Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bittersweet Victory

I was flipping from one webpage to another, reading different bloggers' reactions to the Asia Cup victory by the Iraqi team. And then I got to BT's page, and it just resonated within me, because I was thinking of someone else, someone who would have celebrated this victory with such gusto, had he been with us today. I was thinking of Cousin A, who watched the Asia Cup final in his aunt's house in the US, by himself, thousands of miles from his family. I'm sure he thought of how much funner it would have been had he been sitting in the middle of his father, cousins, brothers, watching the game, like he had watched hundreds of other games. I'm sure he wished he could have joined in his people's street celebrations. I'm sure he thought of his brother Bilal, and how he would have enjoyed this so much. All I could think about was how a few short months ago, after the elections in January, Bilal was joining in his political party's street celebrations. driving around with his friends, beeping their car horns, flying their flags. How he would have done the same today with Iraq's win in the Asia cup, beeping his car horns, flying his flag, popping his fire crackers... . Allah yirhamuh and all of Baghdad's martyrs. Bittersweet victory...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Days Gone By

Bilal and my oldest the night before we left Baghdad. December 2006.

My husband is here from Baghdad for a short visit. We spend a lot of time at his parents' house, with his cousin 'A', here from Baghdad, attempting to move on with his life. 'A' is mashaAllah, in good spirits, not only laughing, but most importantly, making all of us around him laugh. He's brought a beautiful touch of Baghdad back here with him.
We sit with him and listen to his stories of Baghdad, and reminisce with him. He mentions his brother, Bilal, Allah yirhamuh, often. When we're eating, taking pictures, playing. He shows us old videos and photos. I realize how everything reminds him of his brother, and of home. But I'm impressed by his ability to stay strong and cheerful and to make everyone around him smile and laugh. I see him when he has his dark moments, but he manages to move on. May Allah keep him strong and cheerful always.
The other day we were sitting and he was going through his wedding pictures. A day of celebration and smiles and happiness. Flipping through those pictures was like looking at a summary of Baghdad today. 'A' pointed at the people in his picture, 'This one was killed, this one left the country, and this one, May God grant him freedom, was taken.' Three fourths of the people in his photos had left Baghdad, or been killed, or were kidnapped by one force or another. And these pictures were from less than three years ago. In such a short period of time, life has changed so much for these people. SubhanaAllah, if I knew the future, I would do so much good.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Iraqi Refugees

It's not easy to just up and leave your home, family and country. Even though life in Baghdad is horrific at best these days, leaving it isn't that easy.
My husband's cousin and best friend, 'A', 26, left Baghdad earlier this week, and arrived here in the States yesterday. 'A' is Bilal's older brother. After his brother's kidnapping and murder, and after being threatened with his own life, he had to leave his country, separate from his family and attempt to start a new life.
He's here now, and people would say he is lucky. But he doesn't think so. He misses his family too much. His mother, father, siblings, wife of three years and his two little babies, the youngest all of one month old.
My heart goes out so deeply for 'A.' I think of myself living away from my husband, and thinking of him all the time, missing him in every step and being. And this is while I am surrounded by my family, my friends and my beautiful children. 'A''s life has been turned upside down. He's in a completely new country. He doesn't speak the language so fluently. He's away from his beloved, from his children, from his friends, from everyone he grew up with and lived with. He was a dentist in Baghdad, an educated, well placed man. Now, he has to start all over. He has to start from the zero, learning the language, making new friends, taking on any job that will accept him for now.
I hope that in a year he'll have set the foundation for a good life for him and his children. For now, my heart goes out to him and to all of Iraq's displaced people.