Saturday, November 08, 2003

Iraqi Asks About My Christian Faith: Are Most Soldiers Godless? Iraqis Working With Razorwire Without Gloves

0240 08 November, 2003

“Thompson,” Ali asked as he helped me move my things to a newly refurbished room, “you believe in Jesus?” He saw my cross on the wall, and immediately looked curious.
‘Yes,’ I responded, sensing his curiosity and wondering why he should be so surprised. ‘Why?’ I asked.
“I ask soldier here what religion, and they all tell me no religion,” he confided, seeming a bit discouraged.
‘I know Ali,’ I said, wondering myself why everyone treated God with so much indifference. We both shook our heads.
Ali was fired last week from his job by Sergeant Darby. I could spend all day writing about Sergeant Darby. I’ll get into that later. Sergeant Darby replaced Sergeant Ramos as the Iraqi slave driver and has since ruled over his little kingdom without pity – firing here, belittling there. The problem is that Sergeant Darby is only in this position of dealing with Iraqis because he was fired from being a guard on a tower because he could never show up on time. So they put him in charge of Iraqis. They despise him.
I had to go help Sergeant Darby and his slaves put up a fence because they needed some extra help making sure no Iraqis killed Sergeant Darby while he made sure to extend our perimeter fence line into uncharted territory. I stood guard while they worked. I noticed they were handling razor wire without gloves, and getting pretty cut up in the process. They were walking around nursing cut fingers and slightly blood-stained rags.
‘Sgt, don’t you think they need some gloves?’ I asked, honestly concerned.
“I don’t give a damn about these people,” he said with a sweaty forehead – a perpetually sweaty forehead that seems to boil there on top of a ubiquitous red face – trembling and twitching. He looks like a mad man, insane, with brilliant, flashing blue eyes that seem to scream out for help. Something isn’t right.
‘Maybe we can find them some gloves or something,’ I pushed on.
“Sergeant Major said they can fucking work – and if they don’t like it, they can leave!”
‘Well, that’s not very Christian, now is it?’ I really felt this should be said, because it’s true. We’ve got so into practicing human nature, that we’ve lost sight of our most basic Christian values. I don’t mean to sound like a preacher, but making those Iraqis choose between razor wire cuts and getting fired was a bit much. And Darby was firing people left and right. The Iraqis hated him for it. After I appealed to his moral or compassionate side for understanding by mentioning Christ – he acted like he got a glass of cold water thrown in his face. He calmed down, changed gears, and immediately said,
“Yeah, you’re right. It’s Sergeant Major. They can use cloth instead.”
We walked around and gathered some cardboard and rags to use in handling the wire. The Iraqis were actually thankful for it. We actually found a sound solution!
I gave some of your old pencil cases to the Iraqi kids. You’re the best Nora! Wow, who’d imagine that your pencil cases would make it to Iraq? Sergeant Darby is an ongoing story, with more to come later. It’s just a shame he can fire people on a whim and cut off such a vital source of income. He’s crazy, and driving down the morale of the slaves. I’m sure there are a lot of Sergeant Darbys in Iraq – unfortunately.
Over the past few days, a lot has happened. 16 killed in a chopper downing, M1A1 main battle tank destroyed, my birthday, another chopper downing, many dead, and Jessica Lynch’s revelation that she’s not a hero. We’ll see what our society does with her.


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