Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Message from Iraq

I got this e-mail the other day concerning my blog:


Pax,

Hello my name is Dean and I am a gay man working in Iraq. I just wanted to pass along that I thoroughly enjoy your musings and thoughts on Whatshisname and other friends in your life. I never thought Id be one to read someone elses daily diary, but somehow youve sucked me in and Ive spent the last several nights reading the archives. Currently I am in 2007 (finally)

Its hot here, average daily temps are in the mid teens 110 120 degrees. {but its a dry heat}

I too feel that this war was completely unwarranted and is a complete waste of our money. I travel around the country fixing broken things (networks and phone mostly) and Ive met several Iraqis. The ones that arent shooting at us are very polite and make quite an effort to make us comfortable. In my opinion the biggest problem here is lack of education and basic services that you and I take for granted (electricity, water, phone service). They get on average 3 - 4 hours of each per day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on terrorist attacks. The terrorists/insurgents make no difference between us (Americans and Locals). Kind of goes back to the education thing, they think their life has no value, and if they become a martyr supposedly the family will be paid 20k. That’s a very nice sum if you are a local. I dont know the answer to fix or stop this mess over here but I firmly believe nothing will change until the administration changes and I certainly hope they can help these people. One other quick point, which goes back to education, they need to want to help themselves. Some are starting to get that message but I fear that it is not enough at the moment to affect any change.

Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that you have fans worldwide.

Dean

Kirkuk, Iraq

***

Pleased that I had at least one reader from such a far-flung part of the globe, I almost missed the fact that here is a self-identified gay man, working in one of the most hostile lands trying to bring some positive change. It made me proud to be a gay man, knowing that I have brothers willing to do jobs that most of us (gay or straight) would run from rather than tackle.

Later on I emailed Dean back and asked him if I could print his letter, and he agreed. I also asked if he could send some pictures, and he obliged with the following:


click on any picture to see it better (Dean's descriptions for each photo follows):
local protest in Kirkuk. Actually they are not protesting the US, it’s a regional thing.
2 children receiving backpacks. People from the US have been sending school supplies and we do our best to get it out to the kids. We have help from some of the locals that actually work with us, they do the coordinating and we provide the goods and help deliver.
new housing going up. Mostly for local oil workers (it’s near the refinery) the houses are nearly the same, sometimes the upstairs is on the left, other times it’s on the right. Zoning laws or any sort of regulation regarding building is non-existent.
***

There you have it: words and pictures from someone half-way around the globe repairing a country that we have torn apart, risking life and limb... bravo Dean. Well done!


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