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Reality in Baghdad
Sunday, 17 June 2007 03:39
by Dal LaMagna

Going into a war zone for the first time is seldom what one expects, I imagine. I'm not quite sure what I had envisioned, but the reality of what I have found has impacted me strongly.
The mortar attacks; the terribly oppressive heat that stifles; the inability to move without armored vehicles and security; the lack of food; the "duck and cover" cement mini-tunnels; the erratic electricity and water; the preponderance of checkpoints; the cement barriers; the never-ending crises and constant work of those to solve them; and the guns, rifles, helmets and flak jackets that are everywhere is sobering, to say the least.
Mohammed and I have been fortunate to meet with several people at the U.S. Embassy as well as with other Iraqis. From those meetings I have gained new perspectives and a new insight into what it means to be courageous and "do."
I've been spending a great deal of time transcribing the tapes of those meetings and thinking about them. I expect to be back in the states on Tuesday, when it will be easier to begin sharing the content of the meetings in the hopes that solutions that work for all can be found to end the violence here.

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