Saturday, May 08, 2004

.Friday 7/5
Good Morning
Today is a holiday, the last day of the week. The day of remaining at home for security reasons, ha, ha, ha. I want to write today, the good news report. We've become bored of bad news, and want a break.
First of all, the weather is beautiful outside, and the sound of birds increases its beauty. But the sound of the electricity generator makes it ugly. My apologies, the electricity flow is very bad these days, but this news has no relation to the report today, because we agreed to only be happy today.
The siege has been lifted off Faluja. The families have returned to their homes - the ones that were not demolished. But those, whose homes were demolished - we will talk about them in an upcoming sad report.
The situation in Najaf is anxious. We expect it to explode at any time - but we wish that there will be those who think a thousand times before they put pressure on any trigger. Americans, or Iraqis.
I can't think clearly. Troubling news always is always on the surface, and we can't ignore it.
Ok, I will try again from anew. We did an interview with BBC radio. An American mother, she has a son in the US Army, who returned home. Thank God! This is happy news, that he returned safely. We spoke on the phone to each other, and the correspondant spoke to us, asking us questions.
So we each answered the questions, each one according to her opinions. The beautiful thing in this, is that our answers did not agree, but they were close. We are mothers, and we hate wars. And we want peace for our families, and for our countries. The program will be broadcast on mothers day in America - I mean, May 9. I hope it's a happy day for all mothers in America and the world - that families gather. That nobody is absent, participating in a war or something similar. And that peace surrounds the whole world
I was searching in a college in Baghdad for English language courses. They told me there is a British college, but it is close to the Green area. I mean, the center for the Coaltion forces. I turned down the idea, because it will be a class punctuated by missiles falling, aimed by anonymous people at our heads, during the course. Ha, ha, ha. It's not an encouraging thought and before a few days, a new friend of mine came, an engineer. I met her through my sister. She told me that she made a new Iraqi organization for professional women. Wow. I liked the idea and respected her. I said, "Thank God, this is something good, quite away from missiles and explosions."

She said, "If you want, give me your photo and ID card, and I will make you a member of the organization."

I told her, "Listen, I want something beneficial. My suitcase is filled with ID cards, I don't want more. I want something benificial."

She said, "We have membership in a new college, that gives English language classes, given by Americans. The owners of the college are Americans - a man, and his wife is an American Muslim. Many women are members -- do you want to be a member?"

Oh my God. For months I have been searching for this.
In the afternon, I had spent a long time searching and asking in the same area that my friend described. But nobody could tell me where the college was. I was about to despair. But I returned and parked my car in front of where I work, and hired a taxi. I told him, "Let's ask slowly until we find the place."

It was a tiring trip. But I reached it, and smiled. No I didn't smile. I was going to fly with joy. There were Iraqi guards sitting in front of the house to search bags. In the reception, there was a young, polite Iraqi, and gave me the program. And an exam, to evaluate levels.

I began to write. Then I told him, "These are long questions, will I answer all of them?"

He said, "That's what you are supposed to do."

And I wrote and wrote. I was the only student. I told him that I will be late. The driver is outside. Can we summarize this?

He smiled and said, good, wait, I'll call the teacher. He returned after a while with a skinny man, partly bald, colored eyes and a smiling, friendly face. He greeted me in English, and I replied, and introduced myself. I told him that I wanted to strengthen my English. I don't want a TOFEL certificate or anything like that. I'm an Engineer and work in a family business.

He smiled and took the exam paper and wrote his comments, and said, "Good, your English is good, come tomorrow to attend classes with the rest of the students, we'll call to tell you the time."

The next day I attended the first class. I really enjoyed it. But we spoke amongst ourselves in Arabic to understand some of the more mysterious aspects - and then return to talk in English. The teacher was staring at us and complaining. But she is an easy going child from Texas, a new graduate.

I see her as a child because she may be younger than Raed, my son.

I really liked the first class. It's a discussion class. We talked about politics and finally, news. About our daily lives. Our families. Our degrees.

i find it a lovely, shining step. The American teachers, smiling, easy going. The Iraqi students, happy. A lovely meeting. A meeting between two cultures. Between two worlds. We are learning from each other, and talk about our lives, our traditions, and laugh. There aren't many big differences.

There aren't those differences that have to be answered by hatred and wars.

We gave them photographs of ourselves to make ID cards for the college. We hung them on our shirts, to help us in the future to enter easily. We paid fees that were almost symbolic. When we departed we said goodbye to all the college staff, men and women. We were all happy with this meeting. We agreed on a time for the next class
we are waiting to meet again.
Yesterday a friend sent me a letter. About a young Iraqi girl, who works as a doctor in one of Baghdad's hospitals. An american soldier, working with his unit. He entered the hospital, or nearby. In the beginning of the war, to protect hospitals against attacks. They got to know each other, working the same daily hours. They used to talk about their lives and maybe about their families and how they were raised.
They decided to get married. The details are on the website. But I remained thinking about this and smiling. When the soldier stood in front of the judge, to be become a Muslim. To marry an Iraqi Muslim girl. He has to say: There is no God but God, and Mohammad is the prophet of God.

I read this in English, and I realised something I had not noticed before when I say it in Arabic. The recognition of God being One, and that Mohammad is his prophet. That God is one, that prophets are many. Mohammad is not the only prophet. Yes, Mohammad had the last message. He didn't deny those who became before him. Rather, he came to complete what had come before him. Abraham, Yaqoub and Joseph, Moses and Jesus. They are the prophets of one God. And we are all the children of one God.
The story is on this website, and I think it deserves to be a cinematic film one day. When peace prevails in the world, and when the voices of peace rise, and silence the sounds of missiles and rockets.

[Translated by: Diaa Hadid, Dubai]

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