OK, so I can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. This blog is dated from 17 Aug 2003 to 22 October 2007. So it’s now been untouched for longer than it was written. But (insert appropriate expletive here) it is a harrowing read. It outlines a Baghdad woman’s take on life in Baghdad immediately post-GWBush war. And ends with her arriving in Syria as a refugee.
If you want an account of a refugee’s experience, her last few posts are expressive, a mix of sadness, uncertainty, regret for her country, a tinge of humour and a clarity of purpose.
Packing that suitcase was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. It was Mission Impossible: Your mission, R., should you choose to accept it is to go through the items you’ve accumulated over nearly three decades and decide which ones you cannot do without. The difficulty of your mission, R., is that you must contain these items in a space totaling 1 m by 0.7 m by 0.4 m. This, of course, includes the clothes you will be wearing for the next months, as well as any personal memorabilia- photos, diaries, stuffed animals, CDs and the like.
I packed and unpacked it four times. Each time I unpacked it, I swore I’d eliminate some of the items that were not absolutely necessary. Each time I packed it again, I would add more ‘stuff’ than the time before.
‘Leaving Home’ 6 Sept 2007
I stumbled upon this an hour and a half ago looking up something (I forget) for a uni assignment. I’ve learnt more reading this blog than I’ve learnt in the uni course.
Just one more snippet, from 26 April 2007:
So we’ve been busy. Busy trying to decide what part of our lives to leave behind. Which memories are dispensable? We, like many Iraqis, are not the classic refugees- the ones with only the clothes on their backs and no choice. We are choosing to leave because the other option is simply a continuation of what has been one long nightmare- stay and wait and try to survive.
I also found an Interview by Al Jazeera with Riverbend.
Stop reading me. Go read Riverbend. I just hope she is now ok, wherever she is.
Article about chronological ethnocentrism (ie the view that society always improves over time) and examples from USA of forgetting actual and well known instances of things that happened yonks ago (eg Obama can’t be the ‘first gay President’ (Newsweek headline), not because he isn’t gay – but you don’t have to even examine his sexuality because the US had a gay Prez in 1857-61, James Buchanan).
The conclusion is that the US does it to paper over the 1890-1940 period, ‘the nadir of race relations’, and so it allows an uncritical forgetting of all that happened prior to Rosa Parks or Jackie Robinson (who wasn’t the first black man in major league baseball after all)