A salutation from Baghdad. Since nothing important happened today, I decided to talk about some things that happen in Iraq. Many things have changed here since the war. People in other countries watch the news on T.V. but they can never know how is it to live in such circumstances. It’s not easy for a girl as well as a guy to live in a war zone. This war zone forced many things on me. As a young girl, I want to enjoy my life, have a good job and go out with my friends any time I like. But all of this can’t happen because of the unstable condition and chaos that is going on here.
I like movies a lot, but I haven’t been to any movie theatre before! There were no appropriate movie theatres in Baghdad before the war, and now they are all closed. I, as any other Iraqi young person, prevented from the smallest way of joy in life.
The limitations which I or any other girl has are made because of the so many wars that took place in Iraq throughout the history. Every war changed something and took the country backward until the last war which almost destroyed the country.
I've been using the internet since 2002. I was just browsing the websites by that time. Chat rooms, instant messengers were not allowed during Saddam's time. Even the access to the internet was very limited; E-mails were slow and also limited. When the war ended, the first thing I did is that I got an internet connection at home. It was a Dial-up connection which was slow, but I was so happy with it. I started to get to chat rooms and talk to people from around the world. I remember that my first time I ever chat with someone on the net was on iraq.net with a guy named Jamal (that was his name or nickname). And I was like "Oh my God, there is someone talking with me here!!"
On the same website, I once got a private message from someone asking if I could speak or understand English in order to have some chat. I replied with "yes". It was the first time I ever talk with an American person. This person was an American mom who had a son in Iraq at that time, October 2003. We kept emailing each other for some time, and she asked me about so many things about life and people in Iraq. Her son was here, so she was concerned. But, one day she said something that I really didn't like at all. She said that the American army was going to bring us food and education to Iraq!!! She didn't know that Iraq, and especially Baghdad was the land of knowledge and educators of the world! I tried to explain that to her. But then we reached to a dead end and she didn't email me anymore. I was mad at her at that time, but then I came to realize that it wasn't her fault when she said such thing and other things. She really doesn't know anything about my country, and this is not her fault. I guess it's somewhat the media's fault that only shows the bad things in my country.
Then on June 2004, I got to Oprah.com for the first time. I went directly to the message boards and wrote a short post introducing myself and asking if I was welcomed in that place. The women there were very nice and kind, and as I expected, they asked me so many questions about how is it to live in Iraq. One question was "why women are forced to cover their faces when they go out in Iraq?"... Well, I didn't know how to answer that question. THEY REALLY DON'T KNOW! So, I explained everything to them in details, and told them that this was never true. They saw Afghanistan, and they think that Iraq is exactly the same as Afghanistan where women are not allowed to show their faces in public or go to work or even is educated. The situation in Iraq is totally different from that in Afghanistan. Women can go to work, go out, go to universities and have education. They don't cover their faces here.
Other questions were like "Do you guys have cars in Iraq?", "How do you go to your jobs?", "Do you have cameras? Can you take some photos and send them?"… Yes sure!!!
But it was really fun to answer those questions.