Friday, January 21, 2005

Update about Iraq Friend

I just got off a chat room with my pen pal in Iraq, a young women of 26, educated, who was just so upset at her situation ever more difficult today. She is having trouble with her landlord, with whom she and her mother share an apartment, 2 families situation, and he and his family are giving them all kinds of trouble. Such as turning off electricity and water to their area, harassing her mother, wanting her to move out, wanting higher rent which is already $100 per month and her income is only 200.

I said "can you negotiate" and she said "are you kidding, this is Iraq, he would be insulted that a 26 year old women would even attempt."
The situation there is so dismal for everyone, but especially for women still. These two women are alone without a male in the family and they have it especially difficult.

Whenever I get these emails from her I feel so helpless and so guilty for my country that has put such burdens on an already overburdened country.

What is to be said to her, only that I am trying with all my might as just one women with a computer to try to get some kind of change here.

And it's not much, not much at all that I can do.
She cannot leave that country even despite the situation, cannot get a visa.
If you could hear the heart rending stories that I have from her, you would never be able to shake it off.
What is to be done??????

Just to let you know, she tells me that the people there are so backward thinking, so fatalistic and so oppressed that they do not welcome any kind of changes and do not seek democracy at all. Most of them. They don't understand it, have no experience even thinking about it, only the very few educated understand at all what it is about. They are like this country was 300 years ago in many of their ways of thinking. But they have no fire for democracy or self government. It is not an issue that came from the people as our history was.

What they want is electricity 12 hours a day, at least, fuel that is cheap and easy to acquire, freedom from daily fear, freedom to travel and leave there, a decent income, buildings that are not all blown up, civilians not dying every day, being able to take a stroll or go to a park or just to have fun in any way.
Freedom, they have no freedom!!!!
They are not embracing this democracy thing at all. Now they are bitter at all the problems we have caused in their every day life. They feel hopeless and helpless. What do they have to look forward to, more of the same at best, civil war at worst.It's totally impossible to function in any kind of meaningful way there, to say the very, very least.

The very most frustrating thing to me is that very few people here are even aware of the conditions there and what the people are going through. That is why I am posting these letters. We need to know the real situation in Iraq. We need to really help these people and I think that means to just get out of there. I don't really know, I don't have the answers, but I sure feel we are making it worse.