This I Believe

Ghada - St louis, Missouri
Entered on November 21, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: hope
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I believe in the hope and the will of the true people. Growing up in Iraq in a dominantly Sunni city, we all lived in one community; we loved our Shiite neighbor and Christian teacher. We went to school with Kurdish students. Shiites married Sunni without any problem; we never had animosity or superiority against any other ethnic or religious group.

As Iraqis we all lived under the oppression of a monster called Saddam. We were all ruled by his cruel law. Saddam’s government was very mixed; but the main ruling power was Saddam and his relatives. Saddam was a raging monster but if you do not bother him, he does not bite you. Extended families in my home town disappeared because they mentioned something against him. People heard about the catastrophe of chemical use in Northern Iraq against the Kurds, but nobody could open his mouth! I went to the mountains with the Kurds because I believed in their rights. Most decent Iraqis were waiting for Saddam to go away.

After being away from Iraq for 13 years, I went back this year. It was depressing to see the people and the country go more than 100 years back in time. The entire world is going forward except us. Destruction, poverty, illness and fear for life. In my home town, the faces of people looked different, kids are imprisoned in their own home scared of death threats; their morning and night stories are the horror of everyday: killing and bombing. Whenever anybody leaves the house, you kiss him goodbye because you do not know if they are coming back. No simple needs of life are available and the important thing is no peace. Boys, and especially girls, can not go to school afraid of kidnapping. No emphasis on education only on survival. Some are being killed because they are educated and others are persecuted because of their faith. Bombs are exploded everywhere maiming and killing innocent people. Young men are sitting home without jobs burning for hope for a better future. While I was there, many questions were storming my brain; What happened to us? we were not like that before! Is this is the natural process to get to democracy? Why now? Is this the consequences of 20 years of 2 wars, 13 years of cruel sanctions? 4 years post Saddam and yet we still have not seen the light. I heard the language of revenge and punishment towards each other. One group is climbing on the back of the other because of a claimed guilt that was not in their hands. Before, Iraq had one monster with a name, now the people of Iraq are trapped in a cage with many monsters who have no name or identity. I felt hopeless many times, but I was shocked by the will and the resilience of the true Iraqis, their love for life and the dream about the future. I was amazed by the strength and the faith of my 78 year old mother who had carried on her back more than a mountain could carry. Though she is hard of hearing, slow walking because of a curved spine, and a heart with quarter of normal function but full of faith, ambition and love for life. With her elegance, calmness, she could manage to keep every one calm. This I believe like my mother said no matter how long the darkness will last the sun will rise one day and the will of the good people will always overcome the oppression.