Welcome to the global village

Most Iraqi refugees resettled in the United States are being sent to Michigan, the state with the highest unemployment rate, according to an article (and accompanying video) by Tom A. Peter in the Christian Science Monitor. The presumption is that they would rather be with others of their own kind, and Lansing happens to have a large Arab population — just no jobs. And that’s a problem, because like the indentured servants of old, they have to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of their plane tickets. All is not lost, however.

After almost two months in the US, Hydar Ali says he’s not considering returning to Iraq. He says he’ll do just about any job in Lansing. He recently applied to work as an Iraqi villager at a military training center in California that prepares US troops before they deploy to Iraq, by running them through mock Iraqi villages complete with authentic locals.

Nice work if you can get it, eh? Like African American refugees from the Jim Crow-era South getting gigs in show business playing plantation darkies, or Sitting Bull after the west was lost, playing himself for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show: that’s the American Dream, baby!

For myself, I only regret that Hee-Haw isn’t still being made. With all the military jets that roar over the mountain, though, I suppose I could do a pretty good job at playing a terrified villager if I were asked. Here’s a crappy video I shot of an A-10 Thunderbolt, A.K.A Warthog, from a pair that went over this morning.

My brother Steve commented once — and I have no reason to doubt him — that all of the Warthogs we see flying over the mountain have done combat duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, and thus can be presumed to have exterminated their share of villagers terrorists. Here’s a better video of one in action, from a National Guard ad. It’s defending freedom.

Subscribers must click through to see the videos, as usual. Sorry.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

3 Comments


  1. Rough & ready though it is, your footage has the truth of the experience – the sudden tearing apart of the peace & silence, the panicky scrutiny of the skies to try to spot the planes before they deposit their cargo, only the sound & then it’s gone.

    However, for violence aesthetic, moral abdication & downright fucking lying the National Guard clip pisses all over yours.

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  2. Ah, the illusion shattered. Being new to your world, I was seduced by the beauty of the trees and your words. It is to your credit that you can maintain the illusion with all that seeks to destroy it.

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  3. Dick – I agree. I’m going to work on getting a more effective video, but it requires fast reactions — something I’ve never been good at.

    Linda – Thanks. But consider: the greatest wildernesses on earth are under threat from things like PCBs and anthropogenic climate change. There’s no place on earth where one can escape the depredations of military-industrial humanity; anyone who tries to pretend otherwise is living in a dream world. Which to some extent I suppose we’re all guilty of in any case, safe for the moment in our cocoons of consumption and non-stop entertainment. At any rate, thanks for reading.

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