It’s easy to be angry. Our loved ones are in a war we sure didn’t ask for; and to the best of my knowledge a war none of our loved ones started.
I hear an underlying anger in many of us. Some of us, it’s not so underlying. Who are we mad at exactly? Some of us sound angry at the USMC, our loved ones are underpaid and overworked… and some at our own loved ones for signing up...how could he /she leave our happy home?, The airlines of course... no free rides…and anyone that doesn’t support the troops the way we think they should. (And I think they should too)
Every DOD causality release makes me physically ill and sad. Some days I’m angry. I wish I knew who blame.
The United States Marine Corps is a fighting force and my son and your loved ones, for the most part- did not join because they wanted a better education, or to see the world or make a lot of money. Most of them joined because of some ideal they have- some concept they could help make the world a little safer, a little saner; a better place to be. Most of them joined after 9/11/2001 so they knew, or should have known, they would be going off to war.
I have no ill will towards the Iraqi people or their government… such as it is. Nor do I hate Islamic beliefs, at least any more than I hate any extreme belief, but not all Islamic are extremist. Even though my son had to dodge their bullets and their IEDS, I am not angry with the people of Iraq. Even some of them are fighting for what they think is right. Fighting for their country…
Some people want to blame the US President or all “westerners” for living the good life and having two cars per family, and a TV for every room in the house, but that will only work for one aspect of the war. What about Afghanistan? We do blame Usama Bin Laden and he blames all American capitalist. Blame Blame Blame…no fixes.
My son tells me the Iraqi people, are just like us. They want the same things we want. The difference is- they have looked death in the eye so many times- that survival is basic, it's rote, not planned. Some are too tired to fight- some are too scared. No one dreams. He made friends with several Iraqi while there. They couldn’t figure him out- They too have not studied many cultures. His half Japanese face that knew Arabic words was interesting to them.
I know a lot of Afghani’s. Where I used to live was called “Little Kabul” – Nick used to joke that Usama was hiding there- and sometimes I thought- wow- he could be- who would know? Well, the locals would have known- most of them fled Afghanistan for the kind of freedom we have in America. They would have strung him up right there in the center of town.
I felt sorry for the Afghani’s where I lived after 9/11. They all put American Flags in front of their homes…to show support- but also clarify what side they were on. I felt sorry for all the Arabs in our community and the Iranians- who some called Arab- (but they aren’t) too- because so many people didn’t understand who to be mad at. So many people don’t know the difference between Afghanis, Iraqi, Iranians, - the same people don’t know the difference between Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. It’s not that difficult really. It’s okay to ask too- “Where are you from? “ It probably would not hurt to try to understand different cultures. I’m from San Francisco- so different cultures are all I have ever known. I find them fascinating- I love accents and different food. I like to read about different cultures and customs. I think the knowledge makes me a better person- I hope so.
It’s not so hard to believe that all sane people want to be safe- they want their kids to have food and shelter and medication when they are sick. They would like to know there is a next meal and where it is coming from. They would like water that won’t kill them and heat that will not blow their homes up. And how about some plumbing? That would be high on my list.
I live in Charlotte NC now. I know an Eastern Indian man with a southern accent. I can never get used to it- even though he is much easier to understand than many people with an Eastern Indian accent are. I get so wrapped up listening to his accent and trying to match it to his face, that I don’t hear what he is saying. I EXPECT him to sound how I expect him to sound.
Maybe a little understanding will help. Maybe less closed minds and more education can make a difference. Bad guys are everywhere- we don’t have to understand them...they are simple and stupid, but regular people are everywhere too and it could only benefit us to understand the good people of every nation.
Maybe part of our role in supporting our troops is to better understand – understand the Sunni, Hindu and Isalm, Afghani &; Iraqi. Maybe the answer is out there- but no one knows what it is because no one tries to understand. I’m going to try- I may never get there... but I am going to try.
This was written for my Marine Parents group.. but it sat unmoderated...but looked at- for many, many hours. Rather than try to explain this to someone who could not tell it was not a political statement... I chose to delete it and post it here instead.