She gets in the “zone” as she works on her fabric art, she says, and all of a sudden six hours have gone by, she says, and it seems like a minute. My friend, who used to be an original quilter but for the past several years has been experimenting with other fabric art techniques, is working on a nude, she says.
We are having lunch, the bunch of us who have hung around together for more than 15 years. I have managed to get away for a day, and we sit around the table sharing tales of grandchildren (those of us who are fortunate to have any) and male partners (those of us who are fortunate to have any). We trash Bush and his whole regime, bemoan what’s happening to our country, discount Hillary as a contender, and decide that the next president will probably wind up being a moderate Republican. We all prefer a Democrat but agree that there’s no one who can win.
On the drive home, I yearn for a chance to rediscover my “zone.” I used to find it writing poetry, designing something out of fabric — sometimes clothes, sometimes what might or might not pass for art. Playing with beads and findings and talismans. Creating. Something. Hours and hours that felt like minutes. Filled with focus. In the Zone.
Now if I want to have those hours, I’d have to stay up all night. It used to be so simple.
My friends, those witchy women, are not at all simple. With each of us off on her own path, our daily lives are very different. What binds us is shared history, liberal politics, acceptance of our differences, fearlessness in the face of life’s challenges, and a shared understanding that things are never simple.
Molly Ivins found this quote in a recent obituary for George Gerbner, who headed the Annenberg School for Communication for 25 years: “Fearful people are more dependent, more easily manipulated and controlled, more susceptible to deceptively simple, strong, tough measures and hard-line postures. … They may accept and even welcome repression if it promises to relieve their insecurities.”
Molly Ivins is frequently featured on, where this cartoon by Andrew Wahl also appears.
It was wonderful to hear about all of the anti-Iraq War protesters throughout the world this past weekend. We all need to keep reminding those fearful, insecure, simple souls who still believe the Bush propaganda, just what his war is costing. Here are some simple statistics:
Spent & approved to spend in Iraq $350 billion of US taxpayers’ money, plus another $120 billion requested in February 2006
Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq $9 billion of US taxpayers’ money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors
Halliburton Overcharges and Questioned Costs Publicly Known to be Hidden by the Pentagon from Auditors $212 million
Troops Total 157,000, including 136,000 from the US, 8,500 from the UK, and 12,500 from all other nations (other than Iraq)
US Troop Casualities 2,290 US troops; 98% male.
89% non-officers; 76% active duty, 15% National Guard; 74% white, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 22% killed by non-hostile causes. 52% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 69% were from the US Army.
Non-US Troop Casualties Total 204, with 101 from the UK.
US Troops Wounded 16,742, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries (total excludes psychological injuries)
US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home
Journalists killed 61
Journalists killed by US Forces 14
Iraqi Military and Police Casualties 4,162
Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated 40,300 to 81,700
Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated 53,470
Non-Iraqi Contractors and Civilian Workers Killed 365
Non-Iraqi Kidnapped 280, including 45 killed, 141 released, 3 escaped, 3 rescued and 88 status unknown.
US Military Helicopters Downed in Iraq 47 total, 26 by enemy fire
Daily insurgent attacks, Feb 2004 14
Daily insurgent attacks, July 2005 70
Daily insurgent attacks, January 2006 75
Trained Iraqi Troops Needed by July 2006 272,566
Trained Iraqi Troops, Per General Richard Meyers in March 2005 40,000
Trained Iraqi Troops, Per US Senator Joseph Biden in March 2005 4,000
Trained Iraqi Troops, Per US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad in August 2005 “Not very large.”
Trained Iraqi Troops Able to Fight Without Major US Support, in February 2006 {/b}Zero
Iraqi Unemployment Rate 25 to 60%
Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity 10.0
Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity 5.2
Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems 37%
Percentage of Iraqi HOme with Access to Piped Water 78%
Hepatitis Outbreaks 2002, 100; 2003, 170; 2004, 200.
World Bank Estimate of Iraq Reconstruction Costs $55.3 billion
Results of Poll Taken in Iraq in August 2005 by the British Ministry of Defense (Source: Brookings Institute)
Iraqis “strongly opposed to presence of coalition troops – 82%
Iraqis who believe Coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security – less than 1%
Iraqis who feel less ecure because of the occupation – 67%
Iraqis who do not have confidence in multi-national forces – 72%
Iraqis who rarely have safe, clean water – 71%
Iraqis who never have enough electricity – 47%

Well, my life might be lacking a Zone, but I’d rather lack one than live in a War one.
and then there’s this, from
certain maxims of archy
if you get gloomy just
take an hour off and sit
and think how
much better this world
is than hell
of course it won t cheer
you up much if
you expect to go there
—archy the cockroach

1 thought on “nozone

  1. Those stats really seem to back up Riverbend’s latest post about the current state of Baghdad. As much as Saddam Hussein was an evil man, I just can’t see how they are better off. It’s appalling and shameful and exactly why I was against the invasion from the very beginning.

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