Thursday, September 28, 2006


The Holiday is over; Long live death.

I am sitting in a semi empty office after my friends leaving to the unknown. One of them phoned me from the airport the other day, to say goodbye just once more. I said ‘look, please I am not in the mood to cry again, just go already’. ‘I'll send you a message every day’. The trembling voice came from the other end.
I sat the first couple of days changing the office’s rooms decoration. Rearranging things that did not need to be rearranged at the first place, just to keep my self occupied .The boss gave me a fresh load of work; It was the first time in my life I was thankful for that!

Abu S.. is really spoiling me, now he has less people to care about.

The situation is worsening, although that is hard to imagine, I mean what could be worse than people being slaughtered under the noses of the world, but apparently it can get worse and worse, there are just no limits to that. You think you hit the bottom already, but hell no!, the bottom is place hard to define.

This morning, a senior employee came in to say goodbye to us. He managed to get a job in Jordan. The usual curtsies and promises to contact us followed. The amazing thing is that, I got really upset, although the man was not a friend of mine . Why should that bother me?. I am experiencing the same worry and fear, whenever someone comes to say goodbye, what the hell is that ? Some sort of a new chronic condition or something ? .
After a bit of pondering and analysing, I realised what these symptoms mean. May be I am not really upset because I may not see them again, or that I am worried for them, as much as being concerned and worried about myself. If everyone is leaving they must know better. I mean it can’t be that all of them are crazy and I am the only sane one.

It is like they are all leaving me in a dark dungeon and the door will soon be locked irreversibly and, what next; screams, bats flying around me, rats crawling at my feet and … there is no and, the end is predictable . I am actually afraid, terrified from the future, that is a bad sign!. As Lawrence of Arabia said once; Defeat only comes from within you.

The other day we heard of an old employee in some Ministry, who was kidnapped. The kidnappers, in the process of demanding money were actually giving the wife suggestions to go to this or that neighbour or friend to help raise the money (they were beating the hell of the man to give them relatives names, who may help, after being convinced that he really does not have the amount they had in mind).

Another one; a doctor had his teenager son kidnapped, the abductors demanded a ransom. The father managed to get it. He submitted the ransom, they thanked him heartedly, ‘where is my son?’ he asked them, ‘Oh yes, of course, here he is’, they said and opened the car trunk and threw the young corpse at the good Doctor’s feet.

A priest in a poor church in Al Doura was kidnapped. The neighbours “Muslims and Christians” raised the money and gave it to the kidnappers. The old father was released finally, but there was not one single bone in his body in place, his legs arms nose, teeth, head ..etc were all broken . Well, I guess the kidnappers decided; If he is a man of God, now is his chance to test his faith! . It is Saddam’s dungeons all over again, I tell you .

Another One? Well why not. A family of beggars, that live in a shed on an empty piece of land in a middle class area, were nearly burnt alive by gunmen, in order to purify the area from them. Cause they are Shia riffraff , and must go back to the south. The family escaped, and no one knows where they are. They were harmless creatures, that made a living for the last 15 years from the neighbours, when they were too young to work by charity, and when they grew up by selling vegetables, gas tubes and bread. But who cares sacrifices must be made on the altar of the new republic of fear.

More? No I am tired.

What is evil anyway? Is it violence ? Is all violence bad? Can there be violence that is actually good? Can evil lead to good eventually?
questions questions that must be answered before my train arrives .

Many think that evil leads to good eventually, how you say? . Well it goes something like this “according to them of course I don’t think so” ; Lets say an old pervert abducts a child. He rapes, tortures and kills the child. Evil ? is it not ?. Yes, in the purest form . But no, it is actually good . Cause the brutality of the crime will make people more aware and more vigilant in order to prevent this kind of things from happening again . Laws will be changed accordingly and more perverts will be punished subsequently, and… well, that is good isn't it? . well, not from the child’s and his family’s point of view.

What makes a criminal?. Are people born that way or do they acquire evil on their troubled way in life? . I guess both.

And how do we recognize evil? How do we define evil and how do we define good? Is evil ugly? Not necessarily. Is evil dull? On the contrary; it is very attractive; remember Lord Henry Watton from Dorian grey, he is the most interesting character in the book. And Satan in The “Master and Margarita” ? He was the incarnation of wit, intellect and charisma. Even De Sade is thought by some people to be cool!

When someone is killed or mutilated we say that is evil. Does that mean that death is evil? , Pain is evil? . That is also not a rule. In some cases pain can be purifying and death can be a form of salvation.

I came also to notice that evil is always good in the eyes of the perpetrators. In other words one man’s evil is another man’s good. To kill and torture can be justified completely, in the name of God, progress, love, peace, race…etc. Even if we go back to our old pervert's example, the whole thing was good for him, but evil for the child. And that is very frustrating of course, cause if we cannot count on the criminal’s conscience and remorse to make evil stop although to a degree, what else can we count on? . More evil I guess.

So, how can this end? Where do we draw the lines? . And the most important issue is who draws these lines, also the time –era- in which these lines are drawn can be of significant importance. The holocaust was good and necessary according to the Nazis, witch hunting was good and necessary, Stalin’s concentration camps were good and necessary . to cut a long story short ; I am always good and the others are always evil. That is where it all starts and ends. And this is exactly what is happening here; all are right, and all are wrong.


Blogger editor said...

I edit, a site established before the invasion to give non-Iraqis - and especially Americans - a glimpse of life under war and occupation. I am working to bring back our "Iraq Diaries" section, which I would to be a section featuring Iraqis exclusively. i would love to reprint this post.
I'd be very grateful for your permission, and thank you for your good work.

All the best,

Jeff Severns Guntzel

You can reach me at webteam "at"

11:43 AM  
Blogger Um Haleema said...

"I came also to notice that evil is always good in the eyes of the perpetrators." I don't necessarily agree with this. If we are talking about revenge maybe that is the case for a while but it will haunt them later if they have any humanity left inside of them.

It is unfortunate that it seems as though too many Iraqi people were not taught to treat people as they would like to be treated. Such a simple, basic thing that we should be taught from early childhood.

I am so sorry for everything that you are going through. Do not let it change the good person that you are. You are strong enough to get through this.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous The Iraqi Roulette said...

Dear Um Haleema ,
What is going on here in Baghdad is an attempt to systematically drive people out . And it is beyond explanation it is just violence in the purest form . It is regrettable that all this is happening and the world is doing nothing to help . Regarding change, I think if you are really good there is no fear that you will change no matter what . People are still helping each other, still fearing for each other and want to live peacefully . The real fear is from people who are criminals to start with , and they have just altered their mottos and image to fit in the new time, these are the people that are trying to force their vision of everything on everyone else.
Thank you for your kind words, take care

4:40 AM  

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