May 31st, 2004


Bigger Up Glasses

So, Big Up Glasses... I was hungry at the wrong end of Church Street and went into the chip shop. I'm afraid that I can't give a glowing report of the spring roll I bought therein. The ones at Viet Hoa are some of the best in town, mind, but that's a couple of miles away. I waited for the chips to finish frying. A group of girls were hanging around outside waiting on a friend's order. They'd come in from time to time to try to hurry the process along. One of them went back out and said "That guy in there just been checking out my arse, man...(who)...that guy in the big up glasses...eurrgh, checking out my arse!". Delivered in that high-decibel count voice popular amongst teenagers that prevents any such thing as a private conversation. Well, it couldn't let this slur upon my character stand, so in a tone of abject disinterest I said "Dream on!". It got quite a laugh out of her friends, but the arse-bearer in question was muttering "You can't say that to me, man...". The chips weren't any better than the spring roll. As for the arse, I really can't say that I noticed.

Back to Hamza. I hope it's obvious that what I write much of the time is thinking out aloud. It isn't necessarily what I think (in a doctrinal Sarmoung party line way), rather it's what I think along the way. I'm finding it quite hard to work out how exactly I feel about many of these issues in a definitive way. My natural state when considering them is with my head in my hands and groaning. Every article I read makes me feel this way. I have not read a single positive opinion of the current situation in Iraq. The best it gets is that we need to stick to our guns and tough it out for the future stability of the country. I'm no military theorist, but it seems that a fair amount of effort and finance was put into the invasion strategy while a few interns tried to scrabble together what should be done about the occupation. I have wondered whether it might not have been better to maintain the Iraqi authority, whilst deposing its leader, because it may have prevented the collapse into anarchy. I wonder whether the occupation was thrown in those first few weeks. Immense effort should have gone into maintaining/improving the infrastructure for the daily needs of Iraqi citizens. The money spent would be money we saved in long run. And where was the UN involvement in all this? Now all that is really discussed is a viable exit strategy that saves a little face. I really don't know whether life in Iraq was that bad before invasion. None of us do really. Was it any worse than, say, communist Romania? Is the current situation any substantial improvement on the former?

I'm not writing anything here of note. Neither am I writing anything particularly novel. I'm not thinking anything new. I don't have any good ideas about all of this. I'm just confronted by the most appallingly managed piece of foreign policy I've ever witnessed in real time. I can't say I was a fan of the Falklands War, but I can understand that the invasion of sovereign territory by Argentina [looking back on it, Labour seemed curiously disinterested that Argentina was a military dictatorship] was reasonable grounds on which to stage a military campaign to retake them. It just seemed so ante-diluvian at the time. I can even see that the previous Gulf War had this aspect of invasion to it. In the ten years between that war and this one, when clearly elements in the US were just waiting for the chance to fight that battle again, no one did any homework on how to actually ensure that second invasion would succeed. Of course, I'm fooling myself here. Against all evidence, I'm daring myself into the delusion that the US is somewhere interested in the defence of liberal democracy. It's a delusion on many grounds. I don't want to look into the true face of the problem, because I know how ugly it will be. I'm happier sticking to my lazy daydreams of the American Revolution and Constitution, thinking that within them there still lies something of note in history.

As I say, I've nothing to add to the other comments on this situation. I'm just recording, for myself more than anything, the shadow of my frustration. The frustration, unlike its shadow, is built in at least four dimensions, spits fire, shits blood and makes the sound of a thousand shrieking nazguls. I don't need to describe it to myself. Perhaps describing the shadow is overly genteel. Possibly. The wearing of this mask, the petulant liberal, is more for my convenience than anything. Anyway, whatever... I don't so feel so intelligent currently.

I tried to take my mind off some of this by taking yesterday's paper with me into the toilet, but then I started reading an article about the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Well, if they're down near the polling booth, I shall do everything to disrupt their pitch. Aside from violence, that is. Calls to nationhood make me shiver. Given that the area has one of the highest national concentrations of un-Britishness, that may mean they won't be there, or it may well mean that they will. BNP in blazers isn't so far from the mark.

Lord knows, I could do with some romance in my life to take my mind away into another more caring and creative world. Tant pis...

That Loretta Lynn/Jack White album has it moments though....
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