Monday, October 29, 2007

"Bloggers Without Borders"

Blogger Riverbend posted to her blog, Baghdad Burning, last week--a somewhat rare event this year. She's in Syria and facing the same visa and immigration challenges as many of other of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees living in the country. (I suppose it shouldn't surprise me, but why isn't the US doing more to provide sanctuary for the 2.2 million Iraqis displaced since we invaded and occupied the country? According to a Reuters story today, we have taken in a grand total of 1,608 displaced Iraqis since the conflict began, and "have plans" to resettle 7,000 this year. It seems like drop in the bucket.)

Bloggers Without Borders...
Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance.
[...]The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war. It’s funny how you learn to act a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things- like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic. It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again- with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.
It is estimated that there are at least 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria today. I believe it.

(Riverbend, Baghdad Burning, 10/22/07)

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