Letters to Iraqis from a New Iraqi-American.


The author of these two "Letters to Iraqis" attributes her interest in the Iraqi political scene to her father, a graduate of Arkansas University. In order to safeguard family members still living in Baghdad, she is identified here only as "Sama."

After graduation from Mustansiryia University in 1993, she edited the entertainment section of a Baghdad English-language daily. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U. S. Army employed her as a translator before she moved to the British Embassy as a press assistant and analyst of the Iraqi political scene and media.

Offered the special U. S. Translator-Interpreter Immigrant Visa, "Sama" seized the opportunity. After a yearlong struggle with the Iraqi bureaucracy and American immigration procedures, she reached North Carolina in December 2007. She will soon begin employment with a large firm in Reston, Virginia, as an Arab foreign media analyst.

Quiet Please!

Did screaming become a feature of the Iraqi contemporary civilization? Is this the legacy that we will leave for future generations? Instead of being proud of our hanging gardens they will be proud of our coarse throats.

I frequently have a tendency to believe that we as a people are addicted to screaming and refuse any medication or any attempt to cure it. We continue to move in the orbit of our ancestors' old civilizations, a legacy that has become a burden on us, and we continue to exaggerate its effect on us, but fail to create something similar to it.

Any conversation between two of my countrymen will include a reference to the past, and I am not discrediting the great work of my ancestors, but I wonder about the impact of the accumulated civilizations on the formation of our personality. Did it really have any effect on the way we think and on our culture?

A colleague of mine returned from a visit to one of the civilized nations, although it does not have a legacy quite as significant as that of Sumer and Babylon, but my colleague told me that people there stand before red traffic lights like statues... Everyone is a slave to the red signal starting from babies to the truly rebellious hard rock fan.

I search for those civilizations in the faces of by-passers on the streets, but can only find the civilization of screams ... Everybody is yelling with cruelty and most without reason. The politician screams without stop until we feel deaf; then he claims that his yelling is a transparency in the dialogue. The taxi driver will shout...

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