I am Christian Assyrian who was born in the city of Basrah, Iraq in 1976. I become an eye witness testimony to three wars in my life, so far. The war between Iraq and Iran started in 1980 and lasted eight years until 1988. The city was repeatedly bombed by Iran.
The Persian Gulf war (2 August 1990 -28 Feb 1991), was triggered by the invasion of Saddam’s forces of Kuwait. During that time, a war was waged by and led by United States against Iraq in response to the Iraq’s invasion. I witnessed that war. I still remember the sound of combat planes over Basrah. I still remember and saw how missiles launched from planes and hit their target. I still remember the low altitude Cruise missile hitting targets in Basrah. While I was witnessing the war and seeing the flying Apache and Black Hawk helicopters from the ground of Basrah and being considered an enemy, I had no idea what was in store of time for me in my future.
The universe works in a mysterious ways. After 15 years, on March 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom started. In August 2005, I decided to go to Iraq as an interpreter for the U.S. Army. I was embedded in the very Army that invaded my previous country. I will be translating to the same Army; I was riding the same Black Hawk helicopters used to attack us. I was having discussion and eating lunch and dinner with the same U.S. Army colonels who became Generals who commanded the previous war. We were exchanging our memories from two different positions, while this time; we are sharing the same memories.
What a strange life!… Life will always move on, but history always repeats itself.
What is yours? Comments are welcome 🙂
What is it like hearing “their side of the story”? How do you think this has influenced you in a business world?
As an assyrian as well, I find it hard to cope with their attacks on our mother land. What was going through your mind when you had the opportunity to talk to them about your experience?
I’ve never been in a war situation like yours, and I can’t say about what you have witnessed and experienced. Although I felt the same feeling you described as I was reading your article, and I will not ask you what they said, however, I will ask you this “what made you decide to go back, and why?” The reason behind my question is based on your description of events and your feelings.