Sunday, November 09, 2003

On Back-to-Iraq today:

The top human rights official for the CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] says Saddam Hussein killed at least 300,000 opponents and buried them in 263 mass graves located around the country...
"...the majority of people buried in the mass graves are believed to be Kurds killed by Saddam in the 1980s after rebelling against the government and Shiites killed after an uprising following the 1991 Gulf War."

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Before I posted about Eva's call, I got the first email at bottom from Meran...then a bit later, after I responded about Eva calling, he emailed back a bit more about what is going on...It looks like things are changing, he may be reassigned, as Eva said, and Eva and the boys may come home sooner than originally planned...

You sound a bit bored, huh? I know how that is, when you're in the hospital. I've been in hospital many times in the past and yes, it gets very boring!! I know Eva wanted to get the DVD player for you, but as you said, she forgot. Many things for her to remember. She did pretty good to get most of them done. I think when you have little kids around, things get much more confusing to keep track of. It was that way for me anyways...

About the box...Eva called me 3 days ago on the 'call through' phone from your Uncle's. We talked for about 30 minutes, and I asked her if I should send it to your APO address. She said to either wait, or send it to your Nashville home to wait for her. She said that some letters she mailed before she left still haven't gotten there, so she doesn't trust the mail. What do you think? Maybe there is a better way?

It is colder here than normal. I have seen it this cold before, this early, but most of the time it isn't. We have several inches of snow, and it feels more like December than November. I definitely think your weather there is better than ours!!

What do you think of the rebuilding of Iraq? It will be hard work, I think, and take a lot of time. I hope that most of the people living there will not be too discouraged. I think that most people living there want to work hard to have a good life, don't you? Unfortunately, there are a few selfish people that want to grab power for themselves, or let hate and anger take control of them instead of forgiveness and compassion...

Love, Mom

From: Meran
To: Trish Lewis
Subject: Re: we will be fine
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 07:00:10 -0800

yes, it is cold at night but in day time is good, I am in mosal because of my appendix until nov 25th, I called my captian today and he told me we can do thing with out you so come back so i will try to go back after am will. do worry we all will be fine ensaallah. how is christopher doing tell him hi and also uncle billy and his wife and all his kids and any body else if they are asking about us. do you now where to sent that box if no let me now please. i tolled eva to bring with here one of these dvd with 7 in screen with you but she forgot to bring with her. i really could use one of them. because I am sitting down all day doing nating after surgery. i miss you i hope we see each other soon. yes we will have time to sit and dicuss all the hardship and enjoy i involved. keep in tauch.

you son in law
abu salih, bilal and mu'man and eva

I have more time to write
From: Trish Lewis
Date: Monday, November 3, 2003 7:53 am
Subject: Re: they are fine

I am happy to hear you are OK, Meran!! Appendix can be serious. Take care of yourself, and you, Eva, and the boys are in my thoughts and prayers.

I will be sending a box for Eid-ul-Fitr. I'll probably send it out either this week or next week. I see it is on November 25th, I think, this year?

That is only a couple of days before Thanksgiving here in America.

I bet it's getting cold there, too, eh?

One of these days, I hope to visit with you when you are back home, about your work when you are there. I'm sure it will be interesting to hear about.

I'm VERY proud of both you and Eva. I love you guys, and be safe.

Love, Mom

From: Meran
To: Trish Lewis
Subject: Re: they are fine
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 18:40:12 +0300

Hi trish
yes, you could write me a massege and i will give her message. i am in touch with her every day, I am sich in a hospital I had to remove my appendix. But now am very fine i am writting this letter after two nights in a hospital in mosul. all 3 kids are fine and they have fun time. Eva had hard time until she entered the country. the serian government did not allowed her to entered so we tolled her to go to Turkey. she had no problem entered throw Turkey. nov. 1 03 before i came to mosal she drove to zakho to see me and she had mu,man with her before a flight to mosal.


Eva didn't call before leaving the morning she left, I assumed she had to hurry up.

When did they get there? Did they make the final connecting flight or did they have to take the bus?

Tell Eva if she still wants me to take care of her email, she needs to tell me her password (she forgot to do that)

I hope everything is OK. I bet you were very happy to see Eva, Salih, Bilal, and Mu'min!! Mu'min has grown so much (well, they all have, I'm sure) Take care, and tell Eva to be sure and write me when she can so I can keep in touch. (I can write her at your address, right?)

Love, Mom

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I was on my way to pick up my elderly mother for a medical appointment today. As I drove along, my cell phone rings. While I do my best to avoid a car wreck but at the same time answer phone, I see the caller ID says that foreign number again; yesterday, I missed a call from that number. I had a hunch...

I answered. Clicks. A man says hello and I say hello back. More clicks. "Hi, Mom!" It's Eva! *Big smile* I had a hunch...!

Eva explained the phone number has a Great Britian 'country code' because it's some sort of 'call through' satellite phone that gets it's 'boost' through that country. Uhhh...OK...! Anyways, she was surprised to hear that Meran had gotten an email to me about his appendix already. She further explained that as a contract worker, he normally would have been treated at the Zahko hospital and that would be that, but when the military personnel he works with heard, they said they wanted him to have the best so flew him to Mosul to their hospital. Ironically, however, it was the Iraqi doctors who diagnosed him correctly over the onsite army medical personnel in Zahko! By the time he got to Mosul, the doctors there said that he got there in the nick of time; 30 more minutes or so and it would have burst. That could be serious. Thankfully, it was in time.

Eva said that since Ramadan has started, it's become rather boring. She was going out visiting and filming before, but now stays home all the time. She explained that the society is still very patriarchal there, and they worry about women going out during the holy month. She is spending some of this time watching DVDs she bought (many films still in our theatres here are already available there on the black market for $1 or so) She also had a chance to get online at an Internet cafe, which is very cheap there; a half hour only cost her about 5 dinars, or about fifty cents. Also, there is the housework! Meran's uncle's wife is well along in a pregnancy and Eva is helping out with chores. She said that washing clothes is quiet an experience there. They have a two-part machine they use; one part agitates after you hand-fill with water and soap. Then you rinse in another tub before loading in the second part which spins the water out; the spinning part is called the 'dryer', although all it does is get excess water out...the clothes still have to be hung. Suffice to say, it's more like the old days here. Thankfully no washing on stones in a river, but definitely more work-intensive than we're used to anymore. I smiled because I remembered Mom and the wringer we had growing up (at least until I was a bit older anyways, thankfully!)...glad not to have to do it anymore, but knowing it would be a memorable experience for her.

She said that the American presence is everywhere. You go to the market, and the soldiers are there. Meran has many enlisted men as friends, she has met several, and they enjoy socializing with them because Meran is 'Americanized', and Eva of course is a bit like the sisters, wives, or daughters they may have left behind.

Eva told me that she has taken video footage already, including of a village they visited that is much like the one Meran grew up in. She said there are orchards there of pomogranates, apples, etc. that are very good to eat. Meran has been told that he can have some leave after initial hospitalization recovery from the appendix operation. During this time, they want to go north to where his village Bigdowdi was so Eva and the boys can see the area. Bigdowdi itself no longer exists, being literally bulldozed and razed to the ground by Saddam's forces in the late 1980's after Meran's family and neighbors fled. The other village they went to after that, they hope to visit also.

Eva explained that after that, she may be coming home, earlier than originally planned. That is because there are recently announced plans to disperse translators further south, and that Meran is likely to be stationed once again in Mosul. Mosul is NOT a safe area for Eva and the boys, so they know if that is what happens, then at that point Eva will return. As Eva said, "I came not just to visit, but to be near Meran so he can come visit us on weekends. If he is stationed in Mosul, there's no point in my staying here; I won't be able to see him here anymore than I could in Nashville!"

Eva & I discussed how she plans on using her raw footage. I mentioned talking to a representative from BridgesTV, promoting her to them. She laughed and said, "Go, Mom!" But she initially said, "Really?!" being rather surprised they'd be interested. I explained that they're openly soliciting content, wanting to provide opportunities not only to creative persons like herself, but also for themselves to discover interesting work for broadcast. Why not? Eva could end up freelancing for broadcasters like them, putting her degree to use while at the same time enjoying the process on projects she likes (not to mention flexible schedules as a busy Mom...)

So there you have it...Time passes quickly, and the experience of being there will soon become a memory.

Monday, November 03, 2003

This morning, I received an email from Meran (my son-in-law):
Hi, Trish!

Yes, you could write me a message and I will give her message. I am in touch with her every day. I am sick in a hospital; I had to remove my appendix. But now am very fine. I am writing this letter after two nights in a hospital in Mosul. All 3 kids are fine and they have fun time. Eva had hard time until she entered the country. The Syrian government did not allowed her to entered so we told her to go to Turkey. She had no problem entered throw Turkey. Nov. 1 03 before I came to Mosal she drove to Zakho to see me and she had Mu'min with her before a flight to Mosal.
...and that, was that.

I wrote back to take care, all that Mom kind of stuff...! Sounds like they are busy, living life there much like they do here, just that they're halfway across the world now.

Meanwhile, little Mu'min just plays, eats, sleeps, and doesn't know the difference...

Saturday, November 01, 2003

It has been over 3 weeks now since Eva arrived in Iraq, but I have not heard from her since then. Ramadan has begun, and my thoughts turn to her, Meran, and the boys. I hope she can contact me soon. I'm curious how life is going for her over there...