They said things had got easier but his head was all over the place and the stifling room didn’t help. He couldn’t think. These memories were forcing their way in and distracting him. Somewhere behind where he was sat, his girlfriend would be chewing on her pen. They would be drinking lots in the evening and he would wear his new t-shirt. Concentrate. Concentrate. Just for the three hours. He looked at the piece of paper in front of him. The vague outlines of words. Question marks. Lots of them. He was hungry. His foot was itchy. He hated exams.
An old man sat in his wheelchair, a tartan rug over his legs and a pile of crimson poppies in his lap. The breeze blew but there was little hair on his head left to ruffle. His expression was immovable. He looked at the photographer and waited to feel the flash light his skin. The journalists scribbled into notepads. He had been asked quesions, but his whisper of a voice had scarcely been heard above the wind. They said he was the last of his kind. And he had replied that no, there were many, many more yet to come.
The date: October 7, 2001. The place: a landlocked country. The aims: to locate a man; to bring men to trial; to remove a regime.
Aerial bombardments followed. Then came the tanks and troops.
The date: July 13 , 2009. The website stated: ‘Estimates of the number of civilians killed vary widely and must be treated with caution. Systematic collection of civilian fatality data only began in 2007. The United Nations is creating a civilian casualty database, but it is not publicly accessible.’
Nobody was talking. Maybe there were no deaths. Maybe there was no war. Surely it couldn’t have happened.