Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Heartfelt Words

The words below were written by Robin - a US citizen I met in Amman in early 2008. Robin was introduced to me by a mutual Iraqi friend who kept insisting that I must meet her friend, "an American married to an Iraqi". When I finally met Robin and her husband, I fell in love with them both and they have become my dear "brother" and "sister".

Robin has a unique perspective on this crisis. She married Omar - an Iraqi refugee without legal status in Jordan - in fall of 2007. Robin lived with her husband, immersed in the refugee community as a part of it. She was not a member of the NGO community but only a woman who happened to find love with a man who happened to be Iraqi and a refugee.

Robin wrote the letter below to send out to her friends and family when she forwarded our recent UPDATE (read it below Robin's words) to them.

I am often brought to tears when I visit families and hear first-hand their horrifying stories but I rarely cry any longer over the general situation for Iraqi refugees. Robin's letter brought tears to my eyes. I am sharing it with you now because I hope you will hear her heartfelt words and take them to your own heart. Robin understands - better than most people can - the pain of Iraqi refugees and how CRP responds to it.

Robin lives in Louisiana (thus her references to 'Cajuns') now as she had to return to the USA to care for her elderly mother. Omar waits in Amman - with no more rights than any other refugee there - for his visa to join his wife. Myriad complications in this process have kept this loving couple apart for close to a year and they are still uncertain when they can be together again.

From Robin - with her permission:

Hello dear friends and family,

This is the project that I was telling you all about. Sasha is a dear friend I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know while I lived in Jordan. I have seen, and lived, what this project is all about. They truly bring hope to a situation that is very desperate.

Iraqi people are just like us Cajuns...open hearts, open doors, and will give you the last crumb off the table before eating it themselves, even if they are starving. They love with all of their hearts and are so passionate and unabashed about it. They considered me their sister wherever I went...and they MEANT it.

To read that their passion is dying out...being drained because of the conditions they live in, breaks my heart. Their 'joie de vive' or joy for life was all they had left and now that is being taken away too? These are innocent victims of a war they did not ask for. For those of you who think Iraq had any part in 9/11, you're wrong. Research it, learn about it, but please do not make assumptions simply because you do not understand a culture that is different or a religion that is not your own. Islam, TRUE Islam, teaches peace and love for all....don't let the radicals turn your hearts against them all. We, as Christians, should know better than to judge..only God can do that. Unfortunately, all too often, that is exactly what we do because of the fanatacism and stupidity of a few....and I speak of this from both sides.

More than anyone, Cajuns should understand how important culture is and appreciate the differences. I ask you all to please take a look at this project and find it in your hearts to help feed starving families, clothe children, and bring hope back to a people and culture even richer than our own. Help the Collateral Repair Project repair some of the damage that we Americans have helped to inflict on these innocent people. I know that times are hard, but they are even harder for them. ANYTHING helps. If nothing else, just read the letter and visit the website and share this story with as many people as you can.

Yes, their religion is different. Yes, their culture is different. BUT THEIR HEARTS ARE THE SAME AS OURS. Believe me when I say this..I have lived it...and I am married to a beautiful Iraqi man whose love and devotion to God and me have changed my life forever.

Thank you to those who took the time to read this. It is my sincere hope as fellow Americans, Christians, Cajuns and humans.. that you pass this message on.

Robin Kilgore Kamil