On Tuesday I happened to meet an acquaintance of mine that I know is of Iraqi descent. 'Planning your trip to the old country?' I asked him jokingly. It's a popular amusement around here lately, outlining imaginary trips to Iraq. No one takes it very seriously. He remarked that he'd mentioned the idea of going back for a visit to his mother and she had been horrified by the idea. She said she could never forget or forgive the horrors of the Farhud, the massacre of Baghdadi Jews by their Arab neighbors in 1941. Even the thought of going back to that country was too appalling for her. She had memories, still fresh, of little boys having their legs chopped off and grown men having their heads cut off. No, she didn't feel very nostalgic about Iraq. In fact she had no wish to visit any Arab country. She had no problem with Greece and Cyprus though and enjoyed her trips to those countries. The air stewards were so nice, she said. The flight from Iraq all those years ago had been far less pleasant. The women had been seated at the front of the plane and the men had been seated at the back. My acquaintance's father had his little daughter on his lap. Just before take off an Iraqi army officer got on the plane and proceeded to savagely beat up all the men in the back of the plane, including the father of my acquaintance, regardless of the little girl on his lap. The air staff was powerless. No, she had no wish to go back there.
Thursday, April 17, 2003