Something I am working on....
Only two years ago, I humbly handed my beautiful baby daughter to the American soldier in his big truck. I remember hiding a tear as true appreciation gripped my very soul. She was then, for a moment, in the arms of a man who helped rid this country of the terrible Saddam regime.
How thankful I was then.
Now, in 2005, my city and life have reached complete despair. There is no law in Ramadi, and life doesn't seem much worth living.
The liberators are now conquerors, and they refuse to leave.
I am Muslim, but Islam does not define me.
Yet, I weep often at the thought of the torment encountered by my brothers and sisters from Bangladesh to Kashmir, here in my own country, and across the globe.
I shudder because their suffering is even worse than mine.
To say the Iraqi economy is tough is to suggest wrongly that there is an economy at all. The only job that pays is that of an untrained mercenary. My present employment.
I feel hate for no man. Yet instruments of hate are the tools of my profession.
This isn't a career I desired. But I have a daughter, and a memory of a slain wife. Fighting the occupiers is the only method of providing the meager subsistence upon which my remaining family survives.
Neighbors may as well be ghosts. The shops, junkyards. Visiting either requires dodging death. From the Americans with their big guns and my countrymen both.
What were once jewels of this city are now military bases, for friend and foe alike. I wish only that my daughter could see those places as they were, in all their splendor.
Nothing is any longer beautiful in this city. Its most remarkable characteristic now is the never-ending repugnant odor of garbage-lined streets long baking in the summer sun.
Tonight, I play an insignificant role in an attack. The paltry sum earned from my participation will be hidden away for my daughter's future use.
Secretly, I beg God. Not that I survive (death would bring relief if not for the responsibility I owe to my girl). But that we fail. As I truly wish no man harm.
...To be continued.