Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Friday 26/12/2004
Visited the neighbours. She said she wants to emigrate and sell her house. All of her children are outside (Iraq) and life here is difficult, with no hope of things improving in the near future. She’s right!

I wished that I think like her and then all my all of my psychological problems would end. But I am attached to this land despite all the troubles and ill fortune; I love it and will not accept an alternative other than it (the land). We have a flat in Amman/Jordan. Before the war, whilst we were on holiday, my husband suggested that the kids and I spend the duration of the war in the flat. I was flabbergasted and completely rejected the idea and returned to Baghdad hurriedly fearing the outbreak of the war whilst am still outside Iraq. It is a question of principle.

Many people have ridiculed me for my attitudes, to the point that my sisters consider me a foolish romanticist, but I’ve stuck to my points of view and have not regretted it. I said to them “I wasn’t here during any of the past wars and I feel guilty”. My thoughts were that this would be the final war and I did not want to rue the chance of sharing the experience of a close war with my family, friends and neighbours, so I decided on staying in Baghdad and not leaving regardless. Otherwise what is the point in life if they died and I stayed alive? What will I do? It’ll be dull and boring.

A person who is present during and experiences a war has a higher/stronger morale than one who lives outside the country and has to hear of the war in the news, then that person is mortified psychologically wondering about the fate of their loved ones. I lived this experience during the first Gulf War as I was living in Amman and I felt impotent and used to cry daily worried about my family and loved ones back in Iraq. But to be present with everyone during the war is a Mercy in the sense that each of us consoles one another and we laugh about what is happening and hoping that we can live to tell our tale.

The first days of the war were light on civilians because most of the targets were presidential and army ones. Then the jets closed up and started carrying out bombing raids in the midst of residential houses and this is where catastrophes took place, so that days and nights became extremely terrifying. Out of fear it was impossible to sleep. On the first night I took valium tablets (Sleeping tablets) and slept like a corpse and did not hear anything (of the bombing). But with time neither the valium tablets takes its effect nor does the bombing subside. The entire house shakes and windows shatter which forced us to replace them with wooden planks. In the mornings we are left with pale faces and headaches from the pain and tension. Some of the families left their houses to safer areas outside Baghdad where the bombing is not as intense. But they were worried about the prospect of their houses being looted or bombed, until such day where the American forces entered the Baghdad’s Airport which was Dooms Day for the majority of the capital’s inhabitants. We left our houses, which is near the airport, to the safety of relatives’ homes in safer parts of Baghdad. I still wonder what Saddam was gambling on when he threw us in this hell and no one could feel for us whilst we are left between the grinders of the US Army and the theatrical war coverage of the Satellite Channels as it beamed live pictures of Baghdad being bombed and destroyed day by day.

The Americans are convinced that they do not harm civilians! God only knows how those days passed. We hear of bombing incidents whereby they are striking a “target” where elements of the leadership “may” have been, while innocent victims fall as a result when the “may” operations turns out to be false intelligence.

This is exactly what happened when the “Sa’aa Restaurant” (The Time Restaurant) was hit at 3pm as the street was thriving full of people walking along thinking there will not be any day time bombing raids. Buildings were shaken, windows were shattered and houses collapsed in their entirety on their occupants and many families died as a result. They were harsh dark days and we are not sure who gets the blame as each of the warring sides was blaming the other and no one pays the price but us… we still do.

I am unable to stand still ignorantly and forget all what we saw and applaud idiotically to the occupation army. Am sorry, the scene is painful and those who are on the stage are tiring.

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