Friday, October 21, 2005

Saddam's trial...stream of conciousness...

It's January of 91, and I'm watching the beginning of Operation Desert Storm. I've no idea what it is like to be in a war other than the Cold War in my lifetime. I will look back 14 years later and wish I'd gone and joined the military. I always thought I'd never be any good at it, as I've got a bit of a rebellious streak. Of course now I'm old enough to know that those usually turn out to be good military types. Someone strong to be broken and still be standing after.

It is late 1990's, almost 2000. My father is dying, and I spend a lot of time reading while I am caring for him. I finally get to read some books written by Freya Stark that I've been wanting to read for years that contain vivid descriptions of early Iraq, when the state is first created. I devour them, and become intrigued by the land and the people described, in a way that feels different from anything that I have read before.

It's early 2003. I know what is coming in Iraq, and I'm waiting for it. I'm listening to every Iraqi expat I can to try and find out what their opinions are.

It's April 9, 2003. And who does not think of Saddam on that day, as the statue is pulled down? We think of him, yes, as defeated and destroyed. The statue is just a symbol, but a powerful one indeed.

It's November of 2003. I'm reading Iraqi blogs as they start popping up, and I'm addicted. It's the only way I want to hear news on Iraq, good or bad, from the people living it.

It's September of 2004. I'm having lunch with Iraqis at a place in DC. They are from all over Iraq; Basra, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Sulymania....one of them knows someone I know in Baghdad. It's a small world, and for me it's getting smaller daily. I hold the hands of a woman I've never met before over the table, as tears roll down our faces, while she tells me of the sufferings of her family from Saddam. I call her a woman, she is only 23 years old, but she has lived lifetimes compared to most women I know. She is an interpreter for the US Army. Her sister shot dead by the terrorists only months before, because they thought it was her, and she is considered an 'infidel', working for the Americans. She went right back to work. She says, "I will not let them win." She speaks with absolute passion about America. When I ask her, "what would help Iraq the most?" she answers without hesitation, "bring them here, especially the young ones, my age, and show them what freedom is like, show them how hard people work here but also what they get for that, and how they live, and show them what is possible, for we can't imagine that which we have never seen." I tell her that there is a very big concern that doing that would only encourage them to leave, because once they have seen an easier life, they will try to get out and not stay to help Iraq. She cries, "No!" and many at the table join in with her and state that Iraqis will not do this, they will not leave their country, and those that do, always return there. I can understand this, as an American if my country needed me I would not leave, and if I were away and she needed me, I would come. The man next to me says, as he sees us talking, "you must understand this...everyone, everyone in Iraq has friends or family that has been killed by this regime." He told me that his extended family (which can be quite large in Iraq) had 12 killed.

At this point, I'm thinking that my country needs me not so much here, as maybe I'm needed in another place.

October 2004....another meeting, this one tells me something certain. Some of us are just taken with a specific culture or people. My brother in law loves Africa and its people. People think he's crazy. So, call me crazy....

March 2005....I land in Iraq, finally. I feel at home. So, call me crazy again.

For so many Iraqis, Saddam causes feelings of pain, hatred, fear, and suffering, I know that too well, as I have seen many tears shed from it, and worse are the ones that are not shed because the pain is past tears. He is, however, made of flesh and bone, and like all humans, can be hurt or killed, though I think that what will kill him the most will be humiliation.

So, really, when I see Saddam, I see what brought me to where I am today.....and though I wish more than anything that Iraq had not to go through what she has been through these past years, especially the past 15 years....I am quite aware Saddam, in some way, changed my life when he changed others...

In even the very worst cases of evil....if something good can come of it, then evil has not won, and justice will be served. I was just trying to be a tiny piece of the good for a few people, which turned out to be nothing when compared to what they've given me.

Aasha Al-Iraq......Lelabad.

2 Comments:

Blogger Matthew said...

Hi Kerry,

In even the very worst cases of evil....if something good can come of it, then evil has not won, and justice will be served. I was just trying to be a tiny piece of the good for a few people, which turned out to be nothing when compared to what they've given me.

Everybody has a choice between being part of a problem or part of a solution.

You have made the unusual choice of being part of someone else's solution.

But as you have discovered, give, and you will receive. And living in a far-away land doesn't make other people foreigners, they're just potential friends we haven't met yet!

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Health Blog said...

devour them, and become intrigued by the land and the people described, in a way that feels different from anything that I have read before.

1:11 PM  

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