bedrooms of the fallen

soldier’s bedrooms

somehow these photos of empty bedrooms convey the futility of war more poignantly than any i’ve seen of flag-draped coffins, black-clad funeral parties, or crying mothers.

the soldiers thought they were coming back to these rooms. they had arranged the rooms as if they were going to live in them forever, and now their families are burdened with the task of preserving them — air-conditioned shrines of sports trophies and stuffed animals and american flags.

seven years is a long time for a pointless war. seven minutes is a long time for a pointless war, if you’re the one fighting it. but they make it easy for us to forget what’s happening over there. in the 40s they planted gardens and stopped wearing nylons. what is the modern equivalent? a few years after the war started, i was driving home late one night and bush came on the radio, telling us that we could show the terrorists we weren’t afraid by increasing consumption. leave your lights burning! he said, buy and buy and buy until there’s nothing left and the terrorists are forced to acknowledge the almighty power of our american dollar!

seven years ago, 20 year old karina lau (photo 6) was shipping off to falluja. i was also 20. while lau was learning how to kill, i was sitting in classrooms, holding signs in protest lines, staying late at coffee houses talking with friends (talking about it as if we had any idea).

while lau was trying to forget that “the enemy” was made up of people like herself, people who just happened to be facing the opposite direction, i was sleeping in late and waiting tables.

the thing is that we could’ve so easily switched places — her holding the signs and me sitting white-faced and trembling in the back of a helicopter as it lifted into the air, a 20 year old girl thinking of my bedroom back home.


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