On this always-joyful occasion of Spring Break, I am in Abu Dhabi, at my parents' place. My partner from the film project, who is from Kuwait, was at one point in time planning on spending the break with her parents as well. This is no longer possible, for obvious reasons. The last time I saw her, shortly prior to my departure from AUS yeasterday afternoon, she was understandably quite distraught. Her family was initially Iraqi, but sought refuge in Kuwait a decade or so ago. They would be one of the first in the line of Saddam's fire.
Watching the bombardment of Baghdad on the news with my family is a surreal experience. My dad is rather pro-war, which is no surprise. But calmly so, merely muttering random anti-Iraq propaganda at the screen as the attack unfolds. Then there's my brother, with his rather... unique... outlook on life. My brother should be the poster-boy for those who claim that violence on TV and video games desensitizes people to that occurring in real life. His only discernable emotion is pure excitement -- bliss, even. He's all but bouncing off the couch, cheering and cackling with glee as each new bomb hits, despite everyone's best efforts to calm him the hell down. This is a video game to him. My mother just sits there, not saying much. And all I can think about is my film partner.
Abu Dhabi is caught in the tail end of the same Shamaal that is causing the dust storms up in Kuwait that CNN has been saying might cause difficulties to the US troops. Down here, it's mostly wind and lightning storms. Abu Dhabi city is all high-rises, and the wind is loudly howling through the gaps between them. The thunder and lightning outside are almost indistinguishable to the senses from the gunfire flashes and explosions on the TV. It is all too easy to imagine that what's happening on TV is also going on outside. It's more than a little scary.
The talk of chemical and biological weapons is hypochondria / paranoia -inducing. Every momentary headache or dizziness sends me into paroxysms of "what if?"... Saddam claims he doesn't have biological weapons. But he also claimed he didn't have scuds, until he started throwing them at Kuwait City.