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Two Women in Iraq

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  • max ediger
    Friends: Below is a short article written by a friend working with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq. We Are Tired, The Stories of Two Women Peggy Gish
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2005
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      Friends:  Below is a short article written by a friend working with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq. 
       
      "We Are Tired," The Stories of Two Women
      Peggy Gish
      July 31, 2005

      We planned to spend the evening and night with a renowned writer,
      Halla,* and her family and friends. Three CPT women would sleep with
      her on the roof of her Baghdad home and see her off early the next
      morning to her birth country, Syria, where she would reunite with
      her sister, daughter and their families.

      It would be Halla's first time to see her three grandchildren.
      Because she had married an Iraqi of Palestinian origin, she had not
      been able to travel outside Iraq for over twenty years.  Her son,
      who had been imprisoned for eleven months in Iraq under US forces,
      had been released, and she was finally recovering from the cloud of
      grief and worry this caused her. Her family and friends were here to
      share in her joy and hope for new possibilities in her life.

      This occasion gave us the opportunity to also talk to Samia,*
      Halla's close friend. She proceeded to tell us her own family story.
      Her father had been a well-loved, top official in the transportation
      and construction ministries under Saddam's regime. The family never
      found out why in 1983 Saddam's government arrested and imprisoned
      him and confiscated the family home. They visited their father at
      Abu Ghraib prison weekly, supplying him with his food and other
      necessities. Samia never got to continue her education at the
      university because she had to help her mother support the family by
      preparing and selling foods in a shop and doing fancy beadwork and
      sewing. When her father was finally released three years later, he
      was "very tired" and not able to support his family.

      When Samia married, she still continued her sewing and beadwork,
      working late every night after the children went to bed, in order to
      provide a better standard of living for her family. "I am tired,"
      she said, and we could see the accumulation of pain in her eyes.
      Since the invasion of Iraq, she helped her sister's family when the
      US military imprisoned her brother-in-law. It took the family
      several months to simply find where he was and to arrange to visit
      him.

      "When the Americans came, they said they would close Abu Ghraib
      prison," Samia told us. "I never thought I would say this, but now
      it's worse here for prisoners and their families and for life in
      general than under Saddam," "Every family has at least one member
      who has been killed, injured, or imprisoned in this war. We are
      tired."

      For the past two years both women have been working with a local
      women's organization which brings women from all backgrounds
      together to oppose the occupation. Things have not been improving in
      their society. It is hard to bring about change. They are
      determined, however, to keep working together to maintain a space of
      hope, even if it simply keeps them from being broken by the
      tiredness that more and more Iraqis feel.

      * Not their real names



      Visit my web page at http://daga.dhs.org/max

      People tend to think of nonviolence as a choice between using force and doing nothing. But the real choice takes place at another level. Nonviolence is less a matter of "not killing" and more a matter of showing compassion, of saving and redeeming, of being a healing community. One can only choose between doing good to the person placed in one's path, or to do him evil. To do good is to love a person; but not to do that is as good as killing him. To love someone is to restore that person physically, socially, and spiritually. To neglect and postpone this restoration is already to kill. Andre Trocme

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