Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What if there's more than one version?

What if ten buildings were bombed in New York, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Des Moines, Boston, and Ponte Vedra Beach every night at 10:30 PM? What if police officers invaded random houses across the nation on random nights, arrested all the men in the house, patted down all the women, and asked the children where the guns were hidden? What if we had electricity for fewer than eight hours per day, running water for three hours, and no idea when the outages would take place? What if foreign soldiers had control of every public building in our government centers and only a handful of Americans had access to those buildings?

What if resistance to their presence was punishable by arrest and indeterminate imprisonment? What if our citizens were tortured and abused by foreign soldiers? What if churches were bombed and Bibles were torn to bits? What if it were illegal to speak against the newly elected government? What if there were no forum for protesting against the elections themselves? How is it possible to tell the truth or hear the truth under those circumstances?

What if no one believed my version of the story? What if my description of life before the war, of life since the war began, and of the horror of trying to make a life under deplorable daily conditions were dismissed as fake, exaggerated, and as propaganda? What would my blog look like if those were the conditions under which I was writing?

A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog written by a 24 year old woman in Iraq. Reading it, I was horrified. Saddened. Outraged. Suspicious. Then I stopped myself and asked: why do I doubt the veracity of this blog any more than any other I've read? Are her accounts any less believeable than any others? What if she is telling the truth, a side of the story that CNN and ABC and Fox News cannot tell because none of their reporters is a 24 year old Iraqi womea? What if what we have heard here is only half of the story or only one third of the story?

Was Saddam Hussein a horrific leader? Absolutely. Should he have been removed from power? Absolutely. Did it have to cost Iraq the lives of more than 100,000 of its citizens? Did it have to cost America over 2,000 of its citizens? Will it cost tens of thousands more lives and tens of billions more dollars before it's over? Has it all been worth it? Are we safer now, is the world safer now --> because Saddam is no longer in control of Iraq?

I guess the answers to all these questions depend on who you ask. On whose version you believe. I am grateful to Moneesha for pointing me to a different version of the war stories. Check it out at Be mad. Be outraged. Be suspicious. I went through all of those emotions and more. But then take a moment and consider: what if all that she describes is true? What if everything she describes happened here in the United States? How then would we live?

To that courageous young woman in Baghdad, I wish all God's blessings. I wish you safety. I wish you peace.

I will continue to pray for peace, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not only in London, Madrid and New York.
Not only in Congo, Sudan, South Africa, and Rwanda.
Not only in Pakistan, India, and Thailand.
Not only in Canada, Bolivia, and the United States.
I will pray for peace in every nation,
in every city,
in every home,
and in every heart
all over our weary, fearful, desperately needy world.

Grace and peace, Gail

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