Saturday, November 13, 2004

LET FREEDOM RING

These are posts from two teenage sisters, Najma and HNK, who live in Mosul, Iraq:

Najma: S called her brother-in-law, and he told her that he is in the hospital and that his father has DIED...I can't describe how I felt, I was crying and shaking and the tears wouldn't go out... I just held Aya who's just lost a grandpa and made sure she won't cry and make things worse. The war is not over and I slept at the sound of bullets and explosions last night... Mom said that this war is the worst among all the others... I remember you telling me how Iraq is going to be and how we're going to be safer, and then start to be angry at everything!! I'm thinking of making a kind of STRIKE and not to blog till things get better and I start to feel better towards you. Everything happening in Falloja is breaking my heart and thinking that dad has no emergency plan if the same happened in Mosul but running away to Baghdad makes me only sadder..

HNK: if you didn't offer your help, tomorrow can be one of the best days in my life. But You help me ... you help every body in this word to destroy their own countries. But believe me it's time to help your self.....yesterday when I heard that boush won and the American soldiers will began to attack al_faluja, I began to cry and I couldn't stop, and my head ache me These days I have a big grief, every night I have a nightmare, my nightmare today was: our taxi driver who take us every day to school kidnapped me and najma, and took us to somewhere dark......

After reading these posts, I just cried. For the Iraqi people, for my husband, for soldiers who have died and soldiers who still have the burden of fighting. Such a tragic situation all around. I don't want to start the blame game; I'm just expressing how I see the current situation. And I don’t know when it is going to get better. What is the solution? Yes, the Iraqi people bear ultimate responsibility for their future, but they are not entirely controlling the show. Yes, we have to fight the insurgents but for every innocent civilian we kill, we are possibly creating more insurgents.

Life was terrible for the Iraqis under Saddam. But it is not good under us either. For whatever freedom Iraqis have now, however many schools we have built (by the way, only $1 billion of the $18 billion slated for reconstruction has been spent), the Iraqi people fear for their lives. I’m not sure of the utility to have the right to speak your mind when you are trying to dodge bullets and car bombs. And besides the military conflict, Iraq is now plagued by violent crimes as the security situation deteriorates.

Having lived in another war torn country, I know what a luxury our principles can seem. Before you can even begin to think about the lofty ideals of freedom and democracy, you have to have food on the table, a roof over your head and basic security so you can venture outdoors without fear of being killed. Until you have those basic needs met, freedom and democracy are meaningless. It is just the talk of well meaning, but naïve people who are better off than you.

Because of my husband’s involvement in Iraq, I feel an intimate connection to what is happening there, and even a responsibility. That is why I am mostly in despair when I think of what is unfolding. I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. All I see is darkness.