It is wrong to make a judgment only from appearance.

Mina - Vienna, Austria
Entered on April 6, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I was almost 15 when the American invasion in Iraq started. I cannot remember the exact time when I heard the sound of the first bomb, but it was in the early morning of March 20th 2003 when we woke up to horrible sounds.

I was not a child that time, but also not an adult. I was afraid and no one answered my questions : why is there a war? What did the Iraqi people do to suffer another war? How long it is going to last? All the answers were the same: politics. What did a child know about politicos(is this the word you want? Politicos? Or politics.), nothing. (You might want to tell us how old you were.)

Not all the Iraqi cities suffered the same damage. The cities in the south went through a lot more than the cities in the north. But the capital is always different. Baghdad was considered to be invaded (not sure about this replacement either. I don’t want to put words in your mouth!) right after the airport battle. This was far away from where I stayed.

When looking from the window of my house I could only see clouds of smoke, and did not know where the smoke was coming from. When things were getting quieter my cousins started to go out and comeback with news about what they heard and what they saw. All the buildings, the houses, the streets that were destroyed completely made me feel sad–and hateful towards all Americans. I could not bear their existence in my city and wanted them to go out in any way possible. For me, they were the monsters who killed my people and destroyed my city for no reason.

Not until half a year passed by, when I started to know that for them, the American troops, it was not the favorable place to be in. what made me change my mind was a soldier who had tow pictures glued inside his helmet. When we asked him who they were, he said “This is my mother, and this is my girlfriend and I miss them so much. So I have these photos here”. That’s when I thought, ok, it is not only us who were suffering from their existence, but they also were not comfortable from their own existence. Later my house was being checked for arms. Our neighbor’s son was in our garden playing with his car toy and one soldier was staring at him all the time and did nothing else. My father asked him if there was anything wrong, he said “No, but my son is that age and had a similar car. Can I take a picture of this boy?”Then I knew that they were not monsters.They were human beings doing what they were told. So I excused them.

The feelings of hatred towards American were all gone when I came to Vienna and I looked at things from a different point of view. I found out that many Americans were protesting against the war, that they did not want it. But this kind of information had no way to Iraq at the time of war. I came to forgive first, and then to believe that governments do not, necessarily, represent their people’s will.