It was Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night - whichever you prefer. I used to love bonfire night, when I first got here. We never had firecrackers when I grew up because they were banned by the state government, though over the border they were available. They were pretty and thrilling to me, partly I guess because they seemed dangerous... because they were banned. Here no one understands firecrackers as dangerous - except those kids who use them as weapons, aiming them at rival gangs.

I had a cold and went to bed early, about 10.30. By 11 someone had started up with the noisiest fireworks I've ever heard. They were louder than anything kids normally have, sounding almost like mortar fire... well mortar fire in the movies, anyway.
For no good reason, the thought that leapt to my mind was that someone local, someone Muslim, was trying to make a point about bombing raids in the middle of the night, about sleeping with that kind of noise, not to mention fear, every night. I imagined it would go on and on and looked for my earplugs so I could sleep (I had to get up v early the next morning and what with the cold I really really wanted to sleep).
It didn't last as long as I'd feared and I even realised quite quickly how absurd it was to imagine that someone was protesting the bombing of Afghanistan like that. The next morning I realised that actually it would make a great protest, but that's not what it was about. And that's not why I'm writing it here.

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