It has been a while since I wrote about my thoughts and feelings about what is happening in Iraq. It’s not that I no longer feel strongly about it, but that there is nothing clear to focus on. Everything seems in utter chaos. And so much of the news is just sad. More and more people getting killed and behind it all, more and more of the American government slipping away untouched, getting away with all their lies and deceit.
I’ve been keeping up with the news in a number of different places, but mainly I am seeking more personalized and eye-witness accounts of what is really happening. I’m trying to make out a more realistic and human picture of what is happening every day, not just the awful stuff from the big media. Two sites, one a blog ( Salam Pax ) by an Iraqi living in Bagdad, and one an online journal from an American soldier ( Sgt. Rock ) sort of give me better views from average people. I often disagree violently with the American soldier, especially his going into another country and assuming so many things without knowing a thing about its people or culture, and especially with his being so easily influenced by the American media. Still, if I want to understand what is happening in the world today, I must listen to everyone… really listen. Sgt. Rock is a human being and a good person. Going to Iraq to kill people is not what he wants to do with his life. I have to remember that as I read his words. All he really wants to do is go home and be with his family.
Salam on the other hand presents a lot grimmer picture of what is happening. His letters and depictions of his friends and family and what he sees on the streets really opens your eyes to how terrifying and chaotic war really is. The letter about the bombing was numbing to read. There is a real person, a person like you and me, being subjected to the horror of the bombs that appear like video games on TV.
The contrast of the two has made me both hopeful and sad. Both of them respect the other side and have made a real effort to talk with people on the other end. It is interesting to watch Sgt. Rock’s letters change as he spends more time in Iraq and gets to know people there. Salam is trying to come to terms with what the occupation means to him and his country. His expression of deep pain when he watched a beloved building being destroyed revealed what a lot of Iraqi’s must be feeling.
I hope that one day both sides will have a better understanding and respect for one another out of individuals’ experiences like these.