Thursday, January 18, 2007

In Memoriam

So, right off the bat, this is going to be a personal post. I hope none of you mind, and please feel free, my fellow writers, to delete it.

You may have heard that an American aid worker was killed in Iraq yesterday, along with three security contractors (two others were wounded, one in serious condition). Well, that was my organization, and I find myself becoming quite sad at random times during the day about their murder, and hers in particular. I didn't know her well - barely at all really - so there's no reason or perhaps even value in conveying my condolences to her family, if I could even find them. But she had come by the DC office in December, where we chatted about work-related things and more generally about her reasons for being and returning to Iraq, her feelings of being back in the U.S., her work and how fulfilling it was, and a few other topics.

So really, I barely knew her. Nevertheless, she left a wonderful impression, so much so that I commented to my girlfriend about her - that here was a beautiful, energetic young woman (barely older than me) who was returning to perhaps the most dangerous places in the world. How she is so much braver than I am in her dedication to what she believes in, with a richness of experience and vivacity that I envy and appreciate. And all this in just a couple short conversations with her. It saddens me that that's all there will be, and it frightens me to think how she must have felt at the end. It...reminds me to value all those brief interactions and relationships more, and I regret not having had this feeling earlier.

So, while I'm not allowed to tell her name or really anything of her background to anyone, she's in my thoughts and memories, brief and meaningful as they were.


Jonny America said...

Don't know what to say here Chengora, other than that some people do not realise that the dangers in Iraq are not just some abstraction. Living with this kind of violence is really hard to imagine. I suspect this woman was targeted at least in part becuase of her clearly foreign appearance. I wonder if unusual physical characterisitcs make Baghdadi residents easier marks. How terrible would it be to live in fear of your appearance getting you into trouble?

I think that it will take a long long time before the US can finally atone for the tragedy we have created.

hcduvall said...

It's by turns a wonderful and unexpected, as well as natural thing, to meet people who make the decision to do this sort of work in modern life, and who are at ease with the decision, and always inspirational.

It's the decision that other lives are ever worth less that shouldn't but always does mystify me. There's are more people than just us Americans who are actors, creators, of this tragedy, and certainly more among the direct victims. And none of them are less in this.

Chengora said...

An al-Qaida linked group has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that they had destroyed agents from "Zionist Mossad."

This would be funny, if it weren't such a tragic and horrible situation. I have heard us called a wing of the CIA, but never Israeli intelligence.

There are many people responsible for this, not the least of whom are her murderers. A coworker of mine has simply gotten angry at the situation, that innocent people, people who disagree with the president, are dying for his lack of planning or understanding of the situation. I guess I'm angry to, at any number of people for this, but mostly, I'm just sad.

We'll be having a moment of silence for her on Monday, and hopefully we won't be pulling our programs out of Iraq because of this...