Monday, May 28, 2007

Life in Hell

I hate the news, but like an addict I crave it constantly. It is in reading, seeing and knowing these things, that I know I am still alive. To steal a line from Trent Reznor, I read it to 'see if I still feel'. It is then that I know I must be alive, or a masochist--perhaps both.

Today's moment in hell, brought to me by the NY Times (which I have been spending too much time reading), about young refugee girls in Syria forced into prostitution to support themselves and their families. This is what has become of a nation stupidly, blindly and arrogantly attacked and crushed by war. It is these women who are paying the price, with their bodies. They will not fill the seats of universities, the nursing stations of hospitals or even the unmarked graves in their country. They will be walk the streets of neighboring countries who have let them in but cannot sustain them. They will sell their bodies for less than the price of the medicine their family needs, because that is what they have been reduced to. These girls, who have never known peace, who have never known health or fulfillment of the simplest wishes. What do they dream of? What do they think? What will they become? Will they be the living dead, knowing they can never enter respectable society? Will they die under the fists of drunks who have paid pennies for their bodies? Or will they suffer the slow, agonizing life crippled by diseases no one bothered to protect them against?

Not long ago, I used to read the blog of a young woman in Baghdad, known to many as Riverbend. She seemed intelligent and honest about what she saw around her. Some of her stories reminded me of living in Tehran during the war (although God knows, my experience was heaven in comparison). Every time I read her blog, I thought, "She could be me." She seemed to be about my age, in a different life we could have been friends--or enemies. But I found myself worrying about her when she didn't update her blog for extended periods. Recently, she and her family decided to leave Baghdad. Now I wonder where she is, and how they're getting by. Have they found peace, or is it just a new chapter in hell?

Does anyone even care? For this our men and women are dying. For this outcome, children are losing their parents, and parents are losing their children. I don't care for the tax dollars going into this war, it is the price we pay for electing this administration. I don't care for the freedoms I lose, it is the price I pay for my fear and silence. But in moments like this, I cannot understand why others must pay with their lives for such conceit.

I believe in hell--I must. How else will I be able to think of the Bushes, Cheneys and Rumsfelds of this world, knowing there will be no justice for them in this lifetime?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too worry and wonder about Riverbend. I have read her blog all along and I guess, for me, she represents all Iraq citizens; except the bad guys.

I have witnessed her change from an Iraqi that did not hate the West to one who, through her horros, was left no other alternative.

I cry for her, I miss her, and I wish her well.