--We posted this: Our condolences to Fatma's family in Baghdad. We pray for the family. The sudden loss of her three sisters shocks us and we pray that the bombings and violence come to an end.
What we meant to say, what we meant, think, and feel is very complicated. This latest tragedy is personal, massively disruptive, and discordant with our lives of peace here in the U.S.We just walked in after 10 days of wonder. Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon...hard hikes and truly awesome experiences delivered moments we'll never forget. We were giddy with fatigue as we inspected the garden and picked beans in the moonlight. We went in to unpack and check the mail.
There was an offline waiting; from Abu Ghraib: There is bad news. It is a catastrophe. I don't know how to say it. Fatma's house was exploded. Her father lives. Her brother lives. Fatma lives. Her three sisters were killed. Please call me.
N talked to them just yesterday. Fatma said she visited N's family and gave condolences for the passing of Muthena. N asked after her sister and the silver ring to be sure she still wore it. Jokes were shared...talk of the upcoming wedding...talk...comfortable, friendly talk.
And now to Skype to call back the friends and family to hear if this is true. What to say? What to say?
It was 5AM in Baghdad when the shell hit. The three sisters were sleeping on the first floor. Everyone else was upstairs. The sisters were crushed to death when the house collapsed. Fatma has many broken bones.
As we contemplate reactions to international situations we must keep in mind the woeful results that spill from our decisions to use violence to solve problems. Our soldiers continue to kill and maim, destroying families and cultures all over the world. In Iraq we unleashed forces of massive cruelty that continue the slaughter. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Somalia, Syria, Yemen...the list is long; over 137 countries house U.S. forces and in many we are actively engaged in the killing.
How many more innocent men, women, and children have to die before we gain our compassionate senses? Who are we to choose who dies? Who are you? Take a few minutes...send a message to your representatives. Tell them they must vote against more death and destruction, even in the name of Democracy.
Mass public bombings have killed over 400 Iraqis this year. Most of these have been directed at the Shia population. Many attribute this to Al Qaeda's attemps to rekindle widespread sectarian violence. Statistics on residential bombings like this one are hard to come by since these smaller explosions are not well tracked.
It is hard for some to blame American foreign policy for the deaths of Fatma's sisters but it is obvioius when we look at the consequences of our choosing violence. Our choice of violence in Iraq and our dismantling of the police and army unleashed the maelstrom that allowed Al Qaeda to take root in Iraq, and continues to pour grief into the world.