The closest I ever came to Iraq was a big blue road sign where the highway split. It was in Saudi Arabia, with sand and dunes stretching out in every direction. The sign said, Ar'ar, Iraq, Kuwait, with an arrow pointing to the right.
Website photo link
This was before the Iraq war started, when George Bush started beating the war drum and scaring Americans with what proved to be false threats about Iraq's WMD.
It seems almost every day now that I read another story about a bombing, a terror attack on a mosque, a mass murder site discovery. You get desensitised to it. Like it's just another day in Iraq. Yet if anything like this happened in almost any other country, there would be ripples of shock and horror throughout the world. The one incident would take up weeks, if not months of headlines. But in Iraq, it's just the news of the hour.
Baghdad bomb hits shopping area
Blast hits Baghdad football game.
Gunmen kidnap 25 in Baghdad.
Day after day, there are spectacular terrorist attacks.
Yesterday, I found out that a friend of mine, a young, recently graduated student and aspiring diplomat, has been told his first placement is going to be in Baghdad. "A challenging and important diplomatic mission which could have repurcussions for years to come." Is how he put it.
I'm not quite sure what he's up against. To me, the terrorism seems inspired by nothing more than the intense desire to see America fail. Each time a bomb explodes in a packed market, officers are brutally executed or a mosque is targeted by grenade launchers, the country makes one step closer to anarchy. It's as though it's more important for these insurgents to turn Iraq into hell on earth than it is to see America withdraw with any sort of limited democratic achievement.
To my friend, it's going to be one tough road and I wish you the best of luck. Don't feel bad if you can't make headway in a situation spiralling into chaos. Don't try to make sense of it either, because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.