Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I was hoping we’d get the day off, but that didn’t happen. G.W., whose visit to King’s grave was heavily protested, recently said that America has made progress toward King’s dream, but we’re not there yet.

This is one of those special occasions when I agree with G.W. Within the military in Iraq, I don’t see a lot of tension between white and black soldiers. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, I just haven’t experienced it. However, I have been witness to the emergence of a new racial epithet for Arabs.

Haji, once an honorable term for one who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca, has moved into popular use among soldiers to denigrate and generalize Arabs and those who live in predominately Arab nations. Spencer Case wrote a great editorial about it in the Jan. 15 edition of the Anaconda Times on pg. 2. It will also run in the Army Times soon and you can read it on his blog, Case and Point, at

The chow hall was nice. They made a huge MLK cake. I couldn’t help but notice that it was a two layer cake, vanilla and chocolate. I nearly teared up as I realized that, in a small way, this cake was realizing Dr. King’s dream. Two separate flavors combining to form one cake. But then I realized that the vanilla layer was on top of the chocolate and that they were separated by an impenetrable layer of cream cheese icing. Just another example of the vanilla cake keeping the chocolate cake down.

So, yes, G.W., I guess we’re not there yet.

photo caption: a lovely sunset on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Camp Anaconda, Iraq.


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