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Colm-Hogan 7 Patrick Colm-Hogan After The Deputy Prime Minister Of Iraq Announced that In Less Than Four Weeks 20,000 Iraqis Have Died From Allied Fire In Baghdad, an American reporter returns to the ruins of an obliterated shelter. As he mills about the stones and scattered rubble, a man approaches and hands him five identity cards. The cards have pictures: one is a young woman— an ordinary woman, not beautiful, not ugly; three are children, ordinary too, like any children; the last is the card of an infant, not yet photographed. "You are a journalist," he explains, "I want you to report this. I want you to write each name in your newspaper. I want you to write that my wife and my children have been killed, and at least they should be remembered." That, once told, we can imagine. Five bodies dragged from the rubble, five funerals; we can imagine a man in his home or on the street 8 the minnesota review seeing five empty spaces in the brute clarity of objects around him— a room, a chair. But now imagine ten— ten bodies, ten funerals, ten empty spaces. And now imagine fifty, a hundred, five hundred, one thousand. Imagine one thousand bodies, one thousand funerals; one thousand men, women, and children, ordinary people, now grotesque figures from a medieval imagination, their chests crushed and ragged, their skulls plied at the cracks, their limbs askew, their flesh crusty with dry blood; breathless they lie in long graves stretching into the distance. Now imagine the thousand empty spaces—suddenly a lover walking in a hallway, a brother passing the doors of a school, a mother lingering beside a vegetable stand. Imagine this Colm-Hogan 9 dozens of times for each of those thousand people. And now imagine another thousand people the next day. And the next. And the next. New bodies, new funerals, new mourners—the field laid out with fresh corpses each morning. Acres and acres of death. And in the cities, in the homes, imagine how the little, ancient space grows crowded with absence. ...


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