Monday, November 12, 2012

Jumping Rope in the Sand

Jumping rope in the sand is as hard as it sounds.  And that, it seems to me, is Iraq today -- lots of dust up with precious few measurable results.

Looking at pictures the other day, I came across this one – me in the juba (robe) and hijab (head covering) in the hot sand of the Syrian desert along the Iraqi border, jumping rope with Iraqi Palestinian children, escaped from the madness in Iraq to the safe haven of Syria.

It was 2005.

It would be the last time I would see many of them, these brave souls who crossed a desert through dangerous territory seeking a better life in their own hoped-for Promised Land - anywhere but Iraq.

Today people travel in the other direction, running from the violence in Syria.  But where will they run to?  The violence in Iraq continues.

Although I can read and hear reports on Syria easily enough, to find out about violence in Iraq on any given day, I have to troll the English versions of Middle Eastern news outlets.  The West is silent on Iraq.

Thousands of mercenaries remain in Iraq on the US taxpayer’s dime.  They are controlled now not by the military, but by the State Department.

And astonishingly, nobody outside of government seems to know exactly how many are still there.

But in case we miss the significance,

1. Syrians are now fleeing their own country and seeking safe haven in neighboring countries, including Iraq.  Iraq says it cannot house them.  Whether they can or cannot, Iraq is safe haven for no one.  Kurdpress News Agency

2. Mercenaries hired by the United States of America continue to occupy military bases and protect the ‘oil interests’ of the United States in Iraq, in addition to providing security for State Department personnel.  In essence, we have a private army operating inside Iraq at the direction of our State Department.

3. Violence and bloodshed continue (see link above).  And we continue to not hold ourselves the least bit accountable.  GRIID

4. Oh, I forgot.  The war in Iraq is over.  Except it isn’t.

And somewhere in the desert, maybe another American woman jumps rope to distract refugee children from the fear and the hunger and the danger.  Maybe she too looks up at the sky with the children and promises in her broken Arabic that they will be connected even when she leaves because they look upon the same stars in the night sky.  Maybe she too lifts her juba and makes herself look silly to coax a smile from sad young faces, if only for a moment.

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