Basra to the South
We just met them. But there is an instant connection.
Laughing together, eating together, crying together… speaking the same language.
They have been in the South for a year now. A year.
And they arrived from Iraq.
An Armenian family living in Iraq.
To the South.
There is so much I could write I do not know where to begin. My heart is burdened for this family. Life here in this country is so different from what they are used to. From what they long for. And yet, they are thankful to be out of the war. Three wars.
They. Lived. Through. Three. Wars.
The violence, the rape, the fear, the cries of anguish invading their minds day and night. The sounds of bombs, guns, sirens… constantly.
My child is afraid of thunder.
The daughter tells us how one buys fish in Basra. ”You go to the market by the sea, you pick out the fish you want and then you sit together with the other women there who are waiting while the store keeper cooks your fish, along with all the other fish, in the fire pit… ah, the sweet aroma of the cooking fish fills the air and the sound of chatter…” she smiles longingly… ”I miss it so much! And the fish?! Ah, you have tasted nothing like it.”
I can just picture the atmosphere in my mind as she is talking. I can see the women gathering together, sharing news of the day, smiling, joking, connecting, living in community. Together. And I can smell the fish… ah, yes…
“Here,” she goes on to tell us, “Here, no one talks to you. Everyone jumps in their car and is off. And the fish tastes like cardboard.”
I tell them how I wrote a song about an Armenian girl whom I have called Narineh who went missing in Iraq.
They look at me stunned. ”You wrote a song based on a girl who went missing? Who was this girl?” I tell them her story. Her story had crushed my heart when I had first heard it.
“That incident crushed you? Ah, the stories we could tell you… if that crushed you, then the stories we have seen, we have lived through, what would those do to you….?” Their eyes fill with tears. I shudder. I know they have seen more violence and pain than I could ever imagine. I am weeping.
And they are here now. Safe. But still missing the only home they have ever known…
Posted in Living and Learning