I was working away with the MSNBC Baghdad Cam parked in a corner of the screen (they've improved it, it stays synced robustly up but only lets you watch for 20 minutes without restarting, which seems fair). Baghdad by night, when bombing isn't going on, is pretty quiet, occasional car drive-by and horn-honk sounds. Then at 5 PM Pacific, the morning birds started singing, and at 5:40, the pre-dawn call to prayer. This is moving stuff in wartime, check it out.

Those of us who've lived in the Mideast for any amount of time have the call for prayer pretty firmly etched on our mental backdrops. Unfortunately it's usually broadcast on creaky old PA systems full of crackles and distortion, although once in the big Umayyad mosque in Damascus I heard it done live by three Muezzins standing side by side and declaiming in unison. You might not find it beautiful if you don't have an ear for non-Western harmonic structures, but it's certainly evocative and unique.

The birds didn't know a war was on. I really hope it's all over with quick, and people there can go back to being wakened up by birds and muezzins rather than sudden death from the sky.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
March 21, 2003
· The World (147 fragments)
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