If humor makes us laugh, then what are the things that are funny and make us cry? ---
Peace be upon all of you,
Dear Bruce thanks a lot for the beautiful message and happy Thanks Giving
to all of you with a big hug to each one of you.
hope you are better now and feel o.k. I do miss your writing and your delicate
words...it is wonderful to be with your family again...I can imagine your
celebration...God bless you all.
Now let tell you
what had happened to us today...I came back from school at 2:00 p.m to find half
of the American army in my house...a group in the garden...another group
upstairs while the others were spread in the district...I was frightened about
my brothers 'safety because I am quite sure they are clean and peaceful. I tried
to enter my house but the soldier threatened me with his gun machine...so I
stepped back and waited for about ten minutes...then one of them came to me and
asked me weather I speak English or not...then he said we are checking all the
houses near the highway. After their leaving I saw one of them laugh loudly with
my brother and his wife...I wont lie to you I was relieved when I saw this
view...I entered my room to find that each book was checked ...my special
things...my desk and the drawers and finally my clothes cupboard were also
checked. I asked my brother to tell me in details what kind of chat was
that...he told me that they were admired of the garden and they like his child
(Osama "2years") then I asked him the reason behind the soldier's laughing ...my
brother answered that the soldier looked to Osama and asked his friend is this
child (Binladin) which our troops are looking for??
November 20, 2005 We've gotten no email from Baghdad in about a month. Most of the US students are so frustrated that they've given up. A few write me every few days to see if I've heard anything. I have, but not by email.
The phone works, and I can sometimes get through and speak to Baghdad teachers. One of them told me she can't wait until the US forces go home. Another told me that she wishes the US forces would stay and 'make a peace. Make things normal again.' And both those teachers were the same person! She notes that for so many years the Sunni and Shi'a in her circle were not making distinctions about religion. Her sister-in-law is Shi'a, and her brother-in-law is Sunni. "I don't know what happened here."
There's a joke going around Baghdad these days. The people, in desperation, ask Saddam if he can help. "Sure," he says, "just give me 24 hours." "Just twenty four hours?" "Sure," he says. "I need the first 20 to get a haircut, fix up a palace, shop for new clothes, and eat some real food." "And what about the other 4 hours." " With the other 4 hours I can fix the country."
H's apartment has been repaired. You remember? The walls were severly cracked when 3 car bombs went off in front of a nearby hotel last week. They've patched the walls and they can live there now.Thanks for small things, eh?
One of the teachers told of a student: "We lost one of the girls the other day. There was a fighting and she was killed by a bullet. The students are so sad." Yes, they are very sad; and traumatized; and this is just one incident. It has come to the point where every life in Baghdad has been touched by tragedy and every soul is under the cloud of war.Those not stricken with the madness of violence yearn for peace.
Nobody I know says they know the right answer. Like a bad stink let
out of a bottle; there's just no way of putting things back to the way
they were before. Me? I think we've got to get out-Now! and let the Iraqi people solve their own problems. Whenever we leave that is what is going to happen. Then let it happen now. I can't imagine it getting much worse (as I hear of the car-bomber who drove into the funeral tent to kill the mourners). Worse? How?
November 12, 2005 Still, no email gets through from the students in Iraq to the students in the US. I did get through to N, on her cell phone, the other day. It was a hard phone call.
N was at the apartment of a family who live nearby. It was 5PM Baghdad time and they were still cleaning up from the night's distress. She told me that at about 1AM the US troops broke into the apartment and rounded up the family; father, mother, daughter-11, and sons 3 and 7. The entire house was searched, furniture and pictures broken, clothing tossed about. The family was afraid for their lives. "What do you want here?" "We are innocent. We have nothing to hide." The silent answer let the fears build up, and then... The soldiers, having found nothing, apologized; saying they were sorry, but someone had told them there were guns hidden in the apartment. They offered little dolls to the children. The young boys accepted them, but the girl refused. She wanted nothing to do with the troops. The family doesn't blame the soldiers. They are angry with the person(s) who told the troops that arms were in the apartment. It is so easy, these days, to disrupt lives by pointing accusing fingers and watching the troops invade someone's home. The cleanup was going well; not much was broken, and things were coming back to order. The children had stopped crying. N was still upset and her voice sounded weaker than ever.
I tried to change the subject. "How is school going? How are your students this term?" "It's not good," she replied. "One of the girls has stopped coming because they kidnapped her brother and the family does not want her to go out any more. There is much fear here." I told her I was so sorry that the situation was so bad, and how we were working, in our almost helpless way, to bring an end to the occupation, and then, feeling she was so sad,
I tried to change the subject. "Have you taken the next steps to get your visa to come study here in the US?" She said, "No. I have to go to the University to get my copy of my record to send to the schools but it is too dangerous and I don't go."
"I don't know what to say." (this is a small voice I had never heard come from her before). "Tell me something happy. Say something for a smile."
And we filled the rest of the call with small talk; of uncommonlly warm weather in New York City; of Mariloyn's good progress with her novel; of my son's wonderful travels; of this and that and these and those; of cute children on Halloween night who were dressed in costumes and smiles...