Sometimes I think my family doesn't quite know what to think of me. Especially when I made the decision to take a job in Iraq working in human rights. Except, they were the ones who instilled in me the values of compassion, honor and caring.
The question everyone asks when they find out that I worked in Iraq is "Did I have to wear a headscarf?". No, no I did not, but I did dress conservatively to respect my host country-not that I was a mini skirt wearing girl back in the states. Once that is out of the way I tell the stories of the people I met because the people in Iraq are amazing and awe-inspiring.
I had the privilege to work with clerics, tribal leaders, Iraqi NGO's, professors, students and community leaders. While not everyone could agree what was the best path forward for their country, every single person I worked with was devoted to their country. They worked selflessly within their communities to promote peace, to help those in need and to fight the ever encroaching threat of Al Qaeda.
Today my heart is breaking because Iraq is once again being torn apart. People that I hold dear are living with a very real fear of the threat to their lives.
I believe in Rule of Law. I believe in governing bodies like the United Nations, the Arab League and the International Criminal Court. I realize that it is a bit of a naive blind belief, but...
The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 (without the support of the United Nations, I would add) and has been trying to get out of the mess it created since then. We pulled out of Iraq because that was what the American people wanted, yet we left a power vacuum and left the country's economy and infrastructure in shambles. Yes, we overthrew Sadaam Hussein and I have heard enough personal testimonies about the atrocities that he committed to believe that was the right thing to do, except we exited stage left before the end of the play.
I don't have the answers. I don't have a purpose for today's post. I just hope that people understand that the situation is very very complicated. Iraq needs our compassion, understanding and assistance. I just pray that they receive it.
Photo credit D-Stanley The Citadel in Erbil, Iraq
Originally published 6/14/14