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Kassy Dillon @KassyDillon
, 14 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Thread: I am proud to live in the best country on the planet. Our freedom, economic opportunity, and peacefulness is unparalleled. I’ve known this my entire life, but my recent trip to Iraqi Kurdistan further solidified this belief. #IndependenceDay
2/ When arriving in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was greeted by water and buckets. A rainstorm flooded the airport. We take our infrastructure for granted.
3/ Our Peshmerga security guards picked us up and brought us to vehicles outside the perimeter of the airport. They were heavily armed. Many Peshmerga have to purchase their own weapons. They often go months without pay. We take the strength of our military for granted.
4/ We drove to Sulaymaniyah and had to go through several checkpoints. These checkpoints are controlled by different political parties and these parties sometimes have violent clashes with each other. Believe it or not, we take for granted the unity of our country.
5/ On my first night, I went to rest in my hotel room. Then, I heard an explosion and gun fire. Scared, I froze. I immediately thought I was in danger, it is Iraq after all. Luckily it was just fireworks followed by celebratory AK47 fire. We take for granted our security.
6/ The next day I visited a museum that was originally a building where Saddam Hussein tortured Kurds. I was horrified by what I saw. I couldn’t stop crying. We take for granted our political system where no leader can do this to our own people.
7/ Here’s a silly one. We take for granted our toilets! Iraqi toilets are not fun. Hotels had western toilets but several public places did not.
8/ These are young Kurdish boys waving an Israeli flag. This is a federal crime in Iraq. The punishment is left up to the judge. Luckily, being in Kurdistan somewhat protects them from the Iraqi government. We take for granted our freedom of speech.
9/ I do not support any party in Kurdistan, but I went to a rally for the New Generation Movement. A week or so before I arrived, one of their offices was shot up by a rival party. Believe it or not, we take for granted the civility between our parties.
10/ This is Mo. He joined the Peshmerga when he was 16. He was forced to protect his people & arguably, the rest of us, against ISIS. He copes with humor. ISIS is smaller but still exists. A few days ago, a bullet grazed his shoulder in a fight. We take our security for granted.
11/ On my last day, I went to the front lines against ISIS where they still have some holdouts. We had some scary expierences, but what I took away is that we are lucky to have decent neighbors. Yes there are problems, but our people aren’t being mass enslaved or executed.
12/ We left after voting for the elections closed. Soon after, some gunfights broke out between militias about the results. We take for granted our peacefulness in our political system.
13/ None of this was meant to target the Kurds. They are an amazing people in a tough situation.
14/ Overall, I am proud to be an American. I’m wishing everyone a happy Independence Day from the Sea of Galilee!
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