Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thank You Bush (or not)

I was thinking a few days before Bush's last day, seriously thinking about whether in twenty years, Iraqis will be grateful for what he and Cheney have done to their country. Because right now, all I can see is the blood of many, and its so hard to see through Bilal's blood, through A and A and U's kidnapping, through my distance from my husband, the greatness that should have come from overthrowing a tyrant.

I still don't know how I feel about it.

I remember when Saddam was first thrown out, people were hurt, but it had not yet reached home for us and our family. The most tangible thing we saw from it was that Aunt N's husband was finally able to come home from exile, where 7 years earlier he had fled Iraq in disguise and on foot through the mountains, because of Saddam's promise to hang him for a 'transgression' he had not committed. He was finally able to come home to his children who were now men and women, and to his wife who he had left years ago. He was finally able to leave the tough, difficult life of a refugee.
So we were thankful, albeit sad that a country had to be thrown into war and death for this to happen.

And then, Baghdad became unbearable, but it was still worth it. Sahar's husband was kidnapped but he returned. Uncle S was kidnapped, but he returned. All with God's will, and we were so thankful.

And Baghdad grew worse.

We could not leave our homes after five, we could not visit our grandmother in Adhamiya because of the danger of travelling there, we could hardly visit any family members who did not live on our street or in our immediate community. Eid celebrations were confined to a small alley way in Baghdad, children's play was confined to homes, and fathers slept at night with guns besides their heads.

And then the boys were taken. Three young men, living in the house right in front of us, our relatives through Aunt N's husband, were kidnapped. And they did not return. Nor their bodies. Only promises and hopes that they might still be out there, two and a half years later. Their children born after their kidnapping left to grow up wondering why other children had fathers and they did not.

And our other neighbor, of a different sect, was killed in his shop. And our uncle in law's brother was killed in our neighborhood.

And then, Bilal was taken. And killed. And his body was recovered and buried by his Babby, the first one to join his grandfather, and be his companion after death.

And then, Bush's war did not seem to make it anymore. It did not seem to weigh more heavily than these young men's death. It did not seem to make up for all this blood spilt, all these tears shed, all this heartbreak and agony and permanent scarring of our young children. My heart still cries when I think of Bilal and the others, how can I imagine Aunt N's tears and heart break?

And yet, I still do wonder if Iraq will be on track in 25 years, and people will look back on these days and say they were the individual sacrifices needed to free 18 million men and women from the prison Saddam had them in. I wonder, but I can not say that I have seen that day yet, nor felt it with my heart. Perhaps one day, we will thank you Bush for what you did.

But that day is not today.

1 comment:

Dave Inportland said...

I don't think that day will ever come. The US invaded Iraq and made the situation much, much worse than even the most jaded could have imagined.

And know what? Most Americans don't care one way or the other. Even before the US pulled most of it's troops out of Iraq, people were blaming Iraqis for the fighting (never mind we toppled the government, spread insecurity and generally screwed things up).

Most Americans STILL could not even find Iraq on a blank map.