Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Yesterday was a difficult, sad day. I was depressed throughout the day and tears were falling….And then I was becoming embarrassed, that people would see me….
So I’d wipe them away and pretend that everything’s ok. And during the evening a friend from Michigan called...
. And we spoke for the first time on the telephone. Our feelings were mixed with joy to hear each others voices, and sadness, over what is happening in Iraq. And the end of the phone call I told her: This is an ironic fate, to have our sadness come from America, and those who we love and who love us are from America itself…we laughed and agreed to send a letter to Bush, a thank you letter. Because he was the reason we got to know each other. This is the shining side of this ugly war, that gathered hearts believing in the same principles of love and peace, and want to defend that, to remain a link. A strong link between people, whoever they are.
And yesterday I received a beautiful letter from another friend in Boston, that made me cry. I put parts of it here on the site, and I almost couldn’t believe, I used to think that people’s hearts had died over there, but they surprise me.
This morning I opened the mail, and found it full of beautiful letters, from all over the world. I thanked God, and it increased my faith in Him, and my faith in the principle that says that we are all the children of God. This is what my friend in Boston always says, and I smile and nod my head in agreement. And I remember the worlds of our gracious Prophet, Mohammad, peace be upon him: Creation is the children of God, and the ones he loves the most are those most merciful to his children.
In the evening I again asked myself the reasons for this sadness that covered me throughout the day. I remembered that yesterday evening I went to see the neighbors, who had fled from the fighting in Falluja. I thought to meet them and listen to what they are saying, and write it here. I realized that the profession of journalism needs a tough heart to listen to tragic stories - and then smile and write them in a calm way, to write the truth. And if you want to lie, nobody will know, except perhaps after a long time maybe. I remembered that for this reason I refused to study medicine, and chose engineering, because it is not related to feelings. Medicine has a lot of pain, and I didn’t want to return living a life of pain, and lose sensitivity with the passing of time and have my heart die - as it happens to most people who practice that profession. The small, small minority who keep their feelings alive remain facing daily torture, to keep their humanity while not allowing it defeat the harshness of every day life.
A question from Caesar in the interview for USA Today: Why are there Iraqi bloggers who support America and Israel?
I laughed and said maybe it’s a question of age and little experience in life that makes the young mistake a friend from an enemy. And perhaps because they didn’t see any life except under Saddam, and so anybody else is acceptable.
But I yesterday met a person who surprised me with his openness. He said:
“I used to work as a general in security in the Palace, in the engineering section. We were once changing the glass of the car windows, from normal glass to bullet proof glass. Qusay [Saddam’s son] came past with his attendants. He stopped and said: Why are you late in your work?
One of the engineers said: Don’t you want the work to be good?
Qusay became angry at him and didn’t respond. After that, the engineer disappeared, and we heard that he was in the al-Shub’a al-Khamisa. They beat him and tortured him because he was brave enough to answer Qusay.
And now I can take you to his house for you to see him. He has schizophrenia and is destroyed after what happened to him, Umm Raed. I swear by God, I wished that the Americans and the Israelis would come to ask me to be a spy against Iraq. I would have done so much from that hatred within me
Yes….that is how some people think in response. Like a man whose wife cheats on him, so he becomes hateful to all women and wishes for their deaths. This is an immature response, and thank God that the majority do not think in this way. My response was to this story:
We took off an awful coat….and we have put on one just as bad as well
Both are not appropriate
Both are hurting Iraqis
I return to those from Falluja, and their stories that I heard from them. What will change if you listen or not? I don’t know. But if only for the trust invested in me, I will relate to you the picture. Perhaps it will provide you with some useful information, for those who haven’t heard
There were many families in that house, and all of them related – cousins, and their children. Two of them left their husbands there, because they heard that men were not allowed to leave.
So they left with their children, walking from nine 9 in the morning, and reached their relatives house at three in the afternoon, in Baghdad. The dust covered their children while they cried and screamed. The women’s eyes were wide open from shock, and often the words wouldn’t leave their throats.
We don’t know if we will return home.
Will we find our husbands still alive?
We feel embarrassed because we are guests in other people’s houses and we didn’t bring with us even a dinar, because of the shock and fright.
We left with the clothes on our backs. Every day we wash the clothes of the children and make them wear it again.
We wish to return or find somebody to send to us our things from our houses.
Every day there is contradictory news about families returning. Nobody is brave enough to return to the fighting.
The fighting stops and starts.
Some of the families here don’t have relatives, so they are living in tents and people bring them donations of food and medicine.
One of them was quite a young-looking woman in the black of widows, her husband died six years ago. She has seven children, between seven and seventeen. She lived with them in a residential apartment on the outskirts of Falluja, for government employees, where her husband used to work. She lives with her children on the retirement salary paid to their father. She said:
We left after the fighting became very heavy after a few days. My husband’s brother came and took us into his car to one of the villages around Falluja, called the area of Zuba’. We remained there for a week, and then we went to Baghdad. On the first day when the coalition forces entered the city, they announced over loudspeakers, that schools and shops were closed, curfew: that it would be absolutely forbidden to leave one’s home from seven in the morning.
On the second day, the fighting began in the area. We didn’t leave the house. We didn’t know what was happening on the streets. The children gathered around me and they were shaking. And putting their hands over their hears so as not to listen to the sounds of plans and falling missiles. We didn’t dare leave the room to go to the kitchen to bring bread or food. They cut off the water and the electricity at our place. The assault was terrifying, day and night. The windows were smashed and the house was filled with smoke. We don’t’ know from where the smoke came. The children were crying and screaming and I was crying with them. We were all shaking. I told myself:
This is the end of the day of resurrection
The world has ended
We could see the American forces digging trenches close to our house. We were on a flat on the third floor. And at 12:00 pm exactly they would receive their lunch. We would watch them in the evening when they would receive their dinner at 6:00pm.
I didn’t have a fridge to hold food for the children. There was stale bread, and water. I used to buy my things from the market daily. I didn’t have anything stored. From fright I couldn’t make dough or bake bread for them from the remains of flour.
Our days were terrifying. I was reading verses from the Quran and saying that we would die – me and the children, here, and nobody would know.
And then after a few days somebody knocked on the door. One of my husbands relatives came and told us to leave quickly: We have a car.
We went down the stairs quickly without thinking. We didn’t take anything with us. No ID cards, no clothing. Just the clothes we were wearing. One of my little girls, Nada, went down running barefoot. I forgot to give her something to wear on her feet.
We saw the corpses in the streets Umm Raed. I sight I can’t forget all my life. No, they were not corpses, they were hands and legs scattered, filling the streets, scattered things. Human flesh scattered. Some of it sticking to the walls of houses. Flying flesh and sticking to the walls of houses.
The day of resurrection, I told myself all the way. There was fighting around us with missiles, hitting the streets, and people running, people inside trucks. Men and women, running away from hell. Every one of them was just thinking of their own life without thinking of anybody else. The smell of death penetrated every place. I couldn’t believe we were still alive.
Thank God. My children are ok. That’s enough.
My children went after a week to get our IDs and clothes, but the neighbors turned them away. They said that the American forces were in the building and broke the locks and entered. Don’t come close, they will shoot at you.
Did you see Mujahideen?
I asked her
And who was shooting at the American forces?
She said she didn’t know the answer because she didn’t leave the house. And she didn’t know who was shooting. Perhaps men from Falluja themselves. Defending their houses and their women. Everybody who left their house was shot at by snipers and we heard of an old man who went outside his house so a soldier killed him while he was standing outside his house. So his son killed the soldier in anger because he killed his elderly father. Then the soldier’s comrades killed that man. The neighbors say they buried them side by side in the house’s garden. I keep thinkning that if we were all inside our house, and azzam went outside to get something and a soldier killed him standing in front of the door. Who will prevent my children from carrying arms and revenging their father
It’s an impossible task
Who gives orders?
Who is implementing?
And who is debating?
Is killing the language of communication between men?
When was killing the language of communication between humans?
Even animals don’t do that to each other.
So what’s happening to humans…the master of creature …the creator of civilizations.
And who has the answer?