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Riverbend Continues To Illuminate the Impact of Iraq

by Staff


Tags: Riverbend, Iraq, Syria, impact of war, Iraq War,

Riverbend, an Iraqi woman who has been blogging about her life in Baghdad since 2003, recently fled with her family to Syria. Here’s Riverbend writing about leaving her home in Iraq:

It was a tearful farewell as we left the house. One of my other aunts and an uncle came to say goodbye the morning of the trip. It was a solemn morning and I’d been preparing myself for the last two days not to cry. You won’t cry, I kept saying, because you’re coming back. You won’t cry because it’s just a little trip like the ones you used to take to Mosul or Basrah before the war. In spite of my assurances to myself of a safe and happy return, I spent several hours before leaving with a huge lump lodged firmly in my throat. My eyes burned and my nose ran in spite of me. I told myself it was an allergy.

Here, Riverbend writes about her adjustment to life in Syria:

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.

The suffering of war can feel distant when seen through the dim mirror of the media. Peering through these posts, like an archeologist sifting through dirt, there are signs of a beautiful and delicate life. They make the Iraq War seem less and less a political issue, and more a moral crisis, something that dooms and cleaves real people’s lives. Riverbend’s posts are blogging at its best, demonstrating that form can do more than just report news—it can collapse boundaries, and make the horror of war come alive.

Found via Crooks And Liars.

­—Brendan Mackie