Monday, October 15, 2012

My Left Foot

For the last 3 weeks, I've been walking around with an air cast to protect my broken left foot.  When I wear the air cast, my foot rarely hurts, even when I walk many miles.  I even did a short mountain hike with it.  I walk a little awkwardly and a little more slowly, but my fellow delegates have been patient, understanding, and kind to me.  Actually, everyone I've encountered has been patient, understanding, and kind to me when it comes to my left foot.

I had considered not going to the doctor about it because I don't have insurance.  Given my travel plans, I decided it would be best to pay whatever it might cost to see him.  If I hadn't had the money to do so, I know I have people I could have asked to help me pay for a doctor visit. From the time I injured my foot until now, many people have shown love and care towards me and my obvious injury.

A few days ago, our CPT delegation visited Sunnah, a village in Iraqi Kurdistan.  Sunnah is a beautiful mountain village near enough to the Iranian border that one can see two Iranian military camps high on a mountain ridge above.  Iranian rockets have been launched from those camps right into villages like Sunnah.  Bombings often happen in the summer, forcing villagers to leave their homes, their animals, their agricultural lands, their lives, behind. When there seem to be lulls in the bombing, villagers may make trips back to their homes long enough to get supplies or tend to their animals or crops. Sometimes such trips are possible; sometimes they're not.

During the summer of 2011, Sunnah experienced heavy shelling over several months.  In our visit to the village a few days ago, we saw where a shell had gone through a family's roof.  We heard stories of the injured persons.  Six women were hurt. They weren't bleeding much, so they didn't tell anyone.

One woman had returned to her house to get blankets.  A bomb fell in her house. She got out of the house before the bomb detonated.  If she'd been in the house, she would have died.  Instead, she narrowly escaped, injuring only her shoulder.  She didn't tell anyone.  She got no medical care.  As we listened to this story, we heard the question, "Who would she tell?  No one would care."

No one would care.  No one cares.  These are words we have heard repeatedly while we've been in Iraqi Kurdistan.  "Tell our stories. No one listens to us.  Maybe if you talk, they will listen to you."

Maybe if we share their stories, someone will care.  Maybe someone will care about the woman who injured her shoulder or the one whose arm is now disfigured.  Maybe someone will care about the children of Sunnah whose daily reality is fear of bombs being dropped on their homes, a fear that persists even now when over a year has passed since the last bombings.  Maybe if I tell these stories, someone will be as attentive to the stories, the realities, the lives of the Kurdish people as so many people have been to my left foot.  

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