The Ending of a Saga

Have you heard that the war in Iraq is over?

it is. I guess.

I was there in 2007, and being the lovely nosy person that I am, i consistently asked everyone what they thought. Did they prefer Saddam, what was their take on the US troops? what did they think the future held?

in the older generations, ie, the grizzled men old enough to be my father, it seemed that they were pretty unhappy about us being there. they agreed that Saddam sucked, but his small-scale massacres they could deal with. it was our invasions and clearing out of places that they had issues with. they were more than happy to take our [seemingly] excessive pay for easy work, but they did not want us there.

the men my age, the ones that were teenagers in 2003, and babies during the Gulf War, they were the hardest to talk to. they were the ones who had seen their fathers and uncles killed by our bombs, or by Saddam’s troop responses. didn’t really matter who pulled the trigger or set off the explosive, their loved ones were dead. gone. while they had spent most of their formative years under a dictatorship, for the most part people remained untouched. especially the ones on the outskirts of society. until we came. then we either killed them ourselves, or they died by association.

the little boys that i met, the ones born within the last ten years, they had hopes. visions. either they’d take all the American money possible from the troops living next to their houses, or they’d move to the US and make something for themselves. those children saw ways to manipulate their future based on the visions of wealth, education and healthcare that we were offering.

reminded me a bit of Timor Leste in 1999, when the government finally decided to just massacre as many people as possible, which forced the UN to step in and assist the nationals to “independence”.

While the UN was there, the country seemed to be on a trek to wonderful financial independence. I traveled intensively interior, to tiny villages without electricity or running water, where you could buy things at the market for USD, Euros or Indonesian Rupiah.

and then the country became “stable”, and the UN left. taking their income, their electricity, their hospitals, their road crews, everything. in my uneducated-and-on-site-viewpoint, the country collapsed. they had no internal source of income. at all.

Iraq is lucky to have their oil, but are they able to fund its production without outside help? who used to pay for it? who’s going to pay for it now? who is going to pay for the guns to protect their country? that’s honestly been my consistent question- who the fuck is going to step into the gaping financial hole that the coalition forces are leaving? hm? who?

i wish them the absolute best, but i don’t think there’s a way possible quite yet.

The men old enough to take over were raised in a dictatorship and have 40+ years of cultural training branded on their lifestyles.

The men my age a) won’t be trusted to be knowledgeable because they’re so fucking young and b) have grown up in a violent culture of hate and anger. possibly not the change that the world is hoping for.

the children however, as always, there’s hope for them. just not for another 30 years.

i see Iraq turning into another Philippines, or South Korea. unable to leave completely because we feel responsible, not to mention they ask so sweetly.

i’ve been reading articles all day about the Iraqi war. all the lives lost, on both sides. the innocent civilians accidentally shot, the families waiting for people who never come home. or when they do, they might as well have stayed gone because of what their traumas have turned them into.

i was about to say “there’s so much focus on the mental transformations of returning troops” when it hit me that perhaps there isn’t. maybe it’s just a obession of mine that leads me to find articles about it, and be morbid about how fucked up so many are.

people in the States get offended by babies having babies. personally i find it worse to send children to war.

*puts away soapbox.* i cant afford to get emotional where i currently am, so i’m done.

please enjoy a violent set of beautiful photographs from the Iraqi war.

~ by manjamanis on August 31, 2010.

4 Responses to “The Ending of a Saga”

  1. Okay Suzi, this is a brilliant post. This is Kacie from HIS, by the way. Can I link to it? It’s so insightful, and from someone who has actually been there.

  2. eh, it adds spice. 🙂 Don’t worry, I’m not someone that never swears, unlike my 18 year old HIS self. 🙂

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