I sit here and try to imagine how I would feel if it had been my country which had been invaded, bombarded into submission, occupied, allowed to be looted and vandalized, my people brutalised, towns I lived in ripped apart, my countrys infrastructure destroyed, people I loved killed and those who lived, frightened, despairing, wondering if they have any future….
Iraq is the holocaust of our time.
It weighs heavily on the hearts of a lot of us.
Iraq is bleeding and it seems nothing can be done to end the suffering. Today I give you stories from the front lines of the new civil war that is Iraq, without comment. They express themselves well enough.
If you read no other blog, ever, read this
“Why, Dubai?” is truly what blogs are all about. Rejected tells her story of a professional Iraqi Woman who travels to Dubai and is rejected for, well, being profession, Iraqi and a woman. She starts from her times working for international companies in Iraq after the war and goes through her experiences in Duba. So far she has got the ideal job in Dubai and has returned to Iraq so that she can get her residence visa. The next installment will be the most painful and is yet to come. She writes:
Had I been a gypsy dancer, Pilipino escort or Russian club singer, I would have been received in open arms and granted residency in UAE. Being a decent Iraqi hard worker female made me lose my job in UAE and my future.
They have been coming down like black rain; at least where we live. The districts Mortars wars are horrifying and nothing like them, not even the war of the cities with Iran . The whole situation is savagely out of control. And the Mortars are causing permanent body damages as well as deaths.
The killings in our neighborhood have turned into a psycho-apartheid modus operandi. Whoever is of somewhat darker skin and spotted in the streets is considered a ‘Shrougi’ – (a dirty southerner) and shot at instantly. No IDs are being asked for! Some are being caught and had their head covered with a bag before being shot. It is becoming a very normal sight for everyone to spot dead bodies in the streets.
During the past 5 days the children did not see the roads. Neither schools nor universities are open period. It’s like a devastated Pompei visited by Nero. Yet some men are still going about their jobs. The fuel shortage is back to a crisis level.
The house of the deputy (Shiite) to the health minister was raided in broad daylight by men dressed in police uniforms – the official death-squads uniform – and he was dragged out and dumped in an Opal’s trunk and driven away. A day later a Mortar was aimed at his house but missed and hit his next-door neighbor’ house!
Woke up at some point during the night on a weird noise, or early morning was it? It was dark. My senses started to realize slowly it was war outside! Heavy shooting! It involved RPG, guns and rifles. In between there was a horrible sound of bombing. I was still not completely awake but those three years made us all experts. It was a car bomb, I could hear the echo, and I could feel the huge flames reaching up to the sky. Another run of heavy shooting. “Please God make me sleep again” I was praying to Allah. Recited some verses while my eyes were still open. Seconds later silence filled the place, like if it was a nightmare, only it wasn’t.
The past four days during which we were under siege were long and rough for Baghdadis. Anxiety and fear haunted us at our homes and a flow of horrible news made the prison feel even tighter…it was a material and psychological siege that will not be easy to forget. …
Terrorists and militias started an open war; the battlefield is our city and the fuel is innocent civilians as always since those criminal groups find it easier to kill civilians than to confront each other … We had no choice but to rely on ourselves to protect our homes and neighborhood insurgents and militias alike. In our mixed block the elders met to assign duties and make plans in case things go wrong. They decided that people should all exchange cell-phone numbers as the fastest means to communicate at times of action, it was also decided that if someone calls to report an attack on his home, everyone else must go up to the roof and start shooting at the direction of the assailants…
The situation was terrifying and the rattle of machineguns broke through the tense quiet of the night several times every night but perhaps the star of the latest show was the mortar—there has been a frenzy of mortar fire, gladly none struck our neighborhood but we could hear the stupid death packages pass by each other in the air across our neighborhood….
When the news came that the curfew was over and people began walking on the streets again there was a strange feeling that was particularly very strong this morning in Baghdad; despite all the rumors and fear from more wide-scale revenge attacks there was a feeling among the people that they must go out on the streets and live in all possible means. The most beautiful scene was that of students going to their schools and colleges despite all what happened in the days before.
Iraq Sweet Iraq overhears a common conversation:
- Do you have a low or a high wall at the back of you house? I mean can you easily jump to your neighbour’s house if necessary ?
- I suppose so.
- Good, that will be the women's escape . As soon as they attack you, get the women to cross over , then you and your brothers and father go upstairs as fast as you can, and shoot down on them from your roof, and remember son ; never ever open the door for them even if they shoot or even if they bombard your garden, don't give them an access.
At that point I sprang out of my chair and went to the kitchen. Abu S… and M … were having their breakfast and drinking tea . Abu S… was standing holding his cup and eating a cheese sandwich , and M… was sitting listening attentively and eating .
Here , I intervened saying :
- Abu S…, my oh my, I've known you long enough , yet this is the first time I see the “General Casey” side of you , what the hell are you teaching the boy !.
- ‘Hello Dear‘ , he said slicing some cheese and wrapping it with a piece of bread , handing it over to me .
– ‘ M …’s area is being attacked daily’ , Abu S.. explained, ‘And yesterday his next door neighbour was attacked . The bastards stormed in and the poor man was beaten up in front of his children and wife. Everything was stolen and as if that was not enough they took him away somewhere . I tell you they are taking the whole area in turn . A man has to do what a man has to do , one must fight for his house at least..
- ‘Who are these people ? do you have any idea’ I asked M…
- Who cares any more , you see our area has been practically invaded , people driven out , the houses left empty and any one can just break in .My area has been taken over by people who claim to have been driven out from their own houses . And they are forming now the majority and are carrying out raids on the old tenants. It is happening now everywhere .
- ‘And what are you going to do? , I mean besides the D-day plan Abu S… has formulated for you?’ ,I said smiling at Abu S…
- What is their to do!, I'll move maybe . The whole country is on the run .
Attawie gets an SMS from relatives in Iraq:
Thank God we are ok. But the situation in general is more than tragic. I believe that we have arrived at a stage of no return. Maybe you'll have to exchange your passports as there no longer is a country called Iraq. Hence, you'll have to obtain passports from either the Shia region or Sunni region. It is not worthy to mention that men entering these regions must be wearing head turban, and women in Booshi. It is also preferable to wear traditional slippers instead of regular shoes to avoid embarrassment, and “he who released his warning is not to be lamented if bad events take place. Regards to all.
All the people are leaving Iraq, My uncle and my aunts leave to Dubai.
My other aunt move from Baghdad to Mosul and by the end of this year I think we will have my grandparents in our house, Do you know I didn't see my grand parents for more than a year.
I don't know what to say except I think we are hardly live here and we are hardly keep going in this life, I wish some times that my eyes are a digital camera so you can see what I see, or that you have a magic ball that help you to see me and see everything around me, maybe that time you can feel my pain…..
Zappy is counting his lives:
1. on thursday the past I visited Sadr city to fix my car, I made it through the explosions there by a hair!! so yes there goes one of the lives.
2. on the same thursday and after the curfew I found out i had no ciggerattes left so of course I left the house to buy some, The Police were after me without me noticing and using thier Car speaker told me to take my hands out of my pockets, lie down on the road and then they sent a police man to check me, they thought I was a bad guy, I thought that they were the Milita. anyway they let me go and gave me a ciggarate and told me not to mleave the house again because of the curfew, did I mention that it was 9:30 p.m. and not even a Rat was on the Road., there goes another life.
3. this Morning I was waiting for a Airport Cab to take me to Baghdad International Airport, he called me in the morning to tell me he can't make it he was scared of my Naghbourhood, so me being me wearing my suit and dragging my two large bags and a backpack had to Walk two kilometers until on a empty scary street at 6:30 a.m. until I reached a Police car, the boys where so scared of me they started shouting at me to..yes to lie drop the bags and lie down on the street..again this time because I was wearing a Suit I refused to do that part and tried to reson with them, after some talk they sent me one of the police men to search me. “sounds familiar?” anyway they let me stand beside the Police car, and they even stopped me a Taxi. live number 3