Last summer, while living in Jordan's capital city Iman, Corbett and her husband witnessed a flood of refugees coming into the country as a result of the month-long conflict between Israel and the paramilitary group Hezbollah, which is headquartered in Lebanon.
"It was the single worst time I've ever spent in the Middle East. It was just bad," said Corbett. "The people up north could see the rockets being fired into Lebanon."
There also were Iraqi refugees arriving in Jordan while she was there, and she's skeptical about America's continued presence in Iraq. The Sunni and the Shiite factions in Iraq have been at loggerheads for years and a conflict was inevitable after Saddam Hussein was deposed.
"(Iraqis) just want us to go. The civil war is there. It's something that they have to fight out."
And even though the Middle East is several time zones away and the images that appear on the evening news can be exotic and discomforting, Corbett says we share a lot of common ground with the people who live there.
"They're not that different from us. They have the same aspirations and dreams. And they love their children."
Monday, February 26, 2007
Today's O-R includes a profile by Brad Hundt on WashPA-native Elena Dodge Corbett and her studies in Jordon. Elena and I were both members of the O-R's "Young Observers" program in the early '90s. I'm not surprised a bit that she is working in Islamic civilization and Middle Eastern history -- even as a teenager, she was smart and bold. (Elena is pictured at right in an O-R photo by Jim McNutt.)
From Brad's story:
Posted by Paul Snatchko at 4:09 PM