Thursday, 4 August 2011

Another May

I met her in Amman, on a warm day late in the summer, in an intimidatingly smart hotel foyer, we chatted for a while, and I nervously handed her the most valuable papers I had been able to lay my hands on in twelve years.
She was on route to Baghdad, and promised to pass them on.

When do you plan to return? She asked
When the babies are a little older I replied confidently.
Looking back I think I had started to doubt my own words, the dreams of returning were becoming blurred, the timing had already slipped twice.

They were planning some sort of documentary, and she showed me the manuscript of the interview, I jotted down the address, yes of course I would look it up, and yes next February sounded like a possibility, if all went well we would meet at the house on the river.

I thought my Internet addiction was recent, but remembering that day, I did not wait to return home and check, I paid for 30 minutes of connection at Safeway’s and downloaded the piece she had published in May 2003.

The final words, spoken by my grandmother
"People here have pride, don’t step on our pride."

And those of my father
'We may have lost, but now we will see Iraq changed into a modern country. Now there is a chance.'

As I read those words today I wonder about the survival instincts, was it naivety or denial that protected us from seeing what had really happened.


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