Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sunday, November 12th, 2006
Peace be upon you…

I cannot believe myself…
I went to Baghdad and remained there for a week, then came back to Amman two days ago…
As if it was a dream…
Since I made the plane reservation and the date of travel was fixed, I started smelling the scent of the beloved Baghdad, she became closer to me. I remained worried, my sleep disturbed, because I was afraid of what would happen…
I had already made up my mind and decided to travel, and I also decided not to tell the majority of my family, relatives and friends here and there with my traveling plan, for I didn't want to hear the thwarting comments.
I know exactly the danger of the situation there, but my longing for Baghdad destroyed me. And I took the risk, I told some people: if I die there, bury me, for it would be the peak of my happiness to be buried in my homeland, Instead of the torment of expatriation away from my beloved country.
What is the meaning of life without a country?
Is there something more precious than your country?
I asked myself this question everyday before I traveled.
When the plane started descending and the features of Baghdad appeared, I burst into tears…
For two years now I have been away from Baghdad, I was forced not to return because of the miserable security conditions, the kidnappings, and the free killings, without justifications.
But I have grown tired of the separation, and my heart broke of sadness, I cry every day. And whenever I travel to other cities and capitals to forget my sadness, my longing for Baghdad grows, with my sadness about her, and I burst into tears.
I do not know, but perhaps this is the way of the lover who becomes very fond of a certain woman, so that whenever they showed him other women to forget her, he hates them, and his love for her increased…
This is what Baghdad has done to me.
Whenever I visited a capital, I thought about her, remembered her, and loved streets that look like her streets, rivers like her Tigris, trees like hers, and my anguish at my separation from her grows…
But, from the plane, I burst into tears when I saw her features… as if I heard her moaning, her complains of what has befallen her of destruction, devastation and neglect, of killings and violence, and the bloodshed on her streets. I looked on from the plane and saw her pale, her greenery has lessened, and her deserts have grown.
I felt my heart wring, I chocked, and cried bitterly...
What have they done to you?
What have the dogs done to you?
I kept repeating, and crying….
I remembered the wars, the embargo, and the last war, and how disasters, sorrows and calamities piled up upon her… and she lost her sons and daughters, who were killed or emigrated…
I love Baghdad like I loved my father and mother, may God bless their souls.
I see that Baghdad is in a dilemma…
Do we abandon those whom we love, while they are in a dilemma?
The plane landed, and I was the only one who remained crying and wiping off my tears for the deserted Airport, its aprons filled with thorns and thistle, the plants of a desolate desert, which I found in Baghdad's Airport, to signify the state of neglect that wraps everything there….
The taxi moved on in the Airport Street, I was afraid of what might happen suddenly, perhaps a false roadblock to kill by the identity, perhaps a trapped car, or a roadside bomb, a random shooting, perhaps mortar shells from an unknown source, or a kidnapping and robbery gang. This is how life in Iraq turned into. Death surrounds people from all sides; we think about it, and expect it every minute. Seconds pass mixed with terror so we cannot feel their taste, like we do in our daily lives in other safe places….

A relative of mine met me in his car, and took me to AL-Mansoor District, where I was going to stay at my friend's house.
We arrived at the 14th of Ramadan St., the street I loved most when I used to live in Baghdad. I found it deserted, gloomy, full of dust, and most of its shops closed. My relative started counting to me the numbers of shop owners who were assassinated without any known reasons; dress shops, Mobile phones shops, Bakery shops, Pharmacies, furniture shops, and Vegetable shops… all were targeted and killed, so the vital beautiful street turned into a dead, depressing area.
Well then, who is doing this?
For what purpose?
My relative said, sadly in a broken voice: We do not know, there are some armed gangs whose identities are unknown, who get in, kill, destroy, then run away, and no one can stop them; not the people, nor the government. They want to destroy the country, and destroy people's lives. We do not know where they came from, who finances them, or what their aim is? they kill people, evoke chaos, then run away…
Now that is terrorism, I said to myself.
Who brought it to us?
Who admitted it into Iraq?
Perhaps the same person who declared the war on terrorism, for he would be the only beneficiary from the existence of these armed gangs, because they justify his existence on the land of Iraq, and staying here indefinitely.
Those terrorists do not stand against the occupation army, they only kill civilian Iraqis.
I said; I shall ask all the people for the answer of this riddle- who stands behind all this abuse and madness?
Who is the beneficiary?
I asked my relative to stop his car on the roadside by the curb, and broke all his instructions and warnings; I got out and run on the curb, wanting to kiss the soil of Baghdad. I told him in a loud voice- this is a promise I made to myself, to visit Baghdad so I can smell her air, and kiss her soil, then see the people and ask about their affairs.
My relative kept shouting and warning, but I didn't heed his words, I kneeled to the ground, and found some flowerbeds whose plants were dead and its soil dry. I put out my hand, and scooped the dry soil with the fingers of my right hand, then lifted it to my lips and kissed it: AHHH, to kiss your soil, Baghdad- like Haytham Yousif (a well known Iraqi singer) says in his song…
I cannot describe my happiness and rapture…
I, in Baghdad?
I cannot believe…
And this is the air of Baghdad and the soil of Baghdad?

But I believed that I was in Baghdad when the night came, in the house of my friend in Dragh District, Al-Mansoor; when I was alone in the room, with the electricity off, the noise of firearms here and there, and the sound of mortar shells from a far…
I said to myself: here I am in my beloved Baghdad, at last…
I smiled, pulled the bedcover and put it on my face, and slept with a happiness I missed for two years now…
At last, I am back in my mother's arms…….
At last, I am back to Baghdad, my sweetheart……..

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