Learning from Reyam
By MONICA BENDERMAN
(Monica Benderman is the wife of Sgt. Kevin Benderman, a ten-year Army veteran who served a combat tour in Iraq and a year in prison for his public protest of war and the destruction it causes to civilians and to American military personnel)
"Reyam is fourteen years old. Her name means “white gazelles”. She’s a beautiful girl who loves to draw and chat with her friends. She’s bright, and works hard on her lessons. It’s three in the morning in Georgia, and the computer monitor and two candles cast the only light in the room as Reyam and I chat on the internet. She hopes she does well on her test in school. She would love to have a puppy, and her instant message icon changes weekly to fit the current teenage trends.
The miracle of technology, Reyam is teaching me Arabic using microphones, instant messages and something I’m still getting used to called an IMvironment. Reyam is in Baghdad. She “buzzes” my computer and I hear her talking – she is gentle, intelligent and caring, her parents should be proud. She tells me she hears bombings and it makes her scared. She tells me she sometimes wants to hide under her bed and she thinks she might cry. She tells me she tries so hard not to cry. She doesn’t want to cry, “I am an Iraqi, and I must be brave.”
Her generator loses power and our connection is ended for the night.
In Iraq, the United States military is “surging” to strengthen the security of a country whose borders had once been secure, now decimated from an invasion by the United States military. Some people in the United States actually still believe our soldiers are over there fighting for our freedom. Thousands of Iraqis become refugees from their homeland every day. Thousands more have died in the four years this fiasco has continued on. This is for freedom? ......"