Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Riverbend Leaves Iraq

Further proof that the surge is only creating more violence. Popular Baghdad blogger Riverbend has left Iraq. She is now living in exile with million of other Iraqis.

Riverbend writes about how she sat on her suitcase and cried. She packed so too many items because she couldn't bear leaving pieces of her life behind. She needed the help of a neighbor to close the suitcase.

The last few hours in the house were a blur. It was time to go and I went from room to room saying goodbye to everything. I said goodbye to my desk- the one I’d used all through high school and college. I said goodbye to the curtains and the bed and the couch. I said goodbye to the armchair E. and I broke when we were younger. I said goodbye to the big table over which we’d gathered for meals and to do homework. I said goodbye to the ghosts of the framed pictures that once hung on the walls, because the pictures have long since been taken down and stored away- but I knew just what hung where. I said goodbye to the silly board games we inevitably fought over- the Arabic Monopoly with the missing cards and money that no one had the heart to throw away.

I knew then as I know now that these were all just items- people are so much more important. Still, a house is like a museum in that it tells a certain history. You look at a cup or stuffed toy and a chapter of memories opens up before your very eyes. It suddenly hit me that I wanted to leave so much less than I thought I did.

Riverbend may never see her house again. Ever.

In America, this war is seen through partisan lenses. The violence has real world consequences for people. Imagine the horror an Iraqi family goes through having to identify a family member in a morgue with rotting bodies. Imagine New Orleans after Katrina. That is what the worst parts of Iraq are like on a daily basis.

How does America ask people to live without electricity?

How does America have death squads as police in Iraq?

How does America let people in neighborhoods so besieged with violence that children can't walk to school?

These are the questions Iraqis are asking.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to Riverbend and her family.

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