Talking to an Iraqi

Last night I met a young lady from Iraq that arrived in the United States not too long ago. I was amazed listening to her story of leaving Iraq a few years ago and moving to another country because of threats that were on her life. I don't think that most of us really appreciate what is going on in that country and how people are suffering, not because the United States is there, but because they fear their own people. The terrorists in Iraq are not killing the infidels; they are killing their own people. They are doing what they can to keep the Iraqi people in fear so that they can gain back control.

Have we lost some 4.000 soldiers in Iraq since the beginning of the war? Yes, of course we have, but the numbers pale against the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that have lost their life over that same period. These are good people that deserve a chance to live free.

They deserve the same opportunities that we enjoy. They deserve to not live in fear. They deserve to not face death every time they go out the door. They deserve to have hopes and dreams. Meda was telling me of how another member of her family was kidnapped and although that person was one of the lucky ones that was set free, it was only because the family was privileged and was able to pay the ransom.

But what about the Iraqis that are not in that same sort of privileged position? We hear about people being kidnapped and beheaded all the time. In fact, not long ago we were seeing those acts on the Internet and sometimes in video. But just imagine having to live your life in fear of your own people doing that to you and/or a family member at any time. I know that we have criminals that do awful things, but that is isolated. In Iraq, it happens almost daily and in virtually every city.

I asked Meda about this practice of people slapping on bombs and walking into crowds and blowing themselves up - the suicide bombers. How could anyone condone that sort of act? She quickly informed me that Iraqis do not condone that and do not think it is an acceptable means of dealing with anything. They abhor it. And they especially don't understand it when the Jihadists claim they are out to destroy the infidels and yet it is the Iraqi people that the suicide bombers are usually targeting. What sense does that make? Although they abhor it, to speak out and such in public would only make them the next target either of a bomb or just being shot down in the street and they have their families to think about. Their only hope is to see their government and the coalition succeed and get the violent groups under control.

I found one thing very curious: I have heard it stated that the Iraqis are worse off today than they were under Saddam Hussein. She was quick to explain that although the statement may be true in one sense, it is not the complete story. When Iraqis say they were better off under Hussein, they are referring to the violence that is being perpetrated by their own people. Under Hussein, he would rise up and defend those in fear.

And in Iraq that is a long standing custom where someone takes you into their family or tribe and you then are under their protection. In fact, they would often throw a party and then when you arrive, you would see only your enemies because they were invited to receive the announcement that you were now under the host's protection. The rest of that story, though, was that under that person's protection you must live according to their rules so that you don't bring them embarrassment or shame.

So nothing ever changed. You were just now fearful of the person you were under the protection of. Would Meda or any of her family choose to go back to the country of Saddam? - absolutely not! There is now hope for a free society.

Hope for all Iraqi people. They do not want to turn the clock back by any means. I have talked with hundreds of soldiers that have served in Iraq and to a soldier, I have never heard anything but good about the people of Iraq. It was good to know that at least this Iraqi and her family felt the same way about us.

Jeff Gustafson and MyHATT, An international dinner club concept where people get to know people one bite at a time...thank you to The Daily Buzz and my entire MyHATT contributing staff for the educational content for world culture, the history, world traditions, the international menus for this dinner party/social activity... http://www.myhatt.com

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