually uncounted/able numbers of lives of Iraqis. There were deaths "today" in many other places, often in Africa, and a disaster -- earthquake, train wreck, ferry sinking, etc. Not a cheerful way to wake up ... hello, world about which I know too much and not nearly enough. Too many superficial facts, too little about what life is like in other places.

Today's headline: Sadaam Hussein was hanged before dawn. Hanged for 137 deaths ... although thousands, or maybe tens or hundreds of thousands were killed on his orders -- killed or tortured or disenfranchised. Perhaps he deserved to be hanged as much as anyone. I do not believe anyone has the right to kill anyone else, nor should any organization, be it a mafia or an internatioinal tribunal, have the right to kill anyone. A life imprisoned with ample time to understand why freedom has been taken away seems a more fitting punishment.

This news is the end of something ... certainly not the end of the fighting and dying in Iraq or in the Middle East. Still there must be completion of something. One less maniacal tyrant. Will any others see this death, after an international trial, as a warning? It seems some tyrants change as they grow older -- well, of course, we all change as we grow older. But Qadafi has somehow changed, Castro certainly changed -- although I think he's in a cateogry of one.

I listen to the news and wonder ... I don't dwell on it, most of us don't/won't/have no reason to think much about it. The weather -- now that's personal, especially for New Yorkers. Most of us don't go from kitchen to garage to car to highway to garage to work. Most of us bundle up, go out on the streets and get blasted by the wind whistling down the avenues. That's something we know how to deal with. After the weather report, I can get up and get on with the day. Or maybe I'll just spend 6 or 7 minutes listening to a little Mozart in the morning ... before I start the coffee.

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