Shailja Patel, the Kenya-born poet, performs her piece, Eater of Death, at the 2009 Bioneers Conference.

Shailja Patel is a performance artist and poet who splits her time between her home of Nairobi and San Francisco. Saturday at the Bioneers Conference Shailja unveiled her new piece, Eater of Death, a first-person account of a woman who lost her family in a U.S. airstrike.

It's so easy here in the States to forget the wages of our taxes. As she mentions in her introduction, the annual budget for our two imperial wars is seventeen times the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency.This budget has paid for the deaths of approximately thirty thousand Afghanis alone in US air strikes.

That's the population of my home town of Santa Fe.

As the good book says, you reap what you sew. America has sewn death and destruction in Afghanistan for eight years, much of it the headless, senseless death of innocents. We chalk it up to the collateral damage of empire, as if each innocent human life lost is nothing but a paint scratch on our nation's reputation. But they are lives, snuffed out.

Shailja Patel reminds us of this, and it's a kick to the solar plexus.


Originally posted to LeftCoastBreakdown on Mon Oct 19, 2009 at 10:30 AM PDT.

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