Saturday, May 19, 2007

Farewell, Jericho

I was pretty disappointed to find out that Jericho was canceled on CBS after its first season. The first few episodes were pretty painful to watch - bad acting, bad writing, and an ever-present pop hits of the 90s soundtrack - but I still found the plot to be really interesting. The thing I found most fascinating about it was how it so often made me think, "This must be what it's like living in Iraq." Seeing a tank roll into a recognizeably American town, seeing mortars fired onto its Main Street, seeing an America whose government has been torn down and replaced with groups whose motivations are basically unknown - it was eerie.

Reading the civilian casualty figures about the war is alarming enough, but they really don't do much to convey the millions of other little things that must be making the lives of Iraqi civilians harder. When I read Assassin's Gate (which I don't plan on reading again - drop me an email or leave a comment if you'd like to orchestrate a book switcheroo), one thing that really stuck out to me was the way that traffic checkpoints have crippled traffic in Baghdad. It's just a little thing, but it was new to consider that even with the death and destruction and kidnappings and fear, there are people who can't get to work simply because they can't make the commute. If it's not one thing, it's the other - and if it's not that thing, it's one or many of a zillion other things.

I realize that what was happening in Jericho is not an analogy to what's happening to Iraq in the slightest. In other words, it's not really what's going on in Iraq right now, except in the very general sense that a world Iraqis knew has been turned upside down (for good and ill). But the images were so striking to a person who's never had to imagine in much detail what would happen if her world fell apart.
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