Wednesday, August 18, 2010

an officer and a gentleman, my nephew

al Faw Palace at sunset ~ Baghdad, August 8, 2010

Photo above and quote below by Lt. Col. Ron Makela
At times this place is really bad: dirty, devastated, unbearably hot, unfriendly, etc. yet...  I find what we are doing as really relevant and necessary. I tell Soldiers often to really look at all of the Iraqi people they see each time we are out in Baghdad, and remember that the extremely-vast majority of them just want better for their families ..that less than .01% are insurgent/terrorists acting against us. This doesn't mean that we let down our guard or be less vigilant in our efforts, but it does mean that we have to guard our thoughts and attitudes against becoming resentful toward the more than 99.99% of this population.

My nephew arrived in Iraq last month as part of the advisory and training operation replacing the formal U.S. combat mission (occurring officially on August 31). He will be there for a full year and heaven knows what that year will entail. I have this amazing family with members who love one another unconditionally. We cover the spectrum of political and religious views. Some of us have not seen one another for years, and some of us have yet to meet personally. But over that chasm of wide differences, around the corners of time and beyond the boundaries of space we wink and laugh about those things that separate us and always, always, always close space and time within the parentheses of love. Boundless love I send to you in Baghdad, Ron, and thank you for allowing me to share your beautiful image and splendid thoughts with Writerquake readers.


The last full U.S. combat brigade left Iraq two weeks early on August 18. A good account of it may be read here at Voice of America.



Rhiannon said...

I really just love your new blog template header. Is that you in the photo? It kind of looks like you..and your in a cracked "quakey" kind of desert place with pen and paper in hand. How perfectly appropriate for an interpretation can this be for your blog? Perfecto!

Wishes for your nephew to be safe while he is in Iraq. We've just got to end the other war's beyond our capability to make a difference anymore in Afghanistan anymore...we must let the middle east just do what they've been doing since the end of time...fight over their religions and for us to stop using them to manipulate because of our self absorbed need for oil from them.

Time to move on and make some "real changes"...Hope Obama soon gets this...maybe come election time not sure..but then the party of "no" and with nothing else up to offer or any plan, other than trying to win by manipulating people, by anger and lies..well whatever...

Still believe peace will come in our lifetime.

Love, Rhi

Owen said...

The world is watching on the edge of our seats to see what will happen once the Americans leave. Large bombs still going off regularly. Doesn't look like much has really changed there ? Except for more blood in the sand than ten years ago, more refugees. More graves than before.

Absolutely love your new header image ! Gorgeous... would love to know what treatment was applied...

M Riyadh Sharif said...

I wish your nephew will be able to do his job smoothly in Baghdad.

And hey Aunt... Nice Blog Header photo! Is this you there? What is this place?

Indigo said...

Your nephew is commendable for searching and finding beauty among what so many think detestable. When it comes to war I always remember the saying - "An eye for an eye, will make the whole world blind." We really can't afford to be blind to the fate of others. (Hugs)Indigo

~ Tabitha ~ said...

* What Indigo said *


Lydia said...

Rhi~ I thought this post would bring some interesting thoughts and opinions, and yours proves it.

Thrilled you like the new header. I thought about using this picture for quite some time. It is me 16 summers ago (camera on self-timer), on one of my solo trips to Steens Mountain/Alvord Desert in SE Oregon. My favorite place. One of my past posts about the Steens Mountain/Alvord Desert area is I have entered into the desert.

Owen~ I was listening to an NPR report while driving my dog to the vet this morning in which the interviewee (some military official, but didn't get the name) said he truly believes the Iraqi army is ready to assume its duty and place in history. While I doubt it I so hope he is correct.

Thanks so much for your comments about the new blog header. (See my reply also to Rhi above.) I wanted to use this image here for the longest time, and the other night I felt restless so began fiddling with it and got what I envisioned. I used Nero PhotoSnap's Solarize function, tweaking the "threshold" until I had what I wanted.

Riyadh~ (In case others wonder: Riyadh and I call one another nephew and aunt because of the close bond we have formed via blogging.)
I appreciate your good wishes for Ron. Thank you for pointing out that it is a job, because he is making sacrifices to be there. With teenagers to raise, his wife will have all the responsibility for a full year.

Yes, it's me in the photo - for more info see my comments to Rhi above. :)

Indigo~ Beautiful comments about Ron; thank you. You are so right that we must not be blind to the fate of others, and not only regarding war. The ravages of the flooding in Pakistan are horrendous and should be of concern to the whole world. With so much despair I think we can forgive ourselves for feeling some numbness at times. But one act of kindness really can make a difference, I think. xo

Lydia said...

Tabitha~ Your comment sneaked in here while I was replying to the others! Thanks much for being here. xo

kj said...

hello you gorgeous pensive woman! (great header,lydia)

your writing is so elegant in this post. the bonds within your family are so lovely. my favorite is that you all 'wink and laugh'.

my best wishes to ron. his wisdom shines through.

love to you, lydia,

Lydia said...

kj~ What a sweet message; thank you so much! Ron wrote to me that I was "spot on" about our family so nice to know it isn't my imagination. :)
love to you too.

Rhiannon said...

Saw and read "I have entered into the desert" and the poet writings from the poet and the just beyond beautiful photos were just spell bounding Lydia. I loved reading and looking at all the photos.

As a child growing up in Los Angeles we went camping a lot into the desert, Death valley, etc.. I would love to just walk away from the campsite and go off on my own..and feel that essence of such peacfulness and yes I actually felt safe and at peace there. My time alone with my soul was so good for me then.

I've even rode our Honda motorcycle in my bikini with boots and a motorcycle's that for some weird vision? Looking at all the photos taken and what I read brought back such wonderful memories..of the aloneness and at one with nature. I would love that now..maybe one day.

Thanks again Lydia for sharing this with us...wonderful...sigh.



francessa said...

Hi Lydia,

LOVE that header! Great photo!

Thanks for sharing your nephew's story. I wish him the best of luck for this assignment and a successful stay.

Looking to the Stars said...

what a beautiful photo. I am thankful that Obama has gotten us out of the war in Iraq, sorry we have to keep some of our people (your nephew) there a while longer. May peace be his journey :)

What a lovely family you have, you are indeed fortunate :)

Lydia said...

Rhi~ I am pleased you enjoyed your tour of the desert in that post.
Also, was so fun reading about your memories of your childhood at Death Valley and then your bikini-days too! What good times . . .

francessa~ Thanks for appreciating the new header. :)
Thank you so much for your solid wishes for Ron...much appreciated.

Looking to the Stars~ I really am fortunate to have the family I do, and I certainly wish that I lived closer to any of them. We are spread out all over the country, and another nephew, Ron's brother, even lives in South Korea.

If we thought war in Iraq was tough, the logistics of war in Afghanistan seem nearly impossible to me, especially since it was on hold during the Bush years with our resources going to Iraq...
Too depressing; that's as much as I can think about it today!



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