A story about Iraqi resistance fighters and their personal motivations by a young writer called Waiting in Baghdad is the crux of the next White Poppies for Remembrance episode – read from the homeporch with a Welsh mining lantern and firetrucks rolling past. Written by Chris K, a player on a dave-coached in-line hockey team in Olympia Washington in 2002.
Taking a Remembrance Day respite to enjoy a conscious discussion with ‘Trigger’ at Vancouver’s New Amsterdam Cafe, Dave O listens to the consequences and conditions of space, in tangible and gestalt senses, and reviews the paradigm shifts of Vancouver’s downtown Eastside ‘four corners’ – once one of the grandest intersections in the British Empire.
Later, he wanders and reads Walt Whitman (When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d) and Gord Downie (from Coke Machine Glow) to bring it ’round home for this part #7 of the White Poppies for Remembrance series.
Part 6 of the “White Poppies for Remembrance” series considers the opportunity cost of the lost human potential while at the Victory cenotaph in downtown Vancouver – along the way, troubadours sing about Providence, Joyful(ness) along with spontaneous percussion-scapes and city bus brakes.
DaveO examines the value of life with Gord Downie‘s swift deconstructions of existence from Coke Machine Glow, Henry David Thoreau‘s visionary stories of perseverance and the value of the mindfulness from Walden and a personal declaration of sovereignty and dignity from original Letters from Russia read in hospital to ole gramps.
Part 5 of the White Poppies for Remembrance series continues with Dave at Victory Park, this time reading the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by General Assembly Dec. 10th, 1948) with riffs about tolerance, human relations, common understanding, and mutual respect – including a healthy sampling of articles on brotherhood, privacy, special treatment for mothers, plus a commentary about refugee status, and the illegal nature of torture and humiliating treatment.
Then brings it ’round home with a snippet from H.D. Thoreau’s Walden about sovereign man being the origin of the political state while accompanied by lively jazz (via bootleg cassette) featuring Joe Williamson and cohorts in Banff from way back playing about Peace to the Children of our Universe and Common Market offering up replenishing Refresh(ment) live on KEXP.
Declare your rights for: Righteous Declarations for Humans (128k mp3, 13:24, 15MB)
Finding Victory Square in post-ceremony calm, Dave settles onto a bench for lost sailors with some bagpipers to chat about John Macrae’s “Flander’s Field” poem and mull the tension between remembering noble effort and embracing jingoistic behaviour. This conundrum is evident in snippets of an essay by Stephen Osborne – The Poem and the Poppy – which relates the amazing grace of drinking gin with Gramps who was there – ‘in the void.’
The most recent episode “Buddhas in the Trenches” discusses conscientious objection and military service evaders. I wrote a “Pro” and “Con” argument paper while at Evergreen College in Olympia, WA in the early days of this ‘war on abstract nouns’ which (unfortunately) is still vitally relevant.
Rather than rambling on, … please note the endnotes for both sides of the argument. I encourage people to learn more about what is going on as decent people fight for refugee status and their right to not-kill and be killed for an illegal, immoral and unethical war. The situation is vastly different than Vietnam era (no more draft and extradition treaties are in place) but eerily similar (particularly as the war continues to escalate out of control).
This essay is available along with many others at…
Part 3 of the White Poppies for Remembrance series (recorded Nov. 2006) features reading from the Dhammapada by Siddhartha Gautama while waiting for the Seabus heading towards Victory Square. Along the way, Dave talks about conscientious objection and military service evaders in Canada, mercy and the state of the downtown eastside.
Page France sings Chariot, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club sings about Mercy, (both found on KEXP S.o.t.D. podcast) and Bill Janovitz from Here Comes a Regular score lays down some background groove – plus some Andean flute, soulful saxriffs and American Pie wisdom from Clayton the seabus busker along the way.
Embarking on a White Poppies for Remembrance Day series, Dave reads the role of King Agamemnon from the Oresteia by Aeschylus written in the 6th century BC. The King returns to Argos by chariot, with a captured royal concubine in tow, and tales of plunder and pillage after defeating Troy… and is then met by his conniving wife.
Music by Joe Williamson, “Arco Hotel” music for double bass. Recorded New Year’s Day 199?, Amsterdam, NL
My brother Lt. Magnum (USN) is in Iraq and recently traveled to Kurdistan and says,
“I am in Irbil (sometimes spelled Erbil.) It is Capitol city of Kurds (you know, in Iraq, they have Arabs and Kurds) – you should look for it on a map. Kurds have culture closer to Turkey. Also, Irbil is a lot closer to Turkey than to Baghdad. The camp is run by the Korean Army. Only about a dozen Americans here.
I flew down on a Japanese Self Defense Force C-130 painted pastel blue. My Japanese buddy, Major Natori, hooked me up. Today I got a tour of a vocational school and a hospital that the Koreans built here. I met lots of really friendly Iraqis who are getting an education. A lot of them speak English really well and even make jokes.
This place is so nice. Lots of hills and green grass. The air is very clean and clear. Maybe like North Dakota from pictures I’ve seen, or Mongolia.
It is fun being with the Koreans. I ate lunch and dinner at the Korean cafe. For lunch I had bulgoggi and the red hot spicy soup that Kaito likes. It has meat and tofu and big green onions. For dinner, it was mackerel Korean style, two types of KIMCHI, and beef with Toppogi mochi. And rice is sticky rice. It is delicious after all American in Camp Victory for 4 months!