I was once in the airport when a soldier came through in the army’s full dress uniform with a container slightly smaller than a shoe box although it was made of a material that was much more dense than cardboard.
He told the security screeners that he could not put the box through the x-ray machine and that he had a letter stating the reason. Ok, we thought he was carrying some classified documents, which also do not go through the x-ray but no he carried something or should I say someone much more important than that.
That soldier in dress uniform was carrying the remains of a fallen soldier fresh from Iraq on his way home, I guess to either his parents or to his wife and family. One of the other screeners, a former army vet himself was visibly shaken and had to be relieved from his post because he needed a few moments to regain control of his emotions.
I remember feeling very awkward and strange at the moment thinking about the life that has perished most probably in a very horrific manner with the force of an IED (improvised explosive device) tearing apart the soft flesh and bone of his body. I thought about the massive loss of blood that must have occurred and the steps the doctors and soldiers must have taken to do what they could if anything to save his life.
The army vet screener got choked up and said he couldn’t believe that a person, a human being, healthy and fit had signed up for the service, gone over to Iraq as a full man with arms and legs, and now he had returned, service obligation complete, and in a box so small that you would think it contained a toy or a gift and many books would not be able to fit into it. What does the family do with that box, I wondered. Do they put the remains in a coffin to be buried or do they cremate them?
Scores of countless Iraqis are killed everyday also in the most horrific of circumstances. If you have ever washed a body that has been disfigured through trauma or burns you know the difficulty in trying to prepare them for the funeral prayer. My story here. So how is it everyday for the washers of the bodies in Iraq? The story of such a man here.
One rainy blustery day, I was at a gas station filling up my gas tank when a I caught glimpse of a funeral procession motorcade coming down the street heading to the Catholic cemetery just up the road. I didn’t know what to do in order to properly pay my respects as they passed since I was already standing up holding the fuel nozzle. But as they came closer I stood up a bit straighter, attention-like, and stopped pumping the gas into my car until the motorcade had passed.
…Bukhari narrated from Jabir that when a funeral procession carrying the bier of the deceased passed by the Prophet—may God bless him and grant him peace—he stood for it (out of respect). They said to him, “O Messenger of God, it is a Jewish funeral,” to which he replied: “Is it not a soul.”
From Adilah, we can see some of the material costs of the war in Iraq per day both domestically and abroad.
One day in Iraq is equivalent to half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country of East Timor.
One day in Iraq could feed all of the starving children in the world today almost four and a half times over.
One day in Iraq could vaccinate three‑quarters of the children in Africa for measles and give millions a lifetime protection from the disease.
One day in Iraq could build 5,571 AIDS clinics in Africa.
One day in Iraq could provide 650,000 women in Africa living with HIV/AIDS anti-retroviral treatment for one year to extend their lives and improve the lives of their children.
One day in Iraq could provide one third of the aid needed for earthquake relief for the four million people affected in South Asia.
If you have a Mac, there is a widget that continually tallies up the cost of the war in Iraq in US dollars. Download here.
And on a lighter side note: Today, my chia pet widget died of dehydration due to inattentive watering on my part however my jade bonsai Kalimatan Tayyibah is thriving despite the downturn in the weather here. I guess I’ve been distracted with the happenings in the world and my thoughts.
In sha Allah, don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour tomorrow.