Things that Repeat

I saw this in a bike tunnel in Isla Vista in 2003. The war in Iraq had just been officially declared and it was just a matter of months before the truly embarrassing and horrifying destruction abroad would occur.

I was reminded of this yesterday, when I read in the New York Times that the American death toll in Afghanistan has reached 1000. I wonder, whose morbid job is it to count the dead? Does a mortician do it? A military officer? Some inverse incarnation of the stork who brings babies into the world?

I wonder, too, about the real question that this number hides: If 1000 Americans are dead in Afghanistan, who else is lost? Death and its dark honor is not a privilege that only Americans endure.

In 2007, I was working at an elementary school outside of Malaga, Spain, when we celebrated el Dia de la Paz. Peace Day. We took about a week of class time and instructed kids of all grades to design their own posters and learn peace songs. This was right around the time that the American death toll in Iraq had reached 3000, and my aunt April was hosting candlelight vigils in Los Angeles.

I'm thinking it's high time we had our own Dia de la Paz as well. If we're going to be repeating ourselves, it might as well be with something good.