Sophia's Peace Work

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"I hate Iraq"

"Excuse me, can you tell me where the exit is?" the teenage boy asked me. We were in the park where I go to run at night and I pointed him in the right direction knowing full well that his questions was simply a ruse to initiate a conversation with me.

Soon he was sitting on the cement park bench next to me. Ah, well, I had intended to sit quietly for a few minutes to let my heart settle down after a 30 minute run in the park, but that was not to be.

Rasheed was rather atypical in that his English was excellent but sadly rather par for the course when he told me within a minute of sitting down how much he hated Iraq. I asked him why repeatedly and the best answer I could get out of him was that at his age (18) in American, he would already have a girl friend but that wasn't possible for him in Iraq.

Ah teenage angst. I've seen that here before, even the older men suffer from it.

Where does the problem lie, I asked him. In the girls, he told me. They refuse to have relationships with the boys (from what I've seen about how the boys behave, I really can't say that I blame the girls that much ... they risk a lot more than the boys do in taking on an Iraqi boyfriend).

I informed him that going to America might not solve all his problems. But he insisted that everything in America was better and that even the country was more beautiful. I tried to convince him that I had seen a lot of Iraqi Kurdistan and that there are places here of equal beauty but he would hear none of it.

Like nearly every other young Iraqi I've met, he was just bidding his time until he could leave.


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