Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Report on an afternoon in Greenville

Last week, I finally got a chance to go and visit with Rusul. Beth and I drove down there, getting totally confused by Beth’s GPS system, but we did find the Ronald McDonald house – which I thought was very nice. We had decided to take Rusul somewhere and give her father (Abu Ali) a break. When we got there, Abu Ali recognized me from last year when Salee came up to Asheville. He does not know a lot of English, and I know less Arabic, but he smiled and said “Salee, Salee” it got the message across that he remembered me. Ted was there with Abu Ali, trying to install a translation program on his computer, and not having much success.

Beth, Rusul and I went to Reedy Falls Park, which is in downtown Greenville. We parked in one spot that was further out, walked out onto a bridge over the river and then realized that it would be a mile or so to walk to the main part of the park. Rusul has a hot pink cast on her right leg, and has this little walker so she can get around. We thought this might be too much walking for Rusul, so we got the car and went in closer to the main part of the park. Beth offered a piggy back ride to Rusul, and Rusul cooperated, but she really wanted to do it on her own! So, we climbed up stairs, walked across bridges, hiked around and Rusul did it all on her own with her walker. She is quite the little trooper, and tries hard to be self-sufficient.

Rusul is also quite the little ham for the camera. The photos from our outing is posted on my blog, so go and have a look at them. We walked across the Liberty Bridge, and then we went into a café at the park and had some ice tea. It was a lot of fun hamming around with Beth and Rusul.

We went back to Ronald McDonald house, and there I showed Abu Ali my photos from the day and from the airport arrival and from last fall when Salee came to Asheville. He wanted copies, but my computer does not burn photos into CDs, and emailing them all would be rather slow. I decided to download them all unto my blog, and that way he can download them from the blog.

When we were going through the pictures from last fall, we got to one (very fuzzy) photo that I took when Jason stood up to talk to Abu Ali in front of the whole group. When Abu Ali saw that, he said ‘good soldier, good soldier’. Jason had stood up and formally apologized for the damage that the US invasion and occupation had done to Iraq, and apologized for his part in that (Jason was a medic in the US Army in Iraq). It really left an impression on Abu Ali.

I also showed Abu Ali my most recent video of pictures from July 2008 that were taken in Baghdad. The piece is titled “This is Baghdad” and you can find it here. This also impacted on Abu Ali, and he managed to tell us that the Shi’ites had run all the Sunnis out of Baghdad and shot a great number of them. Even so, he felt sympathetic towards the Shi’ites living behind walls and getting scared by US military actions. Abu Ali also managed to tell us that Maliki is just like Bush, and that Sadr and Sistani are bad, because they are working for Iran. When a picture of Sadr’s father came on the screen, he said that Sadr’s father were good.

Writing these words, though simple and short, is so very difficult….. because it is difficult to come face to face with the grievous injuries that innocent people have suffered due to this illegal war of aggression and occupation. On the drive back home, Beth and I speculated on the causes of violence in our country, and what inspires that. Beth thinks that people who are violent are mentally ill. If that is true, we have a lot of mentally ill people in this country, both now and in the past.

If you can, please donate to No More Victims to help cover the expenses for Rusul and Salee and their family.

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