Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas in Iraq

"In Baghdad I was in Catholic school from kindergarten until high school," remembers Nesreen Melek, in Iraqi exile living in Canada, saying, "It took me a few years after I attended the school to realize I was a Muslim and not a Christian" — Xmas in Baghdad. Some exerpts:
    I remember going to the small church we had at school, I was told that the Virgin Mary would listen to our prayers. I used to kneel in front of her statue and ask her for the impossible. I thought all the time that she acknowledged my presence and always looked at me with a loving smile. I kept wondering if she was hearing me or laughing at my nonsense. The smell of the old wooden pews is still in my nose. Wherever I travelled, I used to go to churches to light candles but the smell of the churches wasn’t the same. Is it because the smell of the earth in Iraq was different?

    [....]

    I wish I could be able to move the time backward so that I could sit on the floor of my old school’s church, look at the Virgin Mary’s face and speak to her again “You are a mother, how did you allow this to happen to the Iraqi children and why do they have to suffer from poverty, cancer, literacy and wars, Why .. Why?”

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