Sunday, July 03, 2005


On the eve of the 4th... Check out this song by David Rovics -- "Who Would Jesus Bomb?"

And here's a reprint of a commentary that I did last year for the radio station I contribute to:

It was 1997 and I was working in Washington, DC administering grants that brought graduate students from Central and Eastern Europe to study at US universities. The war in Yugoslavia had wound down not long ago and there was funding earmarked specifically for Bosnian students. We met the first small group of Bosnians in early July to acquaint them with the program and their new host culture.

We stopped off at a restaurant where they were overwhelmed by the menu. We navigated them around burgers and pastas, while the restaurant's owner made a fuss over his international guests.

A thirty-something dark-haired man named Adi charmed me from the start with his soft eyes and sweet manner. He told us about getting married to the love of his life during the fighting, and of the panic when they ran out of precious gas doing errands the morning of the wedding. They were sure Serbian mortar fire would catch up with the groomsmen and their car stalled in Sniper Alley. He talked proudly of his determined new wife who'd baked a wedding cake out of rice, as there was no sugar.

Soon it was the 4th of July. The owner of the restaurant where we'd eaten that first night had invited all of us to view the show from the rooftop there. The first few explosions of color and accompanying pops drew "oohs" from our group. Then more fireworks went off and the displays grew bolder, the sounds louder and more rapid.

Adi backed away from the roof's railing. He looked gaunt. "Too much like the bombs," he stuttered.

At the passing of each 4th of July, I remember this night when I realized what sounds like freedom to us, can mean for someone else, war.

1 comment:

Jerry said...


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