Riverbend is posting again

Riverbend and her family are OK. They are safe in Syria. She hadn’t posted since Sept. 6 and that was cause for concern. But now she is blogging again and I am feeling relieved.

Since the beginning of the Iraq invasion I have kept up with events from the perspective of ordinary Iraqis through the eyes of Riverbend, the girl blogger from Baghdad. When there has been a long period between posts I have worried for her safety and that of her family.

Her Oct. 22 post is about her new situation in Syria, living in an apartment in Damascus, amidst an ocean of Iraqi refugees who have fled their war-torn country in search of a safe haven. She muses about her status as a refugee, someone without permanent status and writes poignantly:

By the time we had reentered the Syrian border and were headed back to the cab ready to take us into Kameshli, I had resigned myself to the fact that we were refugees. I read about refugees on the Internet daily… in the newspapers… hear about them on TV. I hear about the estimated 1.5 million plus Iraqi refugees in Syria and shake my head, never really considering myself or my family as one of them. After all, refugees are people who sleep in tents and have no potable water or plumbing, right? Refugees carry their belongings in bags instead of suitcases and they don’t have cell phones or Internet access, right? Grasping my passport in my hand like my life depended on it, with two extra months in Syria stamped inside, it hit me how wrong I was. We were all refugees. I was suddenly a number. No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn’t really welcome in any country- including their own… especially their own.

As she says, there is are at least 1.5 million Iraqis displaced within Iraq or outside the country, usually in neighboring countries like Syria or Jordan. This is one of the stories that the U.S. media does not cover — the disrupted lives of ordinary Iraqis who literally can’t go home again. And there is no end in sight to this refugee status. The U.S. State Department is not helping the situation, issuing a tightly limited number of visas to Iraqis who apply.

But even as she adjusts to her new status as a refugee, Riverbend finds bittersweet comfort in the company of other Iraqis:

I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.

More about Riverbend can be found at the Baghdad Burning blog: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_riverbendblog_archive.html

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2 Comments on “Riverbend is posting again”

  1. Bokeverie Says:

    Hello
    I’ve just registered at the forum. This is my first message.
    Please don’t become angry about me.
    Thank you.

  2. Tabragattew Says:

    I am here at a forum newcomer. Until I read and deal with the forum.
    Let’s learn!


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