Monday, August 23, 2004

Bana's Dreams

Through my girlfriend, I learned about Bana, a young Iraqi student who has been corresponding with some local women here. I'm not yet clear on the details of how they hooked up, but the correspondence (at least Bana's side of it) is here.

Here's one more Iraqi voice to add to your perceptions. And when you think about whether the U.S. should stay in Iraq, get smarter and more committed and finish the job it's begun, or cut and run and let the place go to the dogs, think about who you're abandoning. Here she is.

Someone among the American girls she corresponds with sent her one of those "getting to know you" surveys that go around the Internet. Some of her answers have a poignancy I don't think the senders expected:


people led by other people blindly (clerics).


I don`t know how it looks like, I never get one.

She's in Baghdad, not near any of the recent fighting, but the lack of security affects her nonetheless:

Well, It does not matter if I live in war zone or not cause it is the same. If it`s near or far, it is affected on our life in some way.

For instance I lose my job simply because when I took the permession to stay at home I left alot of papers & it increased during that period so my boss ask me to stay till sunrise which is an impossible thing cause of the situation; then who gonna finish the housework?

I asked him to take it with to finished it at home but he did not allowed so I left it to another person.

Having our daily life kept in suspense, always having to be ready to respond at a moment's notice ... make papa & mama stressed, nerves & desperate so they fight most of the time. Papa blame her cause she can`t understand the situation while mama blame him cause he won't to move out side Iraq when there is a chance to live there & we caught in the middle of all this.

So who does she blame for this? The Americans, of course, right? We all know from reading certain pundits that everything that goes wrong in the world is the fault of the Americans. Bana doesn't think so:

Everyday we heard many many things, & all of that because of one beast "sader." I`d rather die than live under his rules! I allowed to saddam to destroy my childhood but i`ll never let this damn guy (sorry for using this word when I talk to you) destroy my future.. NO WAY..

... I`m sorry for those Iraqis who live without knowing who to trust and led by clerics, & the later use them to gain power. Regrettably the fight broke out again because of young cleric called "sader." We call him "satan" he is just like saddam depends on violence to impose himself upon us.

For the uptenth time "thanks God" the colition soldiers are over here to get ride of him.again thanks alot for your great sacrifice to send us your dearest guys to help us. would you please give me a favor & tell everyone you know that Bana *an iraqi women* say hi & for all things you`ve done to her country you, all of you people of the U.S become the owner of her heart.

Appeals to the victims (actual or potential) are a cheap tactic. Certainly the U.S. occupation has created its own set of victims. Then it becomes a matter of comparing the number and severity of the victims we made to the ones we saved, and the individuals disappear again into statistics. But the great thing about certain people is that they simply refuse to disappear.

So this time I'm not going to demand that you look at her and tell her that you think the overthrow of Saddam, Udai and Qsay was all a mistake, a waste of our time, that the world was a better place when she lived under them. Or that it would be best to let the Islamists do what they want in "their" lands.

But if you wonder why I don't think the "American" thing to do at this moment is just pull up stakes and come home because Iraq is turning into a tough struggle requiring all our skills, she is one reason why. There are about 23 million others, but for this one, at least I can show you a face.