I spend a lot of

I spend a lot of time in the car these days and I am blessed to listen to NPR while driving. I heard an excellent WNYC interview this morning with a number of Iraqis living in New York, who are supposedly going to be questioned by the FBI soon, for whatever reason. They talked about the murders and mayhem they witnessed back home, the relatives killed and left in jails for them to pick up, the utter fear that people in Iraq live with every single day.
It wasn’t so much the content of what they were saying that interested me, however; it was the tone of their voices, the slight intonations of sadness marked with ambivalence and anxiety about their country that I heard. Their voices sounded frail, even the ones who had not been back to Iraq in 30 years. I knew I had heard these voices before and it struck me that they sounded Polish — these men spoke with the same quiver in their words, the same intensity, and the same sorrowful conviction of possibility that I had heard from Polish men during the year I spent in Poland. I’m sure there are some political and cultural parallels. But probably, it’s just an aural feeling I had about their lives lived.