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Old 04-07-2011, 12:11 PM   #1
JRJENNINGS86
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The Middle East

As a Marine, I have not only had the honor of serving my country but also the privilage to see the "craddle of civilization" ( I am sure there will be disagreement on my comment but thats ok).

I found the Middle East to be a great experiance. Seeing what i Belive to be the birth place of us all was amazing. The land, the culture, and even the depravity many of its people suffer from have had a strong influnce on my life. I was once a person who belived that America comes first however, now I realize that the starving and hurting people in third world countries are not just faces to make money but more real than I ever knew.

I was in the Infantry, that said, I took part in blowing up alot of beautiful things. I understand that I did what I needed to do for freedom but still, there were some beautiful buildings and history that was destroyed along the way. The people have constructed wounderful buildings and artwork. I will try to post some of the photographs I took, not just the war ones (which would not be tacky but only the ones that show the beauty of the Middle East, I am not a distasteful man and nothing I ever did was for sport or trophy) but the images and faces of a beautiful culture.

Growing up in a Christian home, I was raised on the stories from the Bible. Being able to see and walk on the exact spots where some of the stories took place, was just mind blowing. I had the chance to see the Sinai *****ula and vist Mt. Sinai ( or St. Catherine). Like many others before me, I was disapointed and do not believe St. Catherine to be Mt. Sinai. I do believe that the real Mt. Sinai is in Arabia and is called Jabela Lawz (check it out for yourself, the artifacts at Jabela Lawz tell a difrent story, In my opinon).

After seeing the desert for months on end, I did manage to see some of the great rivers. The Tigris, Nile, Euphrates... amazing! It was awesome to see the people fishing and living on the water ways. Some of the people even looked as if they were from 2,000 years ago and have not changed.

I still have plenty more to say about the Middle East, as said i will scrounge up some photos (I hope I can at least) and share them with everyone.

I welcome others Middle East stories too.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:34 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Raven, Marine.

I lived in Egypt for two years and feel much the same way about the Middle East. People stateside only know what they see on tv, which is mainly bombings and radicals. They don't usually see the people, the culture, the environment, unless it's a History Channel special. And those usually focus on the antiquities, leaving out the modern culture.

Wonderful people all across the Middle East, and seeing ancient and Biblical sites is an incredible experience. Even more incredible for a Christian. I've been to Israel three times, most recently in February, right after the Cairo riots.

And, as you said, there are places in Egypt, especially around Luxor and Thebes, where it looks and feels like you stepped back in time.

I look forward to seeing some of your photos.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRJENNINGS86
I was once a person who belived that America comes first however, now I realize that the starving and hurting people in third world countries are not just faces to make money but more real than I ever knew.
While I'm not American and have not yet traveled deep into the Middle East, I can relate due to an illuminating experience during a trip to Cairo 2 years ago. The 'event' didn't last very long but it changed me forever and was a veritable epiphany.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRJENNINGS86
I was in the Infantry, that said, I took part in blowing up alot of beautiful things.
That's truly a shame but orders are orders, right? There are other U.S. military folks here so you're in good company. "Semper Fi".

I would LOVE to see your photos! Welcome to The Raven, JRJENNINGS86! Where the whip-cracking never stops!
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:47 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for your input. Our world is a wounderful place of adventure and beautiful sights that all people from all walks of life should enjoy. It is my hope that one day everyone will be able to travel and explore these places, Especially the Middle East, with out fear.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRJENNINGS86
Thanks to both of you for your input. Our world is a wounderful place of adventure and beautiful sights that all people from all walks of life should enjoy. It is my hope that one day everyone will be able to travel and explore these places, Especially the Middle East, with out fear.
I like to think of it as a place where Indy can still find adventure! Full of mystique and danger!

I also enjoy hearing "fish out of water" stories...and culture shock from first hand experiences.

Hope you have some!
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:28 PM   #6
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fish out of water stories eh? i can do that

my first step off the airplane landing in Kuwait City, was met with the sensation of a blow dryer directly in my face. Instantly i was sweating and finding the hot air hard to breath. I loved it. once myself and the other Marines got settled in Iraq itself, we started some of our missions.

I led missions less than 2000 meters from the Euphrates, which was a shocker in itself. i was expecting open desert with vast sand dunes, i was wrong. along the Ephrates was a tropical paridise. palms and date trees lined the water way. irrigation chanles could be seen every where. the Iraqis were amazing. they loved us instantly but maintained their distance for a while. we gained their trust and did everything we could to keep it, although, at times it was a struggle. they are awesome. everysingle person had this love for their land that was physicaly visable. family was their life. the part of the country i was in must be left unnamed, sorry, but it was great. the area had never seen Americans before, so naturaly they were curious about us. they all lived thousands of years behind us. some were farmers in sandals while others were nomads. they all had livestock and crops they harvested. just about everyday a large group of Iraqis would bring us food to try and little gifts which we exchanged things like soap and baby wipes (we didnt give them soap to be mean they really wanted it!) baby wipes blew their minds, which put a smile on my face and made me count my blessing. after spending 7 months with the people and protecting them from radical insurgents, i made alot of cool friends. i am pleased to say that my battalion helped to establish this cities first police force and trained over 300 Iraqi police officers. from what i last heard the city is doing amazing and their Insugency problems are all but none.


if i could pick a fave moment or thing from one of my 7 deployments to the Middle East, it would be hearing the prayers sung from the Mosque speakers. i understand the language now and hearing those songs, their beauty in the words is just priceless.
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