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Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy | The Nation

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Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy

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This scene is the first of a new play titled Only We Who Guard the Mystery
Shall Be Unhappy
. No performance or reading of this work may be given
without express permission of the author, which will be happily granted
to anyone wanting to use it at antiwar events. For permission please
contact him at: MysteryGuardians@aol.com.

LAURA BUSH:

About the Author

Tony Kushner
Tony Kushner’s most recent work includes the new play The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and...

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(Softly, trying hard to explain:) Because without sanctions there'd be no stopping him. And perhaps there'll be a war and many, many more Iraqi children will die, and oh, honey, no one wants that, no one wanted you dead! Oh God no, I mean God no, what sort of animal would want that? No, it's a terrible sin and I'm sure we'll all have to pay for it, me and Bushie and--I call him Bushie, my husband, I'm not supposed to do that in public, I promised I wouldn't but then he went and made that joke the other day that I wasn't out on the campaign trail for the midterm elections because I had to stay in Crawford and sweep the porch after it rained, and you know children I keep a very, very neat house and yes I do sweep the porch but he makes me sound sometimes like a...a frump! And anyway Bushie is a funny name, huh, a funny name for a President, President Bushie? Without sanctions and war, Saddam will go on till he has the power to do something unspeakable to another country, to the US or, or, well any other country, it could be anywhere. He gassed the Kurds! So he must be stopped and you, you were caught in crossfire and that is...

There's just no word for what it is.

And we'll pay for your deaths one way or another. He just hates it when I say that, my husband, it's not in his nature to think that way, but I believe it, sweetie, I do. I think there is guilt when a child dies even if the death was in a just cause, and one person's guilt is guilt for everyone--that's in this beautiful book (she holds out the book)--and we suffer that guilt, me and Bushie and Poppy and Bar and the UN Security Council; and you suffered your death, all sorts of Iraqi people die for the sins of your leader, for his evil, and you know some people say serves 'em right, but that's just vengeful and, and indiscriminate and those people are wrong. They're wrong is all, and (to the angel:) how many children have died in Iraq, you know, what with the sanctions and the bombing and all?

ANGEL:

The bombings of course have never stopped; they have been continuous since the Gulf War ended. It never ended.

LAURA BUSH:

How many children, do you know?

ANGEL:

Hundreds of children. Thousands of children. 150,000 children. 400,000 children. Who's counting? No one is counting. A lot. From diseases related to the sanctions and the power outages and the depleted uranium dust shed from the casings of American missiles? Perhaps related? Probably related? Nearly 600,000 children have died. Many, many children have died.

LAURA BUSH:

Oh gosh. And on the bright side, all those dead children and yet look, you have maintained such a low student-teacher ratio. Three-to-one!

ANGEL:

We believe a low student-to-teacher ratio is necessary for learning.

LAURA BUSH:

I agree!

ANGEL:

And yet in the United States it's so high, on the average.

LAURA BUSH:

On the average, thirty-to-one, forty-to-one! Way, way too high! I was a teacher once. Before I married Bushie. Or, as I sometimes call him, The Chimp. You know, those ears. It would be nice if there was government money to make schools smaller. For living children. But you see, honey, sweetie, precious--do they have names?

ANGEL:

They do, but I'm not allowed to tell you.

LAURA BUSH:

Why not?

ANGEL:

I'm not allowed to tell you that, either. Sorry.

(Little pause.)

LAURA BUSH:

Oh. All right. Well anyway, children, free educations with three-to-one student-teacher ratios or even twenty-to-one student-teacher ratios or even enough classrooms with enough desks to sit in would be swell, wouldn't it, but...one of the lessons from the wonderful book I'm going to read to you today is that if you accept free bread, or free whatever, education, daycare, whatnot, if you accept that free stuff you will have to give up freedom in exchange, and that isn't right. Freedom is what matters, not things of the earth. Like food. And I know you died starving, honey, but look at your nice pajamas! Do you see what I mean?

ANGEL:

Children, do you see what Mrs. Bush means?

(They stand and answer, talking happily, but again the only sound is Messiaen's birds.)

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