It's Iraq's day-hope springs eternal...
I can't begin to describe my feelings tonight as I get ready for following the vote in Iraq.
I wish for the day when the beauty of the palms and sparkling rivers will be drawing the world's eyes instead of the burned cars. I wish for the day that people can see Iraq the way I do, with the eyes of a lover, omitting flaws and lingering on the beauty, not just the external, but the internal. Forgiving weaknesses and oddities borne from the years of strife and seeing the passion and determination and the goodness.
I have, as an American, been accused of being naive, overly optimisitic, and too trusting, too open. Well, I guess I wouldn't be me any other way, so I can live with that. And I've found there are Iraqis that recognize that in Americans, and they either take advantage of it, or they love you the more for it, like a child who is so in wonderment of the world that they don't always take all precautions to protect themselves. I've been lucky to find more often than not, that I've been taken under their wing and they are the most loyal friends one could wish for.
Someone asked me to post this photo (at top) a while back and I was hesitant because it is personal to me. But I do love the symbolism so I decided to share it. It is my hand entwined with one of my Iraqi friends, this was about 6 weeks after last year's election and you can see on the index fingernail two small spots of ink left from the "purple finger" as it has come to be known. This relationship, and what it represents, the thousands of Iraqis and Americans that have held hands and held each other during through the past three years says everything, about our two nations, and what is possible in this world.
Today is your day Iraq. And I'm just an observer, but I'm watching with hope beyond hope. For all of us.