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Friday, August 25, 2006

The Jill Caroll Story

I've been reading about Jill Carroll during my downtime at work, and I'm quite moved by the story.

For all who don't know, Jill Carroll is an American freelance reporter who was working in Iraq when she was abducted last January by Iraqi insurgents. She was held captive for 3 months before finally being released. Jill tells her entire story on Yahoo! News in 10 or so rather lengthy parts.

As far as kidnappings by religious extremists go, this one went rather well. Jill was not tortured, starved, or killed, but was released relatively unscathed. I say relatively because it's clear when reading Jill's story that she was tormented. Her freedom was taken from her for a quarter of a year, and I can only imagine the kind of damage that an experience like that could do to one's psyche.

Her story is moving because it gives an inside look into the character of the Iraqi insurgents, and it is sad to see how human they are, and yet how deluded. It is touching to get sort of a human-level view of Iraq, instead of the detached video-game view we see on TV. When there is war, there must be detachment; otherwise the terror of it all would sink in too well.

I'll be honest, I avoid hearing anything about Iraq, because I find it too surreal, and too depressing if I recognize the reality. I am frustrated by our government and the lies we have been fed. I am frustrated that we got ourselves into this in the first place and that we can't just leave now that we're in it. Will we ever truly be able to leave, I wonder? Will fundamentalist Muslims ever stop hating us? Will we ever stop trying to make everyone like us? Will any of it ever end?

I think about Johnny, a marine friend of mine who was stationed in Iraq until recently. Some of the places that Jill writes about in her story are places that I recognize from Johnny's letters. Jill tells how many times American soldiers would be so close to where she was being held. I wonder if Johnny was looking for her. I wonder what other terrors he might have faced.

My heart goes out to Jill and to Johnny, and to the U.S. marines who have served and are serving and will serve abroad, and to the Iraqi people.

May we eventually find peace.

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