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A Painter’s Dream

“Isn’t this a great painting?” the tour guide at Metropolitan Museum asked her group of various people from different countries about Polo Veronese’s (1528–1588) painting, Mars and Venue United by Love. “It is. I wish it was reality,” a middle-age woman who later introduced herself as Razan Al-Hayat from Iraq, replied. The American guide took a glance at Iraqi woman, and move to another painting.

The painting was extremely interesting, and its concept of the painting was clear enough. A “cupid is tying the plump white leg of the goddess of love to the god of war, and “uniting them in love”, calming the usually belligerent Mars and producing harmony and goodwill.” Venus sets off her beauty by wearing jewelry—pearl earrings, delicate gold bracelets, and a slight tighten belt draped across her chest that look alike the strap of a quiver. The flora is lavish and clouds race across a blue-green sky.

I stood there looking at the painting, and thinking about the possible amalgamation of love and war. I do not know why but it seemed odd to me. Some blocks away from the museum, where I was standing, is World Trade Center. In fact, there is nothing by that name but the remains of it. Those whose hearts were full of hate ruined it killing more than 3000 innocent people.

Everybody knows what happened after that. Afghanistan, which believed to be a safe haven for those who were blamed for the brutal attack came under attack. And a new era of killing was started in a country which has already suffered dreadfully from war. This followed by war in Iraq. And a peaceful region of the world became a battlefield and a brutal stage for some cruel and selfish people to kill others by one or another name.

Can we really combine love and war and make the world a better place as Mr. Veronese has suggested hundred years ago? I asked this question from Razan Al-Hayat 30, the Iraqi woman who was a teacher in a school in Baghdad, and now on official visit to New York City. “No, we can’t. At least, it doesn’t seem possible in near future,” she said. “Human beings have fertilized an unlimited amount of seeds of hate and discrimination on the surface of the globe which have already grown up pouring more seeds of the same kind.” We both talked for along time mourning over our countries, its people, and their future, which I am sure they do not have.
After a long time, I thought that being born in a war torn country is enough to grief on, it is time to see New York City as I am here for the very first time in my life.

Even though, I have been living in Albany (ABOUT 160 miles from New York City) for almost six months now, I have never been to New York City. Thus, I wanted to make most of my first trip to the city which never sleeps. I had plans to visit Liberty Statue, walk in Central Park, take some pictures with United Nations office, watch the movie Sex and the City in a Time Square’s theater, and many more.

New York is such a colorful city. The streets are full of people, and they are not only Americans. They are from everywhere. People with various shapes and colors, black, white, brown, red and more with different clothes and costumes, and speaking different languages, are walking with full speed in the streets. There is a guy, apparantly a Muslim, with a long beard and a white cap praying in the middle of the busy streets spreading his scarf. Nobody cares what is he doing or even who is he?

I am standing on the corner of 8TH Avenue. I thought Mr. Veronese’s dream has changed into reality, and the love has won against hate and war. For one moment, I forgot my country where suicide bombers blow up themselves killing others almost every day, and where coalition forces throwing bombs with blind eyes taking human lives every night. For one moment, I forgot Iraq, Philistine, Israel, Sudan, and Kashmir where dozens of women are raped and innocent people are murdered everyday. The world was beautiful, serene and so peaceful, just like the hug of a mother. I would not have been out of this pleasant moment if I was not hit by a heavy shoulder of an over-weight woman.

I came out of my dream world and started walking and taking pictures until I reach some big flat screens in Time Square. There were business news, showbiz news, and advertisements; however, I stack to CNN. It was showing live footage of a suicide bomber who took her car into a military base and blew it up. So far the reported casualties were thirty seven. As a result, there was blood and parts of human bodies’ everywhere. Security forces were frightened and running towards different directions. The story ended but not the violence. The very next report was about fighting’s between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. A man was carrying the body of a child while the women were crying and grieving. I felt Mr. Veronese’s dream has broken into pieces, and the world is the worst place one can imagine. I felt embraced of my thoughts while ago, sighed deeply and moved ahead.

I tried to throw the bad thoughts out of my head, but I was feeling weaker and faint. I have been asking myself, will we be Mr. Veronese’s dream become true, and will the world be a better place sometime in future? I do not know what, but there was something inside my head and heart which was not allowing me to reply yes.

On the way to the bus station, I saw United Nations office where the flags of various countries were waving together. In reality, they are not doing a lot to unite the world. I was so disappointed hesitating to take a picture with them as I believed putting flags together does not mean or bring unity. We need to do something beyond that.

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