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.


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'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?