Sam - Hammorabi blogger
asked me in an e-mail why I didn't talk about the Iraqis who haven't seen their mothers for many years.
I explained to him that I needed to spread the story of the American mother
first before I got to family matters. Still, Mrs. Schulz (the mother in the story) is a woman who could've simply hated everything related to Iraq, instead she's helping make a difference in her own way. I also needed any readers from the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) area to try to contribute to her project. My household did and that's the least we could do for her. We are sending many small toys for the soldiers to give to Iraqi children. The deadline to help is Monday, November 24, 2003.
What's a "typical Iraqi family"? Let's talk about my family, which I call "The United Nations." My dad and mom both hold American green cards and live in America since last year. My oldest sister holds Irish and British citizenships and lives in England for the last 20 years or so. She left Iraq when I was only 11 years old. My oldest brother holds Canadian citizenship and lives in Canada. My younger brother holds Australian citizenship and lives in Australia. My youngest brother holds American citizenship and lives in America. My younger sister holds the American citizenship and lives in America. My youngest sister still lives in Iraq and is waiting on her visa to join my parents in America.
Then, there's me. I'm an Australian and live in America.
Would that give you an idea why I call my family "The United Nations"?
If anyone told me or any of my siblings 30 years ago that these would be our destinations, we would've just laughed. We loved our native country as any other Iraqi. But, we chose to leave our homes in Iraq and just wander wherever the winds would take us.
Why? One word: Security.
I got tired of war. I suffered it since I was 15. I reached age of 28 and decided I had enough. There was no point of staying in a country with a ruler whose favorite game was "WAR."
Thunderstorms still scare me and remind me of war. Each time I hear them, I think it's a bomb. Actually, I'm better than my Lebanese friend who once had to hide under the kitchen's sink during a bad thunderstorm in Sydney, Australia. She lived in Beirut during Lebanese Civil War (1975-1991).
This is what I mean by my family being a "typical Iraqi family." All my Iraqi friends have families like mine. Actually every Iraqi I know has a family like mine.
What does this family fragmentation bring? I visited my sister in England a few years ago after not seeing her for more than 18 years. We felt like two strangers who never knew each other before. My life went a different way than her life. She never experienced the Iraqi war so she couldn't understand some of other family members' actions. If she just experienced Desert Storm in 1991 she would understand more.
My family never got to experience a Christmas or Easter together for many years (sometimes, I think it was my parents fault to have this many kids, but they were doing their Catholic duties like Mel Gibson does). I don't think we will ever experience a holiday as a whole family again.
It's worse when a few of us get to meet at one time. You would easily notice the influence of our current country of citizenship. We simply can't help it. Each of us became a person of his/her new country.
One thing I learned since I left my native country was to be less emotional. Australia helped me with this matter as people there are less emotional than Americans. It may not be wise to become this way, but when you must leave behind lots of memories, friends and family members each time you change countries, then you need to become less emotional. I don't recommend it, and I don't wish it upon anyone, but it helped me a lot.
Still there are many times where I had to cry because I miss a dear friend, my nieces or sweet 8-year-old nephew, who was inspired by the heroic actions of the New York firefighters on 9/11 to dress as a firefighter for the last two Halloweens. Then I stop and go on with my life.
The Iraqis born since 1950 were born into a sad life. As Fayrouz, the Diva (not me), says in her song "Ana sar lazim wada'kum" (I have to say goodbye to you). Each time I hear the song, it brings all the emotions I have to hide about how much I miss my years and friends in Iraq.
Labels: Family, Iraqi Bloggers