Spring, Iraq War Year 6, and Easter all begin these days. These fotos show how the Meadowlands in northwestern New Jersey will look in a month or so. Below upper left, that’s Snake Hill aka Laurel Hill aka “Rock of Gibraltar” in the background.

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When Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, I was working in Kuwait and trapped there. After two weeks of staying out of sight, I was arrested. A few days later, Iraqi soldiers turned me over to the secret police. Along with about 15 other people (frequently changing) I was held at a strategic site as a human shield from late August until mid-December 1990. In my case, the site was an oil refinery south of Basra not far from the Shatt al-Arab water way.  In Iraq, there’s an area not unlike the Meadowlands. Today I heard Dr. Azzam Alwash of The Eden Again Project interviewed on the Leonard Lopate show. By the way, the Iraqi marshlands begin south of Qurnah, regarded as the site of the legendary “Garden of Eden.” Hearing Dr. Alwash felt like the first positive story I’ve heard about Iraq in years. Listen to it on podcast at the link to his name above.

Alwash will be one of the many fabulous speakers at World Water Day 2008 at the American Museum of Natural History. It’s been said that future wars will be over water, not oil. Or both. Even states in the United States conflict over shared water.

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The foto above shows the Meadowlands at low tide. Like the Iraqi marsh, it’s a major bird world. If the Meadowlands ever had a stable human population like Iraq’s Marsh Arabs–depicted in Wilfred Thesiger’s outstanding fotos– we have no knowledge of them. It’s hard enough to imagine NJs current Meadowlands as a place once covered by dense forest, which it was until the British colonial constabulary burned it down to ferret out pirates.

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