Saturday, March 13, 2004

Wednesday 3/3

I spent the day calling people to ask if there were alright after the explosions yesterday. All the customers at the store today were saying to each other “thank god for your safety”. I hear there is a draft version of the constitution, it will be final soon. I don’t like this new constitution, because it reinforces division among Iraqi people based on ethnic origin. Iraq has become divided into Shi’a and Sunni, Arab, Turkuman and Kurdish. This was not the case in the past. This is not the way to unite a nation. This is a way to divide people. I get emails from all over the world asking me if I am Sunni or Shi’a. You can hear people saying Sunni, Shi’a, Sunni, Shi’a, what a disaster. What is the difference between Sunni and Shi’a? They are all Muslims. Instead of looking for the things that unite us so that we can become one nation under these difficult conditions. We have become a devided into tribes and ethnic groups. Each side what its own rights and a percentage of seats, as if that was the ultimate goal. Is this the right way to build the new Iraq? I don’t like this way and I don’t think that it is correct. Each one of us is Iraqi, the is the beginning, end and the goal. Other details should go to hell.

When a customer comes to the store saying, we the Shi’a should get our turn now because we are the majority (by we he means himself and myself), I feel embarrassed and I look around, I think about how this talk is confrontational to the Sunni standing next to me. This kind of talk is inappropriate. I hate this sense of divisiveness. We are one nation with equal rights, that is what I believe in. Some small minded people become happy when they hear such talk, working hard to live in this state. I feel sorry for such people. I feel pain. I feel that he is misguided, he will waste many years of his life only to discover that he has taken the wrong path.


We used to employ a Kurdish engineer at our store. He worked with us for many years fixing electronic devices. Azzam and I would treat him with respect and compassion. We would invite him over to our house for lunch and for coffee and tea. Then he got married and had a family. He asked for a salary raise. We didn’t hesitate. We tried to treat him exceptionally because he was Kurdish. Because they are an oppressed minority group. We would give him extra attention. We tried to compensate him for any feeling of alienation in our society. When the war happened we had to close down the store until the security situation calmed down a bit. Then we reopened the store and returned to work. I felt that we needed him back. Many customers required repairs on their equipment. So I sent somebody to his house to tell him. After a while he came into the store. We sat to drink coffee, we asked him about the war and how he got through those difficult days. We talked about the destruction that happened to the city. As we were talking we mentioned the political parties that seized the houses of government officials, clubs and governmental offices and tried to turn them into their head quarters. We criticized such behavior. We consider it to be an immature action. These are buildings belonging to the state, they shouldn’t be abused by a particular party. We mentioned examples, this political party, that political party and then we mentioned a Kurdish party. Suddenly he became agitated and jumped out of his chair like mad. What is wrong with Kurdish parties? He started to yell and became overcome with anger. He said how Kurdish people were oppressed under Saddam regime and the Arabs did nothing about it. The time has come for Kurdish people to be free and do as they will. I was amazed for a little while. I couldn’t believe that this savage hostile person was also the peaceful man that used to work for us, the same person that was shy and always had a smile on his face. It caused me lots of pain to see him like that. I feel sorry for what is happening to him. The smell of hateful racism was coming out of him. I raised my voice in an angry way to tell him. Fine! you have worked with us for many years. Did we once mistreat you? Did we once not pay you on time because you are Kurdish? Have we ever disrespected you because you are Kurdish? Haven’t you discovered that Saddam, oppressed us all, he didn’t spare anybody. I am Shi’a, but do I hate Sunnis because they were close to Saddam? That would be stupid. Saddam was close to Shi’a , Sunni and Kurdishand anybody who was willing to act like a hypocrite. He didn’t answer my questions. He left the store, I don’t know if it was out of anger or out of embarrassment. But he is not working with us anymore. Each time we meet up at the traffic lights we look away, pretending we didn’t see each other. Something got cracked between us that can’t be fixed. Each time I remember him, I think isn’t this what racism does?


Negotiations are proceeding with the kidnappers. The price has gone down to 100,000 dollars. There still is room to apply more pressure and lower the number. Ammar called his family and told them that he was fine. The kidnappers told his family that they won’t hear his voice again unless they pay. Time is passing slowly and the issue requires a quick resolution. That is what everybody thinks. We will see tomorrow.


[Translation by]

قضيت النهار أتصل وأسأل ...لأطمئن أن لا أحد أصيب بسوء من إنفجارات الأمس...
وكذلك الزبائن في المحل...كلنا يقول للآخر الحمد لله على السلامة...
توجد مسودة للدستور ...سينتهون من صياغتها...
لا أحب هذا الدستور الجديد...لأنه كرس الطائفية والعرقية...صار العراق سنة وشيعة...وعرب وتركمان وأكراد...
وهذا لم يحدث منذ العصور القديمة أو الحديثة...
هذا ليس أسلوبا لجمع الشعب ...هذا أسلوب للتفريق .
صارت تأتيني رسائل من العالم تسألني هل أنت سنية أم شيعية؟
وصار الناس يرددون سني شيعي....سني شيعي...وهذه كارثة.
ما الفرق بين السني والشيعي؟
كلهم مسلمون...وبدلا من البحث عما يجمعنا لنكون شعبا واحدا في هذه الظروف الصعبة...صرنا شعبا منقسما الى طوائف وأعراق...وكل جهة تريد لنفسها حقوقا ...ونسبة في المقاعد ..وكأن هذا هو الغاية القصوى , والطريق الصحيح لبناء عراق جديد...لا أحب هذا الطريق ولا أظنه صحيحا...كل واحد فينا هو عراقي...هذا هو البداية والهدف...ولتذهب التفاصيل الى الجحيم .
عندما يأتي زبون الى المحل ويقول بصوته العالي ...نحن الشيعة يجب أن نأخذ دورنا الآن نحن الأكثرية( وكلمة نحن يقصد بها أنا وهو ) ..أخجل وانظر من حولي وأفكر هذا الكلام يستفز الذي يقف بجانبي وهو سني وهذا كلام لا يليق..
...يفرق ولا يجمع ...وأنا أكره التفرقة.
نحن شعب واحد ...ولنا حقوق متساوية...هذا ما أؤمن به .
لكن ثمة صغار العقول أو التجربة من يسعده سماع ذلك الكلام ...ويلهث من أجل أن يعيش هذه الحالة ...
وأنا أشعر نحوه بالشفقة..أو الألم ..لأنني أحسه مضلل وستضيع سنوات من عمره حتى يكتشف إنه سار في طريق غير صحيح...
كان عندنا مهندس كردي ..يعمل منذ سنوات في محلنا...لتصليح العطل الكهربائي أو الألكتروني للمنظومات...
وكنا نعامله أنا وعزام بمودة واحترام...وندعوه الى بيتنا للغداء أو شرب الشاي والقهوة...ثم تزوج وصارت عليه مسؤولية عائلة...وطلب زيادة الراتب أو أجور التصليح فلم نتردد...كنا ندلله لأنه كردي...ونحس أنه أقلية مظلومة.....فنعطيه إهتماما أكثر...لتعويضه بدل الشعور بالغربة بيننا...
ثم جاءت الحرب...وأقفلنا المحل لشهور حتى يهدأ الجو ويعود الأمان قليلا للمدينة...
وفتحنا المحل وباشرنا بالدوام ...وكنت محتاجة له جدا ...حيث الزبائن وأجهزتهم بحاجة الى صيانة وما شابه...
فأرسلت الى بيته من يبلغه...وبعد فترة ...جاء للمحل...وجلسنا نشرب القهوة ,و نسأله عن الحرب وكيف مرت بأيامها القاسية...ثم الدمار الذي حل بالمدينة ...ومن ضمن الكلام ..جاء الحديث عن الأحزاب والتنظيمات التي استولت على بيوت المسؤولين أو النوادي أو دوائر الدولة ...وجعلتها مقرات لها..وانتقدنا هذه التصرفات , واعتبرناها غير ناضجة..وإن هذه المباني ملك للدولة ...وليست لجهة ما, تتصرف بلا قانون...وضربنا مثلا حزب كذا وكذا...
ومن ضمن الأحزاب التي ضربناها مثلا حزبا كرديا...
وإذا به يستفز ويقفز من مكانه كالمجنون ...أحزاب كردية؟ ماذا؟ مابها الأحزاب الكردية؟ ..
وبدأ يصرخ ...وسيطر عليه الغضب ...وقال إن الأكراد عاشوا مظلومين في زمن صدام ...ونحن العرب لم نفعل شيئا...وإنه آن الأوان أن يكونوا أحرارا ويفعلوا ما يشاؤون...
بقيت مذهولة للحظات...لم أصدق أن هذا الشرس العدواني هو نفسه ذلك المسالم الذي كان دائم الإبتسامة والخجل ؟؟
أحسست بألم شديد يعصر قلبي...وأسف لما يحدث له...رائحة عنصرية بغيضة تخرج مع كلماته...
قلت له ..وقد رفعت صوتي وبدأ الغضب يبدو علي...
حسنا أنت تعمل معنا منذ سنوات ...هل ظلمناك يوما ما ولم ندفع أتعابك لأنك كردي ؟ هل قصرنا معك في الإحترام لأنك كردي؟ ...ألم تكتشف بعد أن صدام ظلمنا جميعا ولم يوفر أحدا ؟؟
أنا شيعية ,,هل أحقد على السنة لأنه قربهم منه ؟؟؟ هذا غباء...كان يقرب من السنة والشيعة والأكراد الذين ينافقون له...لا علاقة بفئة دون أخرى...
لم يرد على أسئلتي...وخرج من المحل...لا أعرف غاضبا أم خجلانا من عتابي...لكنه لم يعد يعمل معنا...وكلما التقينا على الإشارة الضوئية...والتقت وجوهنا ...نلتفت الى الجهة الأخرى. , ونمثل كأننا لم ير أحدنا الآخر ..ثمة شيء تحطم بيننا..ولا يمكن إصلاحه...
كلما تذكرته...وأتساءل مع نفسي..أليس هذا ما تفعله الطائفية والعنصرية بين الناس ؟؟؟

المفاوضات مستمرة مع الخاطفين...
الرقم نزل الى مائة ألف دولار..
ما زال هنالك مجال للضغط ..وتخفيض المبلغ..
إتصل عمار مع أهله وقال إنه بخير..
وقال الخاطفون لأهله لن تسمعوا صوته بعد الآن , إن لم تدفعوا...
الوقت يمر بطيئا...ويجب حسم الموضوع بسرعة...
هذا رأي الجميع....ننتظر الغد.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Tuesday 2/3

Today is ashoura holiday. We decided to stay indoors, the kids stayed in bed till late. I cooked ashoura day food, like I do every year. I divided the food into small pots so that I could give it away. My sister called me this morning to tell me that there were explosions , did you hear? This ruined my mood and made my heart sad. For some time now, I try not to answer the phone, I am afraid of hearing bad news like this. But there is no escaping reality, the news will get to me, one way or the other. I stayed worried all day long, thinking about all the people that I know that usually go visits the shrines and mosques in Baghdad and Karbala on this day. In the evening I found many worried emails, they all ask about us and express sorrow over the events. The all criticize the stupid people that are behind these acts. I have no idea who is behind this. The horizons are foggy. That is all I said to myself, I don’t accuse anybody. I spent the evening calling friends and acquaintances to ask about the. I also spend a fair bit of time answering my email, so that they wouldn’t worry. It was a bloody and sad day.


Mr. Bremer said in the evening that the coalition forces will enforce tight inspections at the borders. I said thank you. Finally they remembered that the borders are a week spot that is used by suspect types. But the coalition forces have their own priorities, first to protect themselves and secure conditions for themselves. At the end of the list comes the Iraqi nation. This is how we lived with Saddam, this is how we are today. Who cares???

Members of the governing council are complaining that the coalition forces are controlling security, economy and the media. We the people smile and ask, so what is left for the governing counsil? Security… that is the first priority for Iraqis, then the economy, let the media go to hell. We want the coalition forces to provide these two so that it could be the start of trust between them and the Iraqis. When will this become the first priority??? We are waiting

[translation by]

الثلاثاء 2/3
اليوم عطلة يوم عاشوراء...
قررنا ألا نغادر البيت....الأولاد ظلوا نائمين لوقت متأخر...
طبخت طعام يوم عاشوراء مثل كل سنة...وقسمته الى قدور صغيرة للتوزيع....
إتصلت أختي وقالت ثمة إنفجارات حدثت منذ الصباح ...هل سمعت؟
إنكمش قلبي وتعكر مزاجي....منذ فترة طويلة ما عدت أفتح التلفزيون حتى لا أسمع أخبارا كهذه ...ولكن لا مفر...ستصلني بطريقة ما....وتزعجني.
بقيت قلقة معظم النهار أفكر بكل من أعرفهم...والذين تعودوا زيارة الأماكن الدينية في بغداد وكربلاء..في مثل هذا اليوم...
في المساء وجدت في بريدي الألكتروني رسائل كثيرة قلقة من كل أنحاء العالم تسأل عنا...وتتألم لما حدث...وتنتقد بشدة الأغبياء الذين يقفون خلف هذه الأعمال المؤذية....لا أدري من يقف خلفها...الضباب يملأ الأفق...هذا ما قلته لنفسي....لست أتهم أحدا..
قضيت المساء أتصل بالمعارف والأصدقاء لأطمئن...
وقضيت الوقت أرسل أجوبة على البريد الألكتروني...لأطمئن أصحاب الرسائل....
كان يوما حزينا داميا....
في المساء قال المستر بريمر إن قوات التحالف سوف تشدد التدقيق على الحدود العراقية...
وقلت ...شكرا ...أخيرا تذكرت ان الحدود نقطة ضعف قاتلة...يتسلل منها كل المشبوهين.
ولكن قوات التحالف لها أولويات أخرى...أولا ثم أولا ...حماية نفسها وتوفير كل عوامل الأمان لها...
ثم بنهاية القائمة يأتي الشعب العراقي....
هكذا كنا نعيش مع صدام ....وهكذا بقينا....من يهتم؟؟؟
أعضاء مجلس الحكم يشتكون ويتذمرون أن قوات التحالف تستحوذ على الجانب الأمني والإقتصادي وإلإعلامي...
وأنا والشعب نبتسم ونتساءل...ماذا تبقى لكم ؟؟؟
الملف الأمني ....هذا هو الرقم واحد بالنسبة للعراقيين ...ثم الإقتصادي....وليذهب الإعلامي الى الجحيم..
نريد أن تنجح قوات التحالف في توفير هذين الملفين...حتى تكون نقطة بداية للثقة بينها وبين العراقيين...
متى ستأخذ هذا الرأي موضع الإهتمام ؟؟؟؟
نحن ننتظر....

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Hello .. this is raed & majid translating today :*) 8-)

Ok ok... Monday, the first of March 2004

I woke up tired, feeling pain allover my body.
Kids went out to schools, and I went to the showroom.
I felt sad and moody a bit, waiting for good news about Ammar, the kidnapped cousin.
Many customers came and helped me forget about my bad feelings for a while,
Then an old man with a smile on his face came and sat down,
I asked him with a complementary smile: welcome, do we know each other?
He laughed: “Um Raed! I am Abu Zahraa” (Um = the mother of, Abu = the father of)
Abu Zahraa?? Who is he? I’m sure he could notice the strange look on my face.
“Did you forget me?” he said. “I came with Zahraa to buy a water filter the other time, and you gave us a good discount...”
Well, I smiled again. No thing new! I give discounts for most of the customers!
“I was a friend of your father; I used to visit him in the library”
Oh! I stood up and laughed, we shook hands and I invited him for a cup of Chai (tea).
Ahlan Wa Sahlan (welcome)... I remembered you now
I remembered when he came with his young daughter right after the war, and they didn’t have enough money to pay, so I asked them to pay as much as they have, and I accepted although it was a small amount.
How Is Zahraa? Where is she?
He told me that she got married, “she sent you her regards from her husband’s house”.
Where do you work? I asked
I used to work in the Iraqi Television and Radio institute, but I’m retired now. Alhamdo Lellah (Thanks for god), I don’t need anything and my children work too, we are all fine.
AlHamdo Lellah, I started to wonder how I can help him...
He opened a bag which he was carrying, took a painting out of it, it wasn’t really a painting, it was more like a three dimensional model of a traditional Iraqi house, with a number on the door, a woman with Aba walking, and someone pushing his small boiled beans cart.
“This is for you, I’ve made it myself. It’s just a small complimentary to show our appreciation for your generosity”
I held the gift. Oh... It reminds me of my family’s house, the one I spent my childhood in.
The child inside me laughed and applauded!
I told him that it’s my pleasure to keep it, and smiled.
Although it looked very simple, it reminded me of the good old days, and the pure old people who used to believe in their values, principles and morals.
Suddenly I remembered the criminal kidnappers. I wish I could cry at that moment.
I walked with him to the door, and he promised to visit me always, he brings up the memories of my parents, and the memories of an era that won’t come again.


An Iraqi translator came, accompanied with a British Engineer working for an NGOs specialized in rehabilitating water treatment plants in different areas around Iraq. The British man looked more Arabic than European, he was skinny, wearing eyeglasses and a T-shirt with an Iraqi flag on it. I laughed... and told him that I would take a picture of him in that T-shirt. A British block with an Iraqi flag! What a beautiful idea!
“If you were an Iraqi wearing a British flag, you’d let me feel angry”, I was joking with him, “but now I am happy”.
Thank you, I said, you made my day.
He asked for a water heavy metals laboratory, with a big amount of reagents… I told him that I’ll send the engineer to bring them from the storehouse. You will find them ready after two hours.
“but I’ve got the money on my now, and I want to go to the restaurant.. I want you to prepare a receipt for me meanwhile”.
I gave him an envelope. Put you money [around $3000] in this envelope and I’ll close it and put it in the drawer… and when you are back, you may open it and pay me.
“Okay” he said, while I put the money in the drawer.
I know, deep inside, that what he did was very naïve, and what I did was also funny! No one trusts others these days.
But he had good intentions, so did I.
I had a small glee inside; there is still goodness in this world.
That old man with his simple gift… the innocent British man and his… sacrifice. His coming to Iraq, don’t tell me it’s just for the sake of money.
Only being a foreigner is quiet enough reason for him to be killed in Iraq, notwithstanding whether he worked with a humanitarian organization or with an occupying army… everything is unclear now.
I felt the pain, the anger of the kidnappers… those ignorant evil group that does not think about nothing but itself… does not understand no language rather than killing, robbing and destroying… who’s putting a limit for this?
U.S forces arrest thieves or kidnappers and let them go in no time, while they arrest anyone who dares to throw a stone at them… arrest him for good.
Why? Is it a mere lack of planning, or is it intentional? Clearing streets from the opposition and keeping looters and murderers?
Many questions and no answers… at the 20th of this month, it will be a year since the war broke out... and we are still wondering, jumping from plan to plan…
If it was the Zulu clans who had conquered Iraq, I wouldn’t have blamed them.
But it’s AMERICA… the full-of-pride of itself and its visions, what’s happening and who’s supposed to answer the questions?
And who cares?
I called my relatives to know the news… the kidnappers called, and asked for $200,000… two hundred thousand dollars.
You’ll never know whether to cry or to laugh?
Who has got such a spare amount of money?!
Negotiations have to keep on going, until we reach a reasonable number.
The British engineer came back and took the instruments he wanted, opened the envelope and paid the receipts.
When he finished his Chai, he said “Shokran”…. (Thanks)
And when he was about to leave, he said good-bye in Arabic, fee aman ellah. I laughed and said, fee aman ellah.
I told the translator to put Quran when they drive to the south, hoping that Allah will keep them safe…
Both smiled.. Maa’ Assalama… Maa’ Assalama…
we reached the night … it was sad and heavy…
I’m still thinking about the kidnapped cousin.
No news yet.

الأثنين 1/3
صحوت متعبة...جسمي كله يؤلمني..
خرج الأولاد لأماكن الدراسة...وذهبت للمحل...
مزاجي متعكر قليلا...وانتظر خبرا يطمئنني عن الولد المخطوف...
جاء زبائن كثيرون...وشغلت نفسي معهم حتى أنسى قليلا..
ثم جاء رجل عجوز مبتسم الوجه....وحياني بحرارة, ثم جلس , ورسمت على وجهي إبتسامة مجاملة...
قلت عفوا ...ذكرني بنفسك ؟...ضحك وقال : أم رائد ..آني أبو زهراء !
أبوزهراء؟؟ ..من يكون ؟؟؟؟
ظل وجهي عليه علامات الإستغراب...
نسيتيني؟...جئنا أنا وزهراء واشترينا فلتر وعاملتينا بكل لطف ..وخصمت لنا من السعر...
ابتسمت...حسنا ..لا جديد..أنا أكاد أفعل هذا طوال الأسبوع...لم أفهم بعد...
كنت صديقا لوالدك , وكنت أزوره في المكتبة.....
وقفت , وضحكت..ومددت يدي ...صافحته ..وقلت له إجلس من جديد.. سنشرب الشاي سوية .أهلا وسهلا ..تذكرتك !
تذكرت إنه جاء مع ابنته الشابة بعد الحرب مباشرة...ولم يكن معهم فلوسا تكفي لشراء الفلتر..فقلت لهم إدفعوا ما تقدرون عليه...لن أعترض أبدا...ودفعوا مبلغا بسيطا...وكنت راضية تماما ...
كيف حال زهراء...أين هي ؟ قال تزوجت , وذهبت الى بيت زوجها ..وهي تهديك السلام...
أين تعمل ؟ سألته...قال كنت أعمل في الإذاعة والتلفزيون ..والآن متقاعد...الحمد لله ..لست محتاجا لشيء أولادي يعملون أيضا ..وامورنا جيدة...
الحمد لله..قلت ..وظهر في عيوني سؤال ؟ هل من خدمة أقدمها لك ؟
فتح كيسا كان يحمله ..وأخرج منه لوحة عليها مجسم لبيت عراقي قديم بشبابيك خشبية بارزة الى الشارع ..وثمةباب للبيت ...ورقم على باب البيت...وإمرأة تمشي أمام البيت تلبس عباءة عراقية...وبائع يدفع عربة يبيع فيها ربما باقلاء مسلوقة أو شلغم ..
هذه لك ...صنعتها لك في البيت ..لأنني ما زلت أتذكر طيبتك معنا أنا وبنتي...فقلت يجب أن أرد الجميل...
تناولت اللوحة...آه ..إنها تذكرني ببيت أهلي القديم الذي قضيت فيه طفولتي...
ثمة طفلة في داخلي ضحكت وصفقت فرحا...قلت له سأحتفظ بها إنها هدية جميلة جدا ...
إنها شيء متواضع ..قال وابتسم بخجل...
نعم هي تبدو بسيطة...لكنك ذكرتني بتلك الأيام الجميلة ..واولئك الناس الطيبن الذين ماتوا...وأخلاقهم وإخلاصهم
وصفاء قلوبهم...
تذكرت الخاطفين المجرمين...وددت لو أقدر أن أبكي..
ودعته...ومضيت معه الى الباب الخارجي ..وأخذت منه وعدا أن يزورني دائما...أرى فيه وأشم رائحة أمي وأبي..
وذكرى زمن مضى...ولن يعود...
جاء مرافق عراقي ..ومعه مهندس بريطاني الجنسية , يعمل مع منظمة غير حكومية ,لإعادة تأهيل محطات مياه الشرب..في مناطق مختلفة من العراق. الشاب شكله عربي أكثر من أوروبي...وهو ضئيل الجسم , يضع نظارة طبية على عينيه , ويرتدي تي شيرت مرسوم عليه العلم العراقي...ضحكت ,,وقلت له سألتقط لك صورة ...بريطاني يلبس العلم العراقي...شيء جميل!!
لو كنت عراقيا يلبس علما بريطانيا...لكنت أغضبتني..لكنك الآن تجعلني سعيدة !!
شكرا لك...انت ترفع معنوياتي..
طلب جهازا شاملا لفحوصات العناصر الثقيلة في الماء..يستعمل للمختبرات.وطلب عددا كبيرا من العناصر...فقلت له سأبعث بالمهندس ليأتي بها من المخزن...إرجع بعد ساعتين حتى أجهز لك الطلبية..
قال .لكن الفلوس معي , وأريد أن أذهب للمطعم...وأريد أن تحضري لي فاتورة..
قلت له خذ هذا مغلف...ضع فلوسك فيه(حوالي ثلاثة آلاف دولار)..وسأغلقه بالكابسة,وأضعه بالجارور...
وحين تعود تفتحه وتدفع لي منه ...
قال موافق!...ووضعت المغلف في الجارور...
أعلم في قرارة نفسي إن ما فعله ...محض سذاجة...وإن ما فعلته أيضا مضحك...لا أحد يثق بأحد هذه الأيام..
لكنه صافي النية...وكذلك أنا معه..
كان في داخلي فرحة صغيرة ...ثمة خير مازال في العالم...
ذلك العجوز وهديته الجميلة..وهذا البريطاني البريء...وتضحيته..وقدومه الى هنا...لا تقل لي بسبب الفلوس..
مجرد كونه أجنبي ممكن أن يكون سببا لقتله في مكان ما في العراق...دون الإهتمام إن كان مع منظمة إنسانية أو جيش محتل...إختلطت الأوراق...
وشعرت بالغضب والألم من الخاطفين...هؤلاء الفئة الجاهلة الشريرة التي لا تعيش الا لنفسها...ولا تفهم مفردات أخرى...فئة تدمر وتسرق وتقتل...من يضع لها حدا؟؟؟
القوات الأمريكية تقبض على اللصوص أو الخاطفين أو سارقي السيارات...ثم ما يلبثوا أن يطلقوا سراحهم...والذي يرميهم بحجر...غاضبا ورافضا إياهم.. كقوات إحتلال...يأخذونه ولا يعود....
لماذا؟...هل هي سوء تخطيط , أم مقصودة...تفريغ الشارع من المعتدين عليهم...وإملاء الشارع من اللصوص والقتلة؟؟؟
ثمة أسئلة لا جواب عليها....في العشرين من هذا الشهر ..يكون قد مضى على بداية الحرب سنة واحدة...وما زلنا نتخيط...ونتساءل..
لو كانت قبائل الزولو غزت العراق...فلست ألومهم..ولا أعاتبهم...
لكنها أميركا...أميركا الفخورة بنفسها ..وصواب رؤيتها للأشياء....ماذا يحدث ومن يجيب على الأسئلة؟؟؟
ومن يهتم؟؟؟؟
إتصلت بالأقارب لأعرف آخر الأخبار....إتصل الخاطفون وطلبوا 200 ألف دولار...
لا تعرف ..هل تضحك أم تبكي ؟
من يملك مبلغا فائضا كهذا؟؟
لابد من إستمرار المفاوضات والضغط عليهم عسى أن ينزل المبلغ الى رقم معقول....
عاد المهندس البريطاني...وأخذ الأجهزة...وفتح المغلف ودفع ثمن الفواتير...
وعندما أنهى شرب الشاي قال شكرا...
وعندما أراد الإنصراف..ودعني بالعربي ...قال في أمان الله...ضحكت وقلت في أمان الله...
قلت للسائق..حين تنزلون للجنوب ..لتفقد المشاريع ,,وهو معك...ضع شريطا في مسجل السيارة يقرأ القرآن ..
وقل اللهم إحفظنا بالقرآن ...عساكم تذهبون وترجعون بالسلامة...
ابتسم الأثنان ...مع السلامة ...مع السلامة.
جاء الليل...وهو حزين ثقيل...
ما زلت أفكر بالولد المخطوف...
لا توجد أخبار بعد....

Monday, March 08, 2004

hi all...
i`ve received lots of letters this week....join me reading two of them :)
this is the first one:

Hello, Fayza.
I am an American mother and I enjoy reading your diary very much. My youngest son, who is 18 years old, just returned from Iraq. He is a soldier. He was impressed with the Iraqi people he had the privelege to meet and work with. He was especially impressed with the strong family bonds among the Iraqi people. He made many Iraqi friends and he will remember them for his life. I was very afraid and frightened when he told me he must go to Iraq. I was very ignorant then of Muslim beliefs and traditions but I have learned much since he was living over there. I even read parts of the Quran to become more familiar with the culture and beliefs. I have five other children ages: 10, 11, 14, 20 and 22. I cannot imagine the fears and the terrors your children have had to witness. I know as a mother I would do all I could to protect my children. God willing the terror and fear will soon give way to peace and calm in your country. Islam is a religion of peace just as our Christian religion, in its purest form, is one of peace. Sadly, people distort the religion to satisfy their selfish whims.
I am also a working mother. I am a researcher for an international company and I know it is very difficult to work and be a wife and mother at home. "A woman's work is never done" is a humorous saying in our country and it is true. We must work outside our home and hurry back home, after work, to cook and clean and care for our families. Sometimes it is very exhausting but we must do the best we can to care for our families and teach them the proper manners and the peaceful way to live. When my son was in Iraq it was very difficult on some days to concentrate on my work but my family gave me comfort and peace and I trusted God to care for my soldier son. There are times when I think it would be better for mothers to control the government and then there might be peace and harmony.
I apologize for the length of my letter but I truly want you to know you have many "sisters" in America who cry with you and pray for your families that you may know peace and security soon. A mother's heart is the same around the world--we weep for our children and for their future.
God's blessings on you and your family,
this is the second one...

Dear Um Raed,
On the horrific massacres in Karbala and Baghdad: we are now seeing the worst consequences of the illegal and immoral war led by the US and the UK in Iraq.
These events are part of a big plot aimed at starting a civil war in Iraq in order to partition it into small states "DIVIDE AND RULE". The colonialists/imperialists (USA, UK and Israel) have organized this plot to balkanize Iraq in order to weaken it and keep control over it for decades to come.
Fortunately, from what we hear and read the Iraqis are aware of that and they are not going to allow such an evil plot to succeed. It is reassuring to see that Shias and Sunnis are sticking together.
I lived in Baghdad (Hay El-Khadrah) in the 1970's and I know how tolerant and respectful Iraqis are towards other religions, the constant references to either Shias or Sunnis, or Christians are created by the occupiers to divide the Iraqi people.
It is vital that the Turkmens and Arabs unite in the North to keep KERKUK Iraqi and not to allow it to fall into the hands of the traitor Talabani.
I read in the Turkish press and heard from our relatives who live in Kerkuk that the Kurds are now selling big plots of land to Israelis in the Kurdish controlled areas!
I also read that the US have brought in hundreds of white South African mercenaries and that the MOSSAD, CIA and MI5 agents are now very active inside Iraq. It is to be hoped that the Iraqi patriots will succeed in eliminating these vermins.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

February 29, 2004

It is now eight in the evening... the generator is running outside. I have a headache and I'm
sleepy, but I can't sleep. There are things bothering me and making me nervous. My day was crowded
with a lot of work and talk. Foreign organizations came asking for laboratory equipment and they all
gathered today, as if someone reminded them of me suddenly.

I would show the equipment to one group, explain how to use it... give them the price and then
make out a receipt for the buyers... then turn to welcome another delegation. I smile, and explain
and order tea for them- most of them like Iraqi tea. An Italian organization, then a French one,
then German... all of their projects are for the people. I respect them very much because they are
risking their lives for humanitarian work. I remain happy for long days because they remind me that
good hasn't been cut away from all humans: there are still those who believe and work for the
people... strange people they aren't related to except in that they are brothers in humanity.


As I was making out a bill, I was surprised to note that today was 2/29 and not 3/1 because I had
given the employees their wages yesterday. I sat in the morning counting the money in the safe for
the monthly stock check, all the while feeling guilty for not having done the monthly sale check.
I turned to my employees and asked, "Why didn't you tell me that this year is a leap year?" They
smiled and said, "We didn't know. Like you, we thought the month ended yesterday." I started
feeling happy- this was another day I hadn't expected. I checked my email quickly and printed some
letters while talking. I couldn't read anything. I felt that the day was boring and I wouldn't have a
few small moments to be by myself.


The phone rang and there was the voice of a relative. "Busy?" She asked me. "Yes." I answered.
"I'll call later" she said and hung up. I had a mysterious feeling that something catastrophic had
happened. I remained busy with the customers. The mobile phone rang... I looked at it... a call from
Jordan. It was Azzam. I asked him worriedly about his news, his family and Raed. He calmly told me
that everything was alright. I thought to myself, "Then some catastrophe must have happened to the
relatives in Baghdad." The anxiety began flowing through my blood.

There were still some customers when the phone rang a second time. It was her again. I told her
that her voice wasn't right... was there a problem? Talk. She replied, "A catastrophe." Her voice
wavered and my heart shivered. "My son," she said, "they abducted him this morning while he was on
his way to the university. They dragged him out of the car and took him. He called from his mobile
phone and told his father that he was in the trunk of the car...'I've been kidnapped by someone'
he said. We are all gathered at home- can you come?" I put my face in my hands and thought... here
starts the trip of agony and negotiations... how much will you pay? When will we see him???


We hear these stories every day and I expect it to happen to me or my kids. No one has protection.
We leave our homes with terror and anxiety and return with them. I don't know how the rest of the
day passed... I wasn't in my usual cheerful mood anymore. I apologized to the customers and told
them I was tired so that they wouldn't prolong the conversation and the questions. They were very
understanding and tried to console me. I felt a pain in my stomach by the end of the working day
and didn't even feel like drinking water.

Those relatives of ours own a shop... and they have modern cars. Those two things attract thieves-
especially since they don't live in an expensive neighborhood. Their situation attracts attention.
I called the boys to tell them I was going to be late, and went directly to our relative's house.
I locked the doors inside of the car and felt tense the whole way, imagining a gang would stop me
and abduct me... I'm also a valuable catch for thieves. As I kept thinking, my terror kept
increasing. I finally got to the parking area of their building and stopped my car. I calmly stepped down
and knocked on the door. One of the guests opened it. The house was strangely silent... full of
people and silence.

I said, "Al Salamu Alaikum... God willing he'll be back safe..." I wasn't sure what to say to
someone on an occasion like this. The father thanked me and told me to go inside- the women were
there. He pointed to the right and I went to the room where the boy's mother, her relatives and
neighbors were sitting. She was pale and her eyes were swollen. I held her to me and said, "Be patient
and pray to God that he may be back safe..." I sat and listened to her telling the story...

"I told him in the morning 'Don't take the car- I need it today.'" She said. "But he was stubborn
and he went off to college. His father had left before him to work, but he came back early and
told me that our son had called him and said that some unknown people had abducted him. He was in the
trunk of the car and they were taking him to a strange place." He had left the car near the house.
The car, of course, had been an old model and that was probably why they didn't take it. Had it
been one of those newer cars, they would have taken it with the boy. And now we were sitting and
waiting for them to call and give their conditions.

I drowned in my thoughts... there is no ideal way to prevent such things from happening. If the
boy leaves alone in his car, they'll abduct him. If he leaves with a driver- related or strange- no
one could prevent the abduction. We heard of many situations. Every story has different details
that leads one to believe that there is no ideal or standard way to prevent it... there are even
people who were abducted from right in the middle of their personal bodyguards- so don't tell me it's
a lack of caution.

I am convinced that it is a case of God's will... he does what he wants. I recalled a short story
Tolstoy had written about a man sleeping in the forest. A bee came along to sting him... it
hovered and hovered and there was an angel to chase it away- so it left. A bear came along or something
like that- I can't remember exactly- he passed and couldn't hurt him. Then came thieves who wanted
to steal his wallet... and somehow they ended up running away without taking it. Several tragedies
occurred, but not a single one harmed him. He woke up, smiled, yawned and said, "What a lovely
place this is- and how safe it is!"

Of course, he didn't know there was an angel guarding him, smiling and standing by his side. I
still believe in that angel... or I wouldn't be here... and I wouldn't be able to cope with the daily


I got home before dark. I called my relatives late at night. There had been a phone call from the
abductors and negotiations. They told them that they would call in the morning to give them the
final answer. How will the night pass for his mother, father and siblings? I stayed up thinking all
night... and waiting for the morning.

{traslated by riverbend }

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