Friday, December 31, 2004

Eva wrote me this week to say,

Just thought you might be interested in how my visit today went with the Psychiatrist Zainab recommended to me...

His name is, Shaidul Islam, and as his name implies he is a Muslim...He was also very nice and in the entryway I saw he was a Captain in US Navy...honorably discharged in 2003.

I filled out this rather long form about symptoms and then answered questions...In the end he put me on Welbutrin XL for the depression and recent anxiety attacks, and Eskalith to balance out my moods, I mentioned how I tend to go from happy to angry to sad all in a matter of seconds...

Then after a week, I am going to go see him again...we will see how these effect me and if I like them better...

Hopefully this can help me get some more stability to how I am feeling so I feel in control of things again...cause right now I feel like a person with a whole lot of responsibility and barely the sanity to handle it...

I have faith in this Doc though...so Godwilling that faith is not misplaced...

Love,

Eva XXXXXXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Monday, December 27, 2004

Meran, ever the entrepreneur, emailed me today about investment opportunities in Iraq (most probably in the north, where he's from...) He said*, "Hay if you are thinking of buying some iraqi dinar let me know i will buy it for you becuase i think there is a chance of worth a lot more after elections or in couple years.

for example $1000 dollars will become $1,000,000 iraqi dinar and may be
later you could change it for at least $700,000 becouse there are a lot of corporations waiting to inter Iraq after elections. think about it."

* Forgive the spelling - English is his second language, but he does very well overall!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I was manning the front desk at work today, and a man came to the window. He was an interpreter who was looking for a hearing that he thought was at our office. I checked the sheet he had been given and yes, it was our address and today's date, but no hearing was scheduled according to our records. We left a voice message to a phone number on his sheet explaining the problem, but before he left, I noticed his name tag said he was a Kurdish interpreter, first name of Kazim. I mentioned Meran Abdullah to him, and he said he knows Meran. What a small world, sometimes...*

* I later received an email from Meran saying yes, he remembers Kazim!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Eva and Meran become overcome with emotion as he is called to board the plane... Posted by Hello

Meran says goodbye to his boys; he returns to Iraq to continue his job as interpreter/translator... Posted by Hello

Meran is tackled by the boys on the new trampoline! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Mu'min proudly displays his new work of art (December 2004) Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Call me crazy, but the more I read and hear about pain/war/injustice around the world (or am I just becoming more sensitive to what's been going on all along...?), the more I am being pushed by my conscience to get directly involved. If you hear about me pulling up stakes, and becoming one of those funny old lady peace volunteer/activists you hear about, going overseas to help whereever & whoever, or walking the streets to publicize the evildoers and the evil they do, don't be surprised...
These are some of my heroes...

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I'm stunned. My sister forwarded this article to me tonight. For those that know me, you'll understand. For those that do not, let me explain...

Shortly after I received the message from my sister, I received another from a mutual friend of ours we grew up with. He is now a tenured professor at a prestigious Eastern university...
I lived in Turkey and in North Africa and have a very different view of Islam. I think that there are many positive features to Islam and what we've seen in the form of extremism is not a reflection of the larger religious tradition. I lived in Sweden and there is toleration and respect for different religious traditions contrary to the columnist. I think there is a danger confounding Islam with radical fundamentalism just as this country that it is a mistake to confound true Christianity with the right wing brand of fundamentalism that is sweeping our country. The two brands of fundamentalism actually share a great deal in common. The self-identified hypocritical types who encourage violence against abortion doctors and sponsor hate share a zealotry. I am writing this to you to get your opinion as opposed to register a dissenting view. What do you think?
I wrote back to him, saying...
I have a different view also, Mike, as you might suspect...

My initial reaction was very similar to your last point, about there being a similarity in all zealots of any faith or belief system (there are most definitely non-religious, even atheistic, zealots...It knows no boundaries...) The fear, hate, intolerance, etc. I see in many corners of this world, whether it be politics, religion, economic power (and many times these overlap and blur), is the core of what drives the worst in humanity.

The columnist is one seemingly innocent soldier in the WRONG cause - the cause of misinformation, ignorance, and confusion. It's nothing new, but it never fails to amaze me how powerful it is...
As I said at the beginning, I couldn't believe it when I received the message from my sister. I was so sure she was more open-minded since her niece - my daughter - is Muslim, and Betty has met some of my son-in-law's family, etc. and should know better than to promote generalizations. I immediately forwarded it to my daughter Eva for her reaction, writing to her, "While there may be some truth in some of the points this writer makes, the overall article is simplistic and misleading..." I have yet to hear back, but rest assured I will share with the Yard when she does. Better yet, I hope she shares it herself, since she's one of the Team!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Kevin Sites, a reporter whose work I follow and respect, talks about a recent incident that left some big questions...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I have been reading that a good share of the "Iraqi forces" that are being used in conjunction with American troop in Fullujah are Kurdish. Kurds in general are getting more and more nervous. Kurdish children are being kidnapped, and some have been executed, being held for ransom. Fingers have long been pointing north with "Collaborators" being whispered on many lips. They see Kurds as traitors at worst, separatists at best (wanting their region and the oil-wealth Kirkirk would bring with it...) I see no way for Americans to fully pull out of Iraq anytime soon. It's a powder keg that's already went off, but there's a lot of gunpowder left...

Monday, October 04, 2004

How is it really in Iraq?

That seems to be what's on everyone's minds these days...Well where my husband, Meran, is working as a translator for the coalition forces...Things are not good.

He tells me of people higher up quitting left and right, for example he is suppose to have a site manager that visits every now and then to address their employees, Titan corporation, concerns and to authorize vacation time etc. Since he has been in Gayara, July, nobody has come by. He has repeatedly asked around and heard nothing except "they'll be there". Besides that, he is being asked to do translating jobs that he is not able to do because of lack of personnel with the right language skills. It is assumed that because he is Iraqi, he must know Arabic, which besides hello, how are you, he really doesn't have a grasp...At least not well enough to translate where one word mistake could lead to a wrong arrest or raiding a house that is not involved in the resistance.

And violence-wise things have gotten a lot worse...He is currently about a hour and half to two hours from his uncle's in Duhok. But he is unable to go there because conditions are so bad that it is not safe to travel that roadway. This in comparison to last year where he was visiting once or twice a month on his off time. Also a car bomb exploded in Duhok a couple weeks ago, and up until that point Duhok had yet to see the violence the south had seen. You know its getting bad there and more out of control when the violence has spread into Kurdistan in the north, an area that had things pretty much under raps until now.

But it is time for us to admit that we do not know what we are doing and to go back to the drawing board...What we are doing right now is letting things get worse. Since when does admitting things are going wrong=failure.

To me the bigger failure is to let things be. Any great leader will sit down and reevaluate himself and the situations he faces from time to time, if things need change, he changes it.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Special report Guantanamo Bay Camp X-RayIn pictures Inside Guantánamo
Guantanamo Bay represents an attempt by the Bush regime to place itself above the law in a manner unprecedented since the seventeenth century crisis, which produced the English civil war and the beheading of Charles I. - From Guantanamo Bay, Habeas Corpus and the Texan Who Would be King
We've all been hearing about Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a long time, and in reference to post-September 11th detainment there, in particular.

There are stories being documented now that posit, when presented collectively, that the detainments at the naval station camp are, in essence, a virtual internment camp...*

Detainees include citizens of over 40 different countries from around the world, including those of our allies. International watchdogs continue to document violations of the Geneva Convention at Guantanamo by the United States, the so-called cradle of democracy. Those with power use it as they see fit, and justify it only when necessary; admitting wrong, making things right, that is never usually done voluntarily. If we see this as wrong - we the citizen of the United States, or even we the citizen of the world - then we must insist on change against wrongs such as this.

What am I going to do about it? First, I won't be voting for President Bush in November. Second, I will continue to keep myself informed. Third, I will continue to tell people about what I find out. Fourth, I will continue to find ways to make a difference. Finally, I hope and pray when I find those ways, I will have the courage to ACT on them. If each person does that, it will make a difference.

* Meanwhile, over in Iraq, Abu Ghraib isn't unique...

Friday, August 06, 2004

I read everyone I can. To be exclusionary is to limit yourself. I want many perspectives, and I use my own common sense, then I draw conclusions.

I say conclusions, but they really aren't. They are opinions that are constantly in a state of flux because I feel it is crucial to remain open-minded. Leaders don't have that luxury.

I cannot imagine what I would do as, say, President of my country, America. It is always easy to be a backseat driver...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

My son-in-law Meran is a translator/interpreter for the Titan Corporation, which is under investigation* for various charges by our government, who contracted with them in the first place.

For me, it is fascinating on two levels. First, my son-in-law, a decent, hard-working man, is getting caught up in a typical profiteering atmosphere common in war situations where rebuilding is going on. He went to Iraq with idealist motivations that are undoubtedly still there in him, but my instincts are telling me it's gotten a bit muddled in the past year. Second, as a federal employee myself who has seen and continues to see more and more private contracting out of former federal jobs, I'm seeing that the two main reasons put forth for private contractors - saving money, and better/faster production/results - is clearly not happening. The same problems that the federal government heads had before is still here - no decent oversight, no true accountability. Who watches the watchers?!

*Which just lost them a lucrative buyout with Lockheed...

Friday, July 30, 2004

My mother has repeatedly told me that I HAVE to get out what I am feeling.  That's easier said then done when you feel like you are constantly stuck in a pit of quicksand...

Since I returned from Iraq/Kurdistan, I have found it very difficult to get back into the swing of things.  Daily things seem like chores which I begrudgingly force myself to do, from dressing and cooking to reading my children a book.  I just don't desire to do those things, neither do I feel like I have the energy.  There are a million things I have been meaning to do since I got back, some things trivial, some not so, but the point is every day I wake up and nothing is done...

Another issue I have been dealing with is my weight...I am obsessed with constantly weighing myself...finding a quick fix to losing some pounds...etc. 

So far I am stuck at 170. 

I am worried that I am putting my mental self in danger by not dealing with this...how can I be the mother, wife, friend, daughter, etc.  I want to be if I am dealing with depression, identity issues, and many other stressful things??? 

So now I am starting to write, in hopes that I heal and in the process discover myself again...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Eva says that Meran continues to be in the town of Gayara near the northern town of Mosul. Meran hopes to know more in about month on whether or not he can assigned further north nearer his relatives, and where it would be safer for Eva and the boys to join him...
"They endured the repulsive Saddam. They endured our shameful UN sanctions. They endured our invasion. And now they must endure the anarchy we call freedom."
Even though I've never stepped foot in Iraq, my gut is telling me that Robert Fisk sums it up pretty well.
"...what I saw was infinitely more disturbing: a nation whose government rules only its capital, a country about which we fantasize at our peril."
He outlines the results of an overall badly management war/operation/campaign - the word used doesn't matter.  What matters is that we have messed up big.  We managed to alienate a country and region even further,  rather than build bridges.  A huge wasted opportunity.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Up in the Air

I asked Eva last night if she had any news on Meran - where he is, what he's doing?

She said yes, she did. He will be going to Al-Qayyarah, south of Mosul a little bit in the next day or so instead of Ba'qubah like previously mentioned. The reason was because he was reassigned from Special Forces and requested an assignment in the North. He told her that depending on where he gets assigned and how much leave he can take, that will determine if he still wants her and the boys to come over there. It is looking more and more as if he may not get assigned where he wants, and that he will just decide to come back home.

I asked, so he's not tied into another contract then yet, I'm assuming?

His contract was never really like tied anyways, he is free to leave any time he wants, Eva responded.

Nice contract is all I can say. Wonder how that works! Maybe after one year, there are options and it's easier to leave after that. Who knows. I'm hoping he comes home, but at the same time if he really wants to help over there, I can understand that, too. I'm not so sure it's the best thing to do, however, considering all the other factors that have recently come up...

Monday, June 28, 2004

Iraq is sovereign again.

Meran left last week, but was in Germany until this weekend. By now, he will be back in Iraq, but to a new as yet unknown assignment.

In the meantime, I try to engage my daughter Eva online in chat, but she responds back, "...if you don't mind I can't talk right now, but I will try and talk to you later; I am writing a letter to Meran. He arrived in Mosul and I am trying to get some stuff off my chest that is bothering me...It is a little intense."

I tell her that's OK, I understand. And I do in ways many mothers wouldn't. I also know that there is a lot of water to go yet under many bridges, but that my daughter will come out of this stronger and better. I wish the best for Meran, also. In the meantime, Eva is everything to Salih, Bilal, and Mu'min. I pray that she will remember her family, friends, and her own common sense when things start to become overwhelming...

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Da Mouse says:
how are YOU?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
not so well
Da Mouse says:
tell me what's up
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I am unsure of what the future between Me and Meran holds, not as secure about US as before, and due to that I am very anxious, plus I miss him a lot. He left early Tuesday morning
Da Mouse says:
I thought he was leaving next week. I guess this IS next week. And yes, I can imagine I would feel the same in your shoes. It's bound to be that way. Take one day at a time, and try not to worry. Easier said than done, I know. My methods have been, do what I can, and let the rest, rest with God. Use common sense is definitely in there, from the Irish side.
Da Mouse says:
Being compassionate does NOT equal being a doormat
Da Mouse says:
Be busy. Really too bad you didn't have your job yet.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I have never been literally scared, and I am scared now.
Da Mouse says:
If nothing else, do more writing when you can maybe?
Da Mouse says:
Did something new happen?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I am going to try, but honestly I don't feel like doing anything, I know if I keep busy it will help, but getting started on something is the problem...
Da Mouse says:
That's depression. It freezes people up every time. Are you still trying to see if antidepressants can help?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
no, just I am not sure I can be what Meran wants, and I am scared if I mess up on anything , say somehing I shouldn't etc, it would give him an excuse to screw me over again, and honestly I would not be able to take that...I am only so strong.
Da Mouse says:
Should I assume this is all coming from an internal dialogue within yourself, based on speculation, or did Meran tell you he is unhappy with you and specify something? By the way, it's a two way street!!
Eva/Nirgaz says:
no, Meran doesn't see Mental things as a valid reason to take pills, he thinks I think to much about things, maybe I do, but I still feel if pills can help than you should use them, he doesn't therefore I am not taking them
Da Mouse says:
You definitely SHOULD take them. It's your body and mind, and you need it. If he doesn't want them, he doesn't have to take them.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Both, probably more internal than him, although he mentioned that the things he found attractive in this other girl were the areas where he thought I was lacking.
Da Mouse says:
Which are...?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
That's what Zainab told me
Eva/Nirgaz says:
She's angry with me for listening to him. I at this point am so desperate to please him I can't see clearly anymore
Da Mouse says:
you MUST break that chain. You must be happy within yourself, and only you can do that. It's dangerous to depend on someone else for your happiness, and what you're going through is exactly why. I learned the hard way, and it appears you are too. I wish I could hug you, Eva, and be there for you...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Like how she is with people...Socially she is much more "acceptable" of how you should treat people Kurdish wise. I on the other hand tend to treat people according to whether I like them or not, and how I am feeling. I often let people know I am in a bad mood or angry with them. Stuff like that is Taboo in Kurdish society. Your suppose to be like Miss Cleaver all the time, smiling
Da Mouse says:
well, i think there is a middle ground. sometimes we have to put on masks, but on the other hand, i agree it's healthier to be honest...
Da Mouse says:
manners even in a family ARE important, but so is honesty and good communication, if you see what I mean...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
From what he says, how she respects him too, is what he found attractive in her. She makes him feel really special. I told him you all don't know each other well yet.. Who knows how she would react when you hurt her feelings, etc. Plus I DO treat him respectfully when he gives me the same repect. And most of all I am looking for his attention with me and the kids. That makes me
Eva/Nirgaz says:
want to make him happy.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Thanks for the hug., its' nice to know how much you care for me. I appreciate your support more than you can possibly know.
Da Mouse says:
You are SO right. It's EASY for her now. She doesn't have responsibility of children and a home.
Da Mouse says:
He's living in dreamland if he doesn't think she would have many bad moments and days if she had YOUR stress!
Da Mouse says:
I love you so much, Eva. Keep talking to Zainab and I, and even Golizar, etc., and treat yourself better (get meds, get sleep, make your OWN life, and don't worry about Meran...) The ball is HIS court. I still think if you are not sure, don't go overseas. Think hard before you make final decision.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
At the airport he told me "I won't let you down" but to me those are only hollow words until I see that he puts an end to them permanently and also focuses on me and the kids and follows through with some things he promised me.
Da Mouse says:
Exactly.
Da Mouse says:
He has to earn your trust all over again.
Da Mouse says:
That's not unfair at all. Unfair would be his asking you to not demand proof of his sincerity.
Da Mouse says:
Ironically, Randy emailed me to say today: Your cousin Randy just emailed me today, and said this: Cool very cool, hey, how is Eva doing now that Meran left, I remember him saying he was going to be leaving on the 22jun04 is that correct? You know I gotta say I really enjoy Meran and it was really good seeing Eva again and those kids were so damn cute.
Da Mouse says:
Even though I don't agree with the religion, I will not preach or judge them in any way Meran seems to be a very good, kind, and decent man, good father, and husband. I hope I get to meet him again, I really do, he seemed real easy to talk to and very pleasant. I'm proud to say he is my "Cousin in-law" if that is correct?
Da Mouse says:
(all Randy's words)
Da Mouse says:
hello, did you see Randy's words?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
yea, wow!
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I love them all, all of my cousins were so kind and open to us when we were there. I felt at "home" there. Make sure you tell them that I enjoyed the visit and can't wait to see them again.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Also Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill too
Da Mouse says:
Funny you should mention that...
Da Mouse says:
Randy added at end of message: Anyway I realize with the distant to where Eva lives she probably won't be able to come to our wedding on September 3rd but we would still love to send her an invite
Eva/Nirgaz says:
why?
Da Mouse says:
Another excuse to stay in USA, plus come visit us...?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
That's so nice of him
Da Mouse says:
He's a nice guy. His models were Uncle Bill and Grandpa Short. You can't go too wrong there...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Yea, that's true. I was never worried about our side of the family when I became Muslim or married Meran. It was Dad's side that really couldn't swallow it then or now (still some of them)
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Now that Meran is gone I will try and get those photos to you. Was there anything else I was suppose to send you? I can't remember
Da Mouse says:
I wonder how things will go for him during the hand-over next week?
Da Mouse says:
I can't remember either, really
Da Mouse says:
Just send everything you can think of!! Photos, movies, anything you can put on a CD or DVD or whatever media you have...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
He is suppose to leave on Saturday to Iraq, he is in Germany right now
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Oh well, if you remember let me know
Da Mouse says:
everything. send everything.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
ok
Da Mouse says:
remember. get to doctor, get meds. get sleep. write. get job. be nice to my grandsons. have some FUN in your life (all work and no play, not good...) There, that's my prescription...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
You Saw Meran was in Germany right
Eva/Nirgaz says:
that I wrote that I mean
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I know. I am trying to get them a game system, I think I am going with Gamecube, but I am not sure yet. So they have something to play with over there.
Da Mouse says:
yes, i saw that
Da Mouse says:
don't forget yourself. if you're determined to go, plan your own itinerary. go places. see more than just relatives. be creative and it will feed your soul (photos, writing, whatever...)
Da Mouse says:
this could be a real opportunity for you, no matter what happens.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
We are going to rent a house, so more alone time, I am going to make good use of that
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Meran says that if you send stuff to Titan if gets there. I will try a trial letter, if it gets there, then I will give you that address and you could send us stuff if we need it.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
if you want letters, etc.
Da Mouse says:
That's nice. But still, I recommend you don't lose yourself to Meran. Have your own life, too.
Da Mouse says:
yes, i want letters!!
Eva/Nirgaz says:
We are looking into maybe getting a internet line at home. I told Meran I wanted that more than a TV!!!
Da Mouse says:
GOOD!
Eva/Nirgaz says:
It is for around 40/month. I think it is worth it.
Da Mouse says:
..and just when BridgesTV was coming on American cable!
Da Mouse says:
not a bad price at all
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I would be able to communicate with family and friends and also read news, read other articles, etc.
Da Mouse says:
exactly.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I would be able to stand over there if I had my daily dose of internet time (LAUGH)
Da Mouse says:
before I forget, there's a site I just discovered today I know you'd like, and it has links off of it to others (many are his family) that are fascinating! http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/
Da Mouse says:
are you still interested in the idea of helping efforts to improve medical care, especially for the women, there?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
If all else fails I will at least try for every week to two weeks to keep in touch via email.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
yes
Da Mouse says:
a worthy goal
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Extremely. I want women to start feeling like they should take better care of themelves
Eva/Nirgaz says:
That there health should be a priority and it is important for not just them but there families also.
Da Mouse says:
Maybe Golizar or someone else here, would know good contacts for that, that you can jot down to contact when you get there, I mean people that would have some helpful knowledge, or would be likely to want to work with you on this, or whatever?
Da Mouse says:
Tell Meran you idea. I bet he'd like it. He MUST have some contacts through his work that you could use?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Maybe, I will look into that.
Da Mouse says:
I'm going to let you go. Gotta eat. *chomp* *chomp*
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I gotta go to the store too, the boys are waiting, actually have been waiting... Love you XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Da Mouse says:
Love you, too XXXXXXX OOOOOOO

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

It's been over three weeks since Meran, Eva, and the boys visited for a little over five days, three longer than originally planned due to car problems. [I had a running joke with Meran that I had placed a curse on the car that would not allow them to go yet...] A visit much anticipated and so welcomed.

The time passed all too quickly. Catching up on news, finding out what Meran did for his work in Iraq, meals cooked by Eva - Oh, the food, the food! She is a wonderful cook, and we had a great Kurdish feast the day after they arrived, eating off of it for days after. One afternoon, into the evening, we met with other area Kurds at a local park for a picnic and outing. We went for walks, took many pictures of the grandsons, and enjoyed the time together like the precious gift that it was.

Once, Eva and I went out alone for an afternoon. It gave her the opportunity to vent her sadness about herself, and her relationship with Meran. I learned for fact what I suspected in theory, that Eva has a very low self-esteem. She openly admitted as much to me. I reached across the coffee shop table where we sat sipping our drinks, and took her hand and squeezed it, looking into her eyes and telling her how much I admired her, was proud of her, and loved her; how special she is, talented and with so much of life before her. I advised her to follow her heart, with her mind firmly in tow, remembering one thing only - to be true to herself, to honor herself, no matter what path she takes. I told her she can do anything she puts her mind to. If things don't work out for her and Meran, she can make it despite how painful it might be. Try to make things work because if it's worth anything at all, it's worth that. But in the end, be true to yourself, I said.

Later that same afternoon, we were parking at a store about to get out of the car, when Eva starts talking more about how she has a lot of anger about Meran and the woman involved from Iraqi Kurdistan, how despite the relationship being only an emotional one (no physical intimacy it is claimed), she shares how she tried to explain to Meran that that is the worst of it, not the sex, but the emotional ties that were built between him and the girl. That tore at her heart. Meran's family is aware of the situation, and they are supportive of Eva's point of view and feel strongly that Meran must cut ties with the girl.

In the end, Eva is being philosophical about it, but practical in her heart. She and the boys are planning to follow Meran, who leaves next week to return to Iraq for a new year-long tour as a civilian contractor (interpreter/translator). The current plan is to go later this summer when an uncle of Meran's will be traveling there, who is an American citizen and can enter via Turkey as Eva must do. I told Eva, if you don't have to go, I would not, but if you feel you must, I understand.

I called her the other day to wish her a happy 25th birthday. She admitted to me that her regular daily schedule, made crazy by Meran's return, has made it difficult to communicate with me via email, chat, or phone calls as we have become in the habit of. "I miss talking with you." Well, as you might imagine, that warmed my heart to hear. I remember like it was yesterday when Eva was a wee little girl, and I had her all to myself. Just her and I. We'd cuddle, I'd read to her, I would hold her, I would tuck her in. It was nice to know I'm still needed once and awhile even yet.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Eva hasn't been posting much to her private blog, 5 Hours North of Baghdad because she has been back in the United States for the last 5 months very busy with creating a new home in the new house Meran built before he left early last year. She will be going back with Meran to Iraq at the end of the month, with hopes and intentions of doing more writing, both online, and freelance for hire.

Speaking of her blog, someone has noticed it, and this one. The author's blog has some interesting opinions on it, including one recent one where they state that the Kurds have been too nice, and look where it's got them. I have often wondered the same thing. Not that I'm advocating violence, mind you, but I do think that often the powers in control in any given situation, never reward kindness for kindness - they more often use and discard.

Look at the not-so-long-ago example of the Arab Revolt during World War I, led by T. E. Lawrence. He promised independence and freedom to the Arabs in the name of Britian, only to see the Arabs betrayed before his very eyes in Paris. He knew even as he led them, that his own country was not to be trusted. Out of the betrayal came modern day Iraq, still in a mess, still looking for some order...
Eva and Meran are here!

Eva called today at about 1:00pm to say they were in town. I was so thrilled to see the local number on my caller ID! They got over to my place at around 1:30 or so. Chris came with the car, and we hung out here for a bit, showing her around my apartment. Then we picked up my mother and headed over to my sister's for a family barbecue. It was great to have everyone meet Meran finally, and see the boys (my grandsons), as well as have a chance to catch up with Eva. Eva and Meran are handling things with dignity publicly, which I admire. I hope the lines of communication and mutual respect, especially from Meran's side, keep going.

They may only be able to say for two more days. I hope it can be longer, but it will depend on Meran, Eva said. I think it is more about money than being willing to. They are on a budget, which I can sure understand, and since I have no room, must stay at a hotel. I will entice them to stay as long as possible!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Last night I caught Eva online and I approached her for a chat. I asked if there was news on their coming, and how she was. She responded back that she still didn't want to talk more yet. I told her I respect that, and she said I appreciate you understanding.

I was supposed to call her tonight, but I have not been feeling well. I also hesitate because I don't want to be a pest. I will try tomorrow...

Today, I did a bit of research, and sent Eva this email:
I've been doing research to learn and understand the situation you're in from Islamic law and Kurdish cultural points-of-view.

The links & excerpts below lead me to believe that at best, polygamy is severely restricted...and many times not allowed at all either by secular law, or only if given permission by the first wife.

I realize you probably know most of this, but I wanted you to know as much as possible as you make your decisions. My thoughts and love are with you, Sweetie...

Love, Mom XXXXX OOOOO

For women, the PUK government has banned polygamy, while the KDP allows multiple marriages only when the husband gets the first wife's written permission and registers it in court. More

In Islam, polygamy is allowed, but it is severely restricted - "And if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly with the oppressed women [Yatama-literally, the Orphans among women-see the context], then marry from among them two or three or four, but if you fear you won't be just [even then], then marry only one." (Koran 4:3)

An article about a woman who went through what Eva is going through now; the article goes on to discuss an interesting debate within Indonesian Islam concerning this issue.

Kurds tend to be strongly clannish in their social organization, organized around a male descendent. This is especially true of those descended from important political figures; overall there is much reverence paid to ancestors. Villages are often identified along extended family lines. To protect clan resources, intravillage marriage is preferred; in fact, first cousin marriage is common. Polygamy of up to four wives is allowed by Islamic as well as cultural mores, but is not common. More

And finally, this very interesting tidbit - see section Criminal Justice

Monday, May 24, 2004

I called Eva today to find out when to expect them. She was very quiet and hesitant, then quickly saying that they may not be coming. I asked why. "I don't want to talk about it now." I asked if it was because she couldn't talk now, she said now, that she just didn't want to. Of course, I wasn't going to just let that go. It was totally unlike her, and I knew something was wrong.

In the end, I learned that Meran had broken news to her between yesterday and today that he was involved with another woman in Iraq. When I say involved, it means he met a woman who he likes, is sympathetic to, and has made intentions towards, and that's all. Yes, it's possible there is more, but knowing Meran as I do, it is probably that simple so far. He didn't have to tell Eva, but he did because he is following custom where the first wife's approval is obtained before moving ahead.

From what I can tell, Eva probably won't be giving approval, but it's up to her. She sounded not only surprised but hurt. She said Meran and her had talked about the idea years ago and she had told him her feelings on it, and that they would not contemplate it together. That was then, this is now, however. Things and people change. The war and their separation has had an impact. I told her I hope they do come, that I would dearly love to see them, but the most important thing is for them to have the time they need to work this out...

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I couldn't stand it. This afternoon I called Eva to find out what the heck is going on. Golizar answered (Meran's sister), I asked for Eva. I heard more voices than I expected in the background. That got me wondering. Next thing I knew, there's a very familiar voice saying hello. "Meran?!" I exclaimed. "Hello, hello!" he laughed. "You got home!" "Yes, it's good to be back." Eva came on the line. "Hi, Mom!" I asked when Meran got in. Eva explained yesterday she was really down, wondering when Meran was ever going to get home. She took a nap, and was awakened by a phone call from Ajiza, Meran's younger sister, saying Meran had just called from Philadelphia where he had landed in the USA, and was on the last leg home to Nashville. Eva began crying, and Ajiza asked why she would be crying at such great news. I totally understand. It was overwhelming! They hope to be here by the end of next week. I am SO excited to see everyone!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Eva and I just chatted. She said Meran called last night. He's very discouraged on how long it's taking him to obtain transportation. I guess that's all that's holding him up now. So Eva gave him their credit card number, and he's going to pay for his own ticket to get home! Whatever works...! Their hope is that he'll get in sometime early next week, then take off by Thursday, and be up here (God willing) by Friday. *Yaaaaay*

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Encouraging news comes from Eva. Despite delayed paperwork, it looks like Meran will come. Possible dates now are either May 16th or 26th. We're hoping for the earlier date, but as long as he gets here, we'll be thankful!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Eva/Nirgaz says:

Still no word from Meran*.

Da Mouse says:

Is the plan that he was to be on touch by now about when exactly he'll be coming...?

Eva/Nirgaz says:

Although yesterday I called his Uncle Issa, he said Meran was there the other night and told him he still had not received word of when he would be able to take vacation and there was a possibility of him being moved to Mosul  I told him to have Meran contact me ASAP.  As it is I am anxious, not knowing if or when he will be coming now.

Da Mouse says:

I don't blame you.  I think people like Meran are much needed.  But that shouldn't mean he can't have much-needed leave!  Let me know as soon as you know...

Eva/Nirgaz says:

Yours and Grandma Lewis' letter helped yesterday, I was feeling low.

Da Mouse says:

What did Grandma Lewis have to say?

Eva/Nirgaz says:

The boys are really missing him lately, they mentioned they were thinking about visiting their dad, I said hopefully he will be coming.  They miss him so much that it makes it even more difficult for me because I can't do anything about it. She just sent a really nice card for Mother's day, like you did

Da Mouse says:

I sure hope you can come soon.  Everyone wants to see you, including Grandma Short!!

Eva/Nirgaz says:

I am sending you and her a card by the way. I know she knows I care, but I am sure the card will cheer her up to know I am thinking of her these days extra special. 

If nothing else, maybe me and Meran's cousins Kasar, etc. will come up if Meran is not able.  I was thinking about that.

Da Mouse says:

She'll love it.  She loved getting mail!  Mail is actually better than a phone call, because she forgets so easily.  With a letter or card, she picks it up and reads and re-reads and it means a lot to her...

Eva/Nirgaz says:

I figured that...She was quite the letter writer at one time.

Da Mouse says:

That would be great.  I sure hope Meran can get away, though.  He needs it, the boys need it, you need it.  But just remember if it doesn't happen as soon as you want, you'll make it.  It would be hard, but you would.  Just remember how Grandma Short was without Grandpa for nearly 3 years during WWII, and later when he was  on railroad extra gang he was gone working on the road a lot. She hated that, though...I hope for
your sake he comes home SOON!!!

Eva/Nirgaz says:

That's neat to know.  We are very similar, falling in love so young, being separated from them due to war, etc.  It's neat because I feel a special bond with her, not that I haven't always felt especially close to her, but now having experienced similar things I can relate to her better.  AMEN, (about him coming home) for me and the boys. 



*Meaning final confirmation...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Eva and I are both so excited! Only a week until Meran is coming home to the United States. Then I have to wait another 2.5 weeks before they come. Oh, the anticipation!!
You must read Jo's writing. It is the voice of people who do not have a voice. It is the face of the faceless. They are real people with real pain and loss. We need to hear them and have compassion...

Friday, April 30, 2004

Iraq Analogies: It's Vietnam. It's Lebanon. It's Algeria. It's ... Hell, you can even make comparisons to ancient Rome and how they governed their provinces. One thing for sure, as Solomon once said, there's nothing new under the sun, including the mess we're in, in Iraq...

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

This blog is reviewed; it's good to hear what an outsider's point-of-view is...

Monday, April 26, 2004

Image by Christopher Allbritton

This is Dohuk, Iraq. Dohuk is a Kurdish city in the north of Iraq. It is also where my son-in-law has been living and working for some time now.

Many of his family and friends live in this city, some others live in Zakho. The village Bigdowdi that he remembers the most from his childhood, no longer exists, thanks to Saddam.

Meran will be coming home soon. We are all so looking forward to seeing him again. I many times wish I lived closer to my daughter and her family. I really enjoy Meran's family and the time I have spent with them...
Very exciting news, from someone I consider a friend. I've never met him in person, only communicated with him online. But his search for truth, and the integrity he has demonstrated over the past 2 years since I've come to know him, has made it an honor to consider him a friend.

Christopher Allbritton is about to embark on another trip to Iraq. Before he goes, he shared with his supporters, including myself, that he's actively shopping a book proposal about his unique experiences in Iraq, as they relate to Back-to-Iraq.com.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

But what I tell myself is this: I can't change the course of this at the moment and if they do point a rifle at me or hold a knife to my throat and I know it's the last moment of my life then for sure there's nothing I can do then I'm determined not to beg or flinch because I was right to come to Falluja and to try to evacuate people and get supplies to the hospitals and to die for trying to do that isn't ideal but it's OK.
Jo Wilding spent this week helping refugees flee Fallujah, to Baghdad. She and her colleagues, along with civilian refugees, some wounded and dieing, some even in ambulances clearly marked, have been shot at, repeatedly, by our soldiers. THAT is what is going on. Tens of Thousands of citizens of Fallujah are fleeing, fearing for their very lives. It is rumoured that once the population is gone, the city will be destroyed...

Pray for them all. Pray for the victims of war. Pray for the soldiers to be more compassionate - not a diametrically-opposed goal, despite what they're trained to do, i.e. kill. And pray that the arrogance of America as seen in many of our soldiers in how they act and what they say - our representatives in Iraq - by Iraqis, doesn't do even more irreparable damage.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Eva/Nirgaz says:
I just had a webcam conversation with Gullizar's brother-in-law Ferhad, he is a friend of mine. He is a lawyer and is online frequently. It was just cool to see someone in Iraq. I told him to bring Meran with him next time.
Da Mouse says:
How are things where he is (where is he?)
Eva/Nirgaz says:
In Duhok...Almost everyone we know lives in Duhok, a couple of families live in Zakho.
Da Mouse says:
I heard about Basra this morning. Very bad sounding
Eva/Nirgaz says:
what happened there? I didn't hear anything about it yet.
Da Mouse says:
Bombings going off simultaneously at police stations, at least one taking a school bus out with small children dieing...Iraqi kids! What are the terrorists thinking?!
Eva/Nirgaz says:
oh my God!!! They aren't thinking that's the point, any sane person would never be able to do something like that. It is inhuman.
Da Mouse says:
Amen.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
If that works out about the picnic thing, that would be nice, I really want to meet Brittons Husband.
Da Mouse says:
I think it should work out from the sounds of it. I think it would also be a great opportunity to help everyone get to know one another and that's always a good thing.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
True.
Da Mouse says:
Jason is kinda quiet, but I have a hunch he probably has a chattier side if you get to know him. He reminds me of Uncle Bill, Grandpa Short, and my Christopher - all nice men that are low key but great guys.
Da Mouse says:
So Gullizar's brotherinlaw is a lawyer. I take it he's brother to her husband, you mean? what does her husband do?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
He used to have a store, woman's clothing, but he sold it when he tried to go to Jordan in December. Now he is doing a liason business, working with Meran getting things for the soldiers, supplies they need etc.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
We got more paperwork for her husband and the process to get the visa interview has finally started. This is a good sign, he should be able to come by the end of the year, if no problems occur.
Da Mouse says:
Interesting. Sounds like a good family. Hard working then!
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Yea, they are really nice, I am also good friends with his sister Nazdar. She is around my age, in college, and loves anything English. His brother Fadl, Meran's age, was Meran's best friend when they were little. While I was there I was told how they went from eachother's houses terrorizing their mothers. Meran was quite a handful as a child I gathered.
Now we know where his sons get it from
Da Mouse says:
*laugh* Somehow, I can believe that. How long have the families known one another?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
A long time...but Meran's family has only been there since his Grandfather's time; this family is one of the original families there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

So I'm chatting with Eva online, and she lets slip that Meran will be home for his visit on May 10th!

The plans? Eva plans on taking her family to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival for some plain old family fun. For the practical side of things, she plans on working with Meran to resolve the problems concerning his direct house payments, i.e., too much is going to the house, much more than necessary, leaving nothing for household expenses for her.

Eva thinks they'll be coming around Memorial Day weekend. I plan on having a picnic when they're here. Eva and I both want to shop at the local international markets, and do some serious cooking together! My sister hopes we can all come out to their place, and have a multi-family picnic. Eva and I love the idea. I'd like Daniel and Amanda to be a part of that, too...

The waiting (for now), is over...

Friday, April 16, 2004

A conversation between Eva my daughter, and myself...
Ajiza is separated from her hubby, pending divorce. He proved to be a very irresponsible young man. He had over 20 jobs last year. She got him a good job with Dell Computers, Assembly work, but a good job with good pay. He has no education so he can't be picky, but he quit after only two weeks. She also is immature, and together they are like dating teenagers, vs. being responsible young adults. They get mad at each other for the stupidest things.

Sounds like what your cousin Kris, Aunt Betty's son, was like with Cindy, his son Andrew's mother. Too young, too soon. Now he's married to another lady and is father to her two children and they are doing great...

And from the onset his family did not like her, his mom has been advocating divorce even prior to the wedding!! They at first faked they liked her, but after they got engaged, they radically changed. And the worst part, they have yet to consummate their marriage, I told Ajiza maybe that is for the best, if they had had children it might have got worse and been harder to contemplate ending it.

They must have a lot of self-control!!

Even now she is disillusioned with the possibility of him changing. She says if he was such and such...I told her listen to what you're saying "if " is the key word here. He is not and has proven he is making no effort to change how he is or has a desire to.

No, the old saying that a leopard doesn't change his spots is a saying for a good reason. I know only too well.

Meran told her not to beg for him back, and said that Divorce is a good option. In fact all her brothers and sisters are supportive of that, they don't trust him because he has proven himself otherwise. In fact they would feel betrayed if she tried to go back.

Well good for them. Practical.

There is a Kurdish saying that Gullizar said - "You will go blind before I let you go back with him again." Meaning she would stand in the way.

Gullizar and her sayings! You'll have to start writing down all those Kurdish sayings. I'd like to read more of them.

Gullizar had a dream about this in the beginning. Eerily, she has these prophetic dreams often, I have learned to listen to her advice or be told I told you so later. Anyways about her dream...

[not to interrupt, but when you're done with the dream, what's status on Gullizar's husband getting here? Didn't you say there was good news regarding him not long ago...?]

...She had a dream where the Imam here and Ajiza's husband and his father all came to their door. Gullizar's father said don't open it. Their brother Shabban ( the one who is deceased) said, no it's ok let's see what they want and he opened the door for them. Gullizar sees this as her father not approving of the marriage and a bad omen about the marriage. And she sees Shabban as Meran. Because he was the most supportive of Ajiza, and "opened" the door for her marrying him by giving her away. In the Islamic and Kurdish tradition, Dead people in dreams are usually telling the truth...Once Remzia had a dream of their mother and in it she was displeased with me and my relationship with Meran. Remzia told me about it, and at that time me and Meran were going through a very rough time. We were fighting a lot and I was to be honest vicious at times. After I heard the dream, I tried to be more patient with Meran. It worked for the best...We got along much better...I don't know if what they say is true or not...but is something to contemplate...

Well, I'm glad you were able to see truth when you hear it. That means you have a good heart.

No news yet about Gullizar's Hubby. Just he has been approved and is awaiting when his visa interview will be.

Ahhh...I see. Well, hopefully it won't take as long for this next phase!

Yeah, hopefully! We are hoping that he will be here by the end of the year at the latest.

I think that will deserve a party!

There will be a wedding, they are Islamically married, but in the Kurdish tradition they have only had an engagement party. The wedding is yet to come...

Monday, April 05, 2004

Many people in the last two weeks have published links to Elena, the biker, and her amazing photographs and commentary concerning her solo trip to Chernobyl. However, little if any notice has been given to this particular mirror site, done in honor to Elena - and eventually gaining her official approval.*

If you have not seen her images and words, I highly recommend you making the time.

*On this approved site, commenting has been made available, as well as a method to forward emails to Elena...

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

These days it's difficult to show casualties of war on evening newscasts or in any American media outlets. The images become politically charged; take on meaning beyond their face value. But more often than not, the violence is just too grim, too hard to stomach at dinnertime.
Omar's Arm

Sunday, March 21, 2004

As we await Meran's return for a long-anticipated visit, Eva sent me this update about a friend of Meran's that was charged with murdering his wife back in 2002. A trial date has finally be set after long delay. Eva feels the new evidence casts more doubt on the likelihood that he is guilty. The wife was American, and he is Kurdish. There is an 11 year age difference (she was older). I think it's quite probably that these factors will be played out as part of the prosecution's stategy. It will be interesting to see what facts come out in court, and what they will reveal.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

...a city on a hill cannot be hidden.
It grows increasingly apparent that the Syrian Kurds are attempting to leverage the political advances their southern Kurdish brothers and sisters have been obtaining in Iraq, to their own advantage in Syria. At the same time, the Baathists in power in Syria are continuing to persecute their Kurdish population. Demonstrations within Syria by native Kurds, and around the world in support of them, are trying to bring attention to these situations. Time to be seen and heard.

Monday, March 08, 2004

We filled the hillside with laughter, the very thing, I suppose, that those people died fighting for, the men joining in as well, joyfully bouncing the football around the fabric, some unable to work because of wounds from their time in the resistance. They really needed to play like children.
Jo Wilding shares experiences in northern Iraq/Kurdistan earlier today. At the end of the long but special day, she had this to say...
We took the scenic route home. Literally: I don't mean we were lost. We went the slow way, through the mountains, diving into landscapes of green slopes, clear streams, red flowers, still just buds, somewhere between a rose and a poppy, and Shenoor says when they open, it's spring; a mud hut by the water with a few ducks around, air you could breathe, really breathe, cool and soothing for lungs brutalised by the Baghdad atmosphere which assails them with a hailstorm of particles...

I don't think I've ever been anywhere more beautiful in my life.
Her parting words made me think of Margareta's poem based on Meran's memories of his home in Kurdistan that he left behind (see sidebar...)

Friday, February 27, 2004

The Kurds need to take responsibility for their own security within the framework of a new Iraqi state in order to prevent similar attacks as those that took place in Hewler, Halabja and the Anfal campaign. The Kurds also need the active and unambiguous support of democratic countries.
The Kurds are demanding as much independence as they can under the new Iraq. They're not talking independence in the sense of their own country, just active, meaningful participation and control over their own lives through democratic means. Sounds familiar...

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I was shocked, but not surprised at your encounter on Saturday.

You had me almost crying at how you stood up for me and stood against ignorance.

Thank you...words cannot express how proud I am to be your daughter right now.

Love, Eva XXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOO

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Prejudice and intolerance comes in many forms. Some even come wrapped in love.

When recently visiting my mother, who lives in a nearby nursing home, relatives of my brother-in-law arrived. I was thinking about leaving as they came in, but I decided to stay a bit longer to exchange pleasantries.

After initial greetings, one of them asked after my daughter, as well as my grandchildren. Then something happened that stunned me. Out of the blue, the woman asked quietly, "Is Eva still involved in that Buddhist thing?"

I didn't know whether to laugh or drop my jaw. I immediately felt a mixture of amusement at her Archie-Bunkerism, and anger at what the question inferred. I didn't, however, miss a beat. I responded, "Yes, she is...and she is a Muslim, not a Buddhist."

"Yes, yes, but it's all the same thing...", she murmured, her tone a mixture of concern and conviction. She went next to Mom, saying, "Isn't it sad, Harriet?"

I (mostly) let that comment pass, having no desire to argue. Life is too short to waste time getting upset at people acting the very way you should expect them to considering their beliefs.

"No, no, it isn't. Quite a different thing."

I went on to mention the three boys, that Eva was graduated from university and now seeking employment (she just started a new job this week, in fact), and that Meran was still in Iraq working as a translator/interpreter.

From behind me, her husband says in an amused voice, "She didn't marry a terrorist, did she?"

I turned to him, stared him straight in the eye, and said, "No, she didn't...and I don't find that amusing, either." He stared back, not expecting that reply, suddenly speechless.

My blood was rising, and I took care not to let my emotion rule my speech. I was hoping that would be the end of that, but unfortunately the woman said something about Buddhism again (I sighed inwardly, thinking, Do these people ever listen...it's Islam, not Buddhism!), then about how there is only one God and that the one they worship is not Him. Ironic that she said that, I thought...a Muslim says that several times a day, the part about there only being one God. How frightening it is to hear such intolerance...

The atmosphere was very sad, tense, and eroding fast. I decided to exit gracefully and let them talk about me after I left. I gave my love and hugs to Mom, wished them all farewell, and left.

I thought long and hard about what had just happened. I felt I couldn't have handled it any differently and stayed not only true to my own beliefs, but to have honored my daughter and son-in-law. Whether it caused anyone to think any differently, I don't know. We all tend to hold tightly to whatever we believe, and open our minds all too infrequently...

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Another chat with Eva, another slice of life of how the war is affecting individuals...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
We were calling Iraq...Gullizar's Husband...
Trishymouse says:
How is he?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Not so good...He and Gullizar were not able to get across the Jordanian border...he went back and she came back
Trishymouse says:
I didn't know she was trying to help him get out. Wow! Why couldn't he get across? Is Gullizar home now? Did she at least get to have a nice visit while there?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
not really...too upset...She went there as I came back and just recently returned after trying several times.
Trishymouse says:
...and my other questions?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
He tried but they denied his passport, said it was a fraud, although he had made a new one they still turned him down. They even paid some people who guaranteed his crossing, but in the end nothing worked.
Trishymouse says:
I don't get it. Why is it such a big deal for one guy to move around? Why can you move around, but not him? Why Gullizar, but not him???
Eva/Nirgaz says:
That is what she has been pondering, a lot of their friends got their spouses over while she was there, both before she tried and after, but luck was not on their side. Over in those Arab countries, it is all about luck. I had a close call myself in Syria, they almost didn't let me leave when I came back because they were suspicious of why I went to Turkey,
Eva/Nirgaz says:
And in Turkey on the way there and the way back they gave me a hard time because my husband was not with me.
Trishymouse says:
Explain something to me, Eva, so I can understand. Did Gullizar marry her husband because of a prior agreement? I've always wondered why did she marry someone over there when this could happen? Why not meet someone here?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
No, and she had several offers here. She married over there for a couple reasons: One because there are not a lot of trustworthy guys her age that aren't already married, and number two, she often talks about her father to me in our late night conversations. She has said on many occassions that her dad had always told her that he hoped his daughters would marry someone close to them, a relative, or someone from their same village; Alikhan, her husband is from their village. I think that was one of the main reasons she married him.
Trishymouse says:
Well, as long as he is a good man, that is the important thing. Do you think he is kind and a loving person, from what you know?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Yeah, and until Gullizar came back and told me about her experience and I saw how she was truly hurting, I didn't realize how much she loves him. The reason I didn't before was because I didn't expect it because they barely knew each other, hardly time to get to know eachother, but i guess in the time it has taken for this approval, which may be another 6 months or more, she has fallen in love.
Trishymouse says:
It's probably a very complex situation for her. She loved her father, this man has a connection to him in her mind, even if it's unconsciously...and the inability to be together, makes it that much more emotional.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I don't think she would admit it outloud, she isn't the type, but I can read her well because of how well I know her. I kinda feel guilty now encouraging Meran to encourage her to reconsider and possibly find someone here.
Trishymouse says:
Well, I wouldn't if I were you. It's her ultimate decision. openly talking about options is nothing to be ashamed of. Just be there for her, talk about things and listen, and that's all you can do...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
That's what I am doing...

Thursday, February 12, 2004

I am concerned for my daughter, Eva. We've been talking recently about how her separation from Meran, due to his job in the War efforts keeping them apart, has increasingly taken their toll on her mentally and emotionally. She worries about Meran's safety. She worries about the boys, especially Salih the oldest, especially when Salih says he feels like he doesn't have a father. She misses Meran as a husband, and as a father to help raise the kids. She's admitting to me she has been depressed about things for awhile now, and it feels like it's getting worse. She hasn't lost weight since the last baby was born, started an effort last month to lose weight, but admits to not just not losing any but actually gaining some since then. She is researching antidepressants, wondering if that might help. I encouraged her to get good information, then discuss it with her doctor. I pray she will continue to be open with me and her friends, and that she will make sure and take care of herself...

Friday, February 06, 2004

Circus Jo hears from many everyday Iraqis as her troup tours the country. One told her yesterday, “The Americans are the same as Saddam,” Abu Ahmed declared, “They are from the same line. We can criticise the Americans, that’s true. We went on a big demonstration a few weeks ago and chanted against the Americans and the British and the Governing Council and we were not stopped. We can complain, but that is all.” In other words, as far as the daily life of Iraqis are concerns, things are no better than ever, and in many ways are worse. That in and of itself wouldn't be intolerable, but what caps it all off to them is their feeling of impotence - they don't see any real way to make their future happen, because others hold the power. Other than acceptance, their only alternatives, in their eyes, is protest, and rebellion. They consider this patriotic. Others consider it terrorism. It's all in your point of view...

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Several members of Abdulrahman's family were also killed, including a young member named Saleh, who was considered a rising star. A few family members have already been buried in Duhok* in keeping with tradition.
Back-to-Iraq reports more specifics on the bombing of the Kurds in the north.

* Duhok is where Meran is currently based.
This really scares me in a personal way. The violence is creeping closer to where Meran is. Where will it stop?

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

This evening, my daughter Eva and I were talking on MSN Messenger. Some concerns were brought up about the continued separation of her and the boys from Meran...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I am going to go apply for a job with sprint tomorrow, wish me luck
Eva/Nirgaz says:
That's not the field I want, the sprint job, but it is a job until I can either finish writing something to publish, or find a job in my field
Trishymouse says:
what is the job at Sprint doing?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
customer service, but they have an onsite fitness center, which I would love so on breaks I could actually exercise, and maybe I could even get a discount on a cell phone, which I have wanted to get
Trishymouse says:
well, that sounds like it could be a good interim job. But I hope you continue writing/journalism. I can hardly wait to read/see more of you doing that...!
Eva/Nirgaz says:
plus, if I am not at home, I am less likely to snack, which is my biggest downfall in the battle of the bulge
Trishymouse says:
NEW YORK: Bridges TV is on schedule to go on air in 2004 – as early as Summer 2004 or as late as Fall 2004. Having reached two-thirds of our goal of 10K members, we are now in the last one-third segment of the membership drive. With 500 new members joining every month, we are on schedule to reach the target of 10,000 members by Labor Day. To bring the American Muslim TV channel to your local...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I just signed up actually for a free account with writing.com, a website that helps authors and encourages writing in the hopes of igniting my passion again. With all the depression I have dealt with over the past year has really paralyzed me in that regards
Trishymouse says:
Depression? Really? I didn't know you were that down. Yes, that can really freeze a person up, that is for sure. Have you talked to a doctor about it? It's hard to know if something is clinical depression or not, and if medication is appropriate or not. Pills are not evil, but just throwing pills at something is not necessarily the answer, either. What do YOU think?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I am not sure, those pills usually take so long to go in effect that I usually stop taking them, I am not big on pill taking, forgetfull and what not. I had actually been on zoloft after Mu'min. Maybe it is worth a try again, but I am not sure.
Trishymouse says:
I can only speak for myself, but Paxil helped me. Grandma tried Zoloft, and it didn't help her. Now she is on Effexor, and they seem to be helping. But that's the thing - who knows why? It could be that more time passed and she's just getting less grief-stricken...
Trishymouse says:
In the end, for you, Eva, I would not let things get worse. If you feel you are not getting better, SEE A DOCTOR. Get what you need. Whether it's anti-depressants, or counselling, or both, take care of yourself, Sweetie...
Trishymouse says:
You can always call or talk to me - I'm not professional, but I'm a good listener, I love you, and I care...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I realized the other night the reason Meran being gone bothered me so much, it was like now my kids were getting abandoned by their father, just like I was by mine. It hurt because history was in a way repeating itself and I had no control over preventing it. Now Meran himself is nothing like dad, but the lack of a father is similar. Even Salih is perceptive of the situation, he told me this morning something that shocked me "I don't have a father" I told him "yes you do" he said " If I did he would come back to us"
Trishymouse says:
On first hearing, it sounds strange, because we know he does have a father, and we think, "He just saw his Dad...", but from his point of view, he obviously doesn't feel that way. I would share these things with Meran, with your concerns about what it may mean for the future for the boys. It may be just that he's missing his father, but on the other hand...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate the sacrifice Meran is making to provide for us, but at the same time is it worth the cost?? Worth my depression,worth the boys resenting their father the way I still sort of resent my own?
Trishymouse says:
When Meran visits in April, it will be important for him to not just spend time with Salih (and Bilal and Mu'min of course, but Salih is oldest...), but to really talk to him, ask him about that specifically, and ask how he feels about him being gone again, etc....
Trishymouse says:
Yes, maybe ask Meran to find choices, to not just funnel all his energy and focus only on this choice. That's why I mentioned he should start, if he hasn't, on networking through his contacts for other work that can make a good living, but not have to be away so much....
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I agree, but I don't know if Meran will, or will take seriously what they are even saying.
Trishymouse says:
Meran strikes me as a person who deeply cares about his family. If you talk with him about how important you can see this is to Salih, I can't believe he wouldn't, do you?
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I have told him my feelings, in fact I just emailed him about it.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I am not sure ...
Trishymouse says:
If you haven't yet, tell him about what Salih said, too, though...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
Yea,..I want to...at the same time I am afraid of hurting him...
Trishymouse says:
I'm confused. Keeping him informed of things that are hurting his children should not hurt him. It should concern him, and that's not always fun, but hey, that's part of being a husband and parent. Too bad! So he becomes worried and/or concerned. Good! Then he might seriously consider other options! I'm not saying to whine at him, I'm saying...
Trishymouse says:
...to responsibly, lovingly tell him what's going on, and ask him to consider choices that would be better for all of you but still provide a good living....
Eva/Nirgaz says:
you are right, and I said something similar about considering what was best for us all in the email I sent earlier this evening. I just left that part about Salih out. I think I will mention it to him now though.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
I was just still in shock that Salih said it, because I never talk about how I feel about his father in front of him.
Trishymouse says:
That just makes it all the more authentic, so I can understand your shock. But you know, they say kids pick up on things. Salih probably can see you are unhappy sometimes, and he loves you...
Eva/Nirgaz says:
he is an intuitive little devil
Eva/Nirgaz says:
if I was in DC or Chicago, finding a job or an internship would be a piece of cake in my field, but here, it is slim pickings if any
Trishymouse says:
I better run anyways. Have fun!
Trishymouse says:
Keep looking. You'll find your dream job if you work at it, trust me.
Eva/Nirgaz says:
ok, love you , good night, thanks for listening,
Eva/Nirgaz says:
XXXXXXXOOOOOO
Trishymouse says:
XXXXX OOOOO

Friday, January 16, 2004

Kurds are making moves to secure their political power and independence in the new Iraq. They know they've been good friends to the United States as it freed their country, and now they're calling in the favor. I can't say I blame them. Of course, their neighbors in Syria and Turkey are none too pleased. They're worried 'their' Kurds will get too big for their britches and demand more autonomy, too. All I can say it, let the political process address it, NOT guns. But you know how human nature is. Time will tell...