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White Boots - From Echo Gods and Silent Mountains

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Uploaded on Jan 28, 2012

White Boots is taken from Echo Gods and Silent Mountains (ECW Press, 2012) It was written after visiting the Halabja Monument and Museum, in Halabja, Kurdish North, Iraq. The Halabja Monument commemorates one of the worst atrocities of the Saddam Hussein era. On March 16, 1988, Hussein ordered army planes to drop mustard gas and the deadly nerve agent Sarin on the Kurdish farming town. About 5,000 men, women and children were killed in the attack. Another 10,000 were injured and many still suffer from respiratory illnesses, physical deformities, cancer, and other diseases.

The form of the piece itself is supposed to mirror the panic that occurred while I was being bombarded with images -- photographs, mannequins, lights, plaques, videos and assorted memorabilia during our tour. It is an 8 page piece containing 56 triplets with a syllabic count of 7 5 7 --sort of an inverted haiku. I wanted them to act like quick snapshots -- or flashes from a strobe light -- therefore the style of the piece was dictated by how it would look on the printed page:

It was filmed at the museum in Iraq and the town dump -- the perfect setting for poetry readings - in Fort Good Hope, NWT, Canada. I have never listened to the CBC while driving up here and could not believe that the one time I do, while recording, they were talking about Fort Good Hope, water contamination and cancer rates.

It is also worth noting that it was -36. When you add a slight breeze to that it makes it very difficult to read or even hold paper. After the second page my hands were burning with pain. You can see my hands turning pink and contracting while I struggle to pronounce words correctly. Near the end I was trying to read as fast as possible so I could get back in my truck. By the time I finished, my beard was covered with ice and turning white.




Visit: http://memoryandjustice.org/site/hala...

Visit: http://echogodsandsilentmountainsphot...

If you have any questions about this video or the book please feel free to contact: echoquestions@gmail.com

Please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Echo-G...

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