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While I Was Gone a War Began Historical Context

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In I Ask the Impossible, each of the poems is followed by a date and place indicating when the poem was written and in which city. Consequently, the reader immediately knows that "While I Was Gone a War Began" was written in 1998 in Chicago. The year 1998 was full of many noteworthy events. Castillo has revealed that she wrote this poem specifically in reaction to the August 7 bombings by Al Qaeda terrorists at two U.S. embassies in Africa. It was these bombings that first brought international notoriety to Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. In response, the FBI put Bin Laden on its most-wanted list, and President Clinton, on August 20, ordered cruise missile strikes on a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, which was suspected of producing materials for chemical weapons. He also ordered an attack on an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.

Although the specific event that inspired...

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This section contains 524 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the While I Was Gone a War Began Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
While I Was Gone a War Began from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.