I don’t know if it is possible for you to relate to me as a compatriot, I could relate to every word written by Violette, (God bless her soul), I felt I was sitting with my bibi (grandmother) putting my head on her lap as she was stroking my head, (It’s what Iraqi grandmothers usually do).
I was born in 1979, so you can tell I’m the generation that had been spoonfed the distorted history of Iraq. If I were the minister of education I would include Memoirs of Eden in the syllabus, all Iraqi youngsters should know their history and should learn how to say sorry for the horrible acts our ancestors did.
I only came to realize the sordid history of Iraq when Saddam Hussein decided to invade Kuwait. The adults in the family were too scared to tell a young girl who might put them in trouble that this was not the first time Iraq has been involved in acts of looting, rape, arson, to name but a few. I wanted to trace the roots of our problem and I thought I wanted to start with the first victims, or at least the recorded accidents. I’d rather not label or associate myself to any religion, but I remember when my grandmother refused to buy any jewelry after the Farhud because she said she cannot trust any goldsmith , because it is not easy to find anyone as honest as her Jewish jeweler and she remembered with disgust when a neighbor sought refuge in their home and there was no man at home at the time and it was her mother who stood up to the thugs and threatened to shoot anyone who laid a finger on him.
I am afraid I cannot be proud of being Iraqi as they used to teach us in school, but I must say I am very proud of your family and Violette is one of the people I wish I could have meet in this life.
All the best