No, this post isn't about the mighty University of Maryland Terrapins, this post deals with one of the most crucial components of engaging the Iraqi populace... the interpreters.
Throughout my time here, I have been introduced to several men and women that have been sacrificing the safety and security of, not only themselves, but their families as well. In many areas of the country, anyone seen working with Coalition Forces could face harrassment ranging from destruction of their property to death. These brave nationals face this dilemma on a daily basis, yet the go out each and every day, aiding Americans in their effort to build strong relations with locals in their area of operations.
I've met guys like Salami, who has been referenced as "the 12th man" in our effort. Despite my distaste for this Texas A&M connotation, I have seen first hand their tireless efforts to help do their part in bringing peace and stability to the region.
MJ, a local from Baghdad, has a wife and child on the way. Although they are only about 30 minutes away, he has to stay at the JSS and work day after day without seeing his loved ones. This week will be five months without seeing her, and she is due to give birth anytime now. And I thought being away from Leslie was tough, these two have been apart almost this entire year and they're only 20 miles away from each other!
Mikee and Mark both have to cover up their faces when they go out, for fear of being recognized by someone who could do harm to them or their families. My heart goes out to them.
I have often found myself taking for granted the luxuries that we as Americans have on a daily basis. For some of these interpreters, they hope for a better life by working with us, so as to earn their citizenship and move to the States. Others just want to do their part in bringing peace and stability to the country. Either way, they too are on the front lines of this war and deserve our support and prayers.
I ask that you add the many individuals who daily sacrifice their lives to serve as the communicative link to a better, more stable life here in Iraq to your daily thoughts and prayers. May our father watch over them and their loved ones during these times of crisis and uncertainty.