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Sunday, February 26, 2006


Tolls of War - In Midwest and In Iraq

A Veteran in Joliet,IL * A Music Store Owner Who Died in Baghdad
It has become commonplace, news about deaths and injuries in Iraq. We read about the casualties; we hear of them. After a while it fails to have the same impact that it once did unless....unless you happen to know one of the victims. War and its effects are dehumanizing. Yet, once in a while you come across items that make you pause and think. They cause deep sadness even if you didn't know the individuals.

That is how I felt about David Adams of Joliet,IL, who returned home with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and an Iraqi named Alan (Elin) who was shot and killed by insurgents when they kidnapped Jill Carroll, a free-lance journalist working for The Christian Science Monitor. Alan was acting as interpreter for Jill Carroll.

"When David Adams came back from Iraq, the war followed him home. Adams is from Joliet, Illinois. He was a specialist in the 101st Airborne from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, destined to be in the military.

"My father had served in the Marines. My mother's father served in World War Two in Patton's army. All my uncles and cousins, they've all served," said Adams.

Adams was serving when the US went to war with Iraq in 2003. "We were told this thing about winning the hearts and minds of the people and one of the way we can win the hearts and minds is to give them a bottle of water and throw candy to the kids," said Adams.

Their orders were to keep the convoys moving through every village. Do not stop for any reason. That included one April morning. "Out of the left corner of my eye, I can see a child start to run across the street," remembered Adams.

Adams continued, "She was a little girl, probably about 5 or 6 years old, and as she is running across the street, she's not looking where she's going. She's just a kid and she gets run over by a truck. I would say there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her."
Source: KSDK.com

Riverbend, author of Baghdad Burning, wrote on January 12th about Alan, the record seller.

"Thank You for the Music...
When I first heard about the abduction of Christian Science Monitor journalist Jill Carroll a week ago, I remember feeling regret. It was the same heavy feeling I get every time I hear of another journalist killed or abducted. The same heavy feeling that settles upon most Iraqis, I imagine, when they hear of acquaintances suffering under the current situation.

I read the news as a subtitle on tv. We haven't had an internet connection for several days so I couldn't really read about the details. All I knew was that a journalist had been abducted and that her Iraqi interpreter had been killed. He was shot in cold blood in Al Adil district earlier this month, when they took Jill Carroll... They say he didn't die immediately. It is said he lived long enough to talk to police and then he died.

I found out very recently that the interpreter killed was a good friend- Alan, of Alan's Melody, and I've spent the last two days crying.

Everyone knew him as simply 'Alan', or "Elin" as it is pronounced in Iraqi Arabic. Prior to the war, he owned a music shop in the best area in Baghdad, A'arasat. He sold some Arabic music and instrumental music, but he had his regular customers - those westernized Iraqis who craved foreign music. For those of us who listened to rock, adult alternative, jazz, etc. he had very few rivals.

It hit me then that it wasn't the music that made Alan's shop a haven- somewhere to forget problems and worries- it was Alan himself.

He loved Pink Floyd:

Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
Did you ever wonder why we
Had to run for shelter when the
Promise of a brave, new world
Unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?
Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on.
Goodbye, blue sky
Goodbye, blue sky.
Goodbye. Goodbye.

(Goodbye Blue Sky - Pink Floyd)

Goodbye Alan..."

Alan is gone, leaving behind a wife and two children. Jill Carroll's captors had threatened to kill her unless the U.S. met their demands by today, Sunday-Feb.26. Her fate is not known. The demands are "unspecified". For David Adams and others like him it is an uphill battle. Hope they are receiving the care they need to return to the life they knew before the war.

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