Haroon Moghul: 10 Years Later -- An American Muslim Looks Back at Iraq

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tags: Iraq, anniversaries, Religion Dispatches, Iraq War, Haroon Moghul

RD Senior Correspondent Haroon Moghul is a Fellow both at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law and with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Haroon is completing his doctorate at Columbia University and is the author of The Order of Light (Penguin, 2006). He's been a guest on CNN, BBC, The History Channel, NPR, Russia Today and al-Jazeera.

I didn’t want to write on the occasion of the Iraq War’s tenth anniversary. So much has been written, and so much of it dully offensive, structurally racist, or profoundly heartless, that I thought it better to skip the subject altogether. What, really, could I say to capture how we should feel? But the woman who commands my building’s front desk in the late night hours is Iraqi.

I found this out when, a few days ago, she helped me with the freight elevator. Some folks were buying furniture from me, and while we waited, we started talking. Five years ago, if I remember right, she came to this country. I could not imagine what it would feel like for an Iraqi to find refuge in America, and I wasn’t about to unleash those feelings with a silly, ill-timed question.

The introvert finds refuge in his words. But the emotions he cannot speak he sends out to far more people than would hear him otherwise. Domino effects. When I got back to my building yesterday after spending the evening at a bookstore, writing, trying to forget the war’s exact tenth anniversary, there she was as she should be, on her shift. A casual salam, an inquiry after her day, and she passed on the package waiting for me. David Rohde’s Beyond War. David Rohde, who’d reported on the massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica, advising America to think beyond war when it came to the Middle East...

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