Friday, May 19, 2006


Another day in hell

When funny things happen consecutively, they seize to be that funny, they just lose the effect. When someone tells you that a smug slipped on a banana peel and landed in a filthy puddle flat on his back, then a women in a high building poured a bucket of dirty water on his head, then two kids decided to fight on top of him, then a cat being chased by a dog ran over him , then people rushed to help someone else passing by him , then someone decided to help him to get up, accidentally dropped him causing injury, an ambulance arrived to take him, on the way to hospital they got a flat tire, the driver and the staff commanded him to get up and fix the car….and it can go on for ever, you may smile but a genuine laugh ? I doubt it , cause it is just too much, it is exaggeration even if it had actually happened.
The same applies to a tragedy . when it gets to sad, even if it is true with no fiction involved , it gets ..what is the word .. ridiculous ? no I wouldn’t say that, it gets unbelievable, you can not believe that things like that can actually happen in real life, so dark and miserable; just like an Indian film, too many tears to be true.
What happened a few weeks ago was something like that, it was so sad it seized to be real. There is this man that works in a nearby shop, where I work, we heard that his father, a man of abundant years had died, the first question we asked was ; was he killed? , no no he is old, he just passed away. Then a few days later we heard a different story ; we heard that, his granddaughter ( the shopkeeper’s niece ) was kidnapped, a kid of about 11, the abductors demanded a ransom , of course the father and uncle were selling things asking friends to help them with the ransom . Four days later they managed to gather sufficient cash, they gave it to the kidnappers and the girl was released ; A very common story in today’s chaotic Iraq, but the addition, which ads that extra “ too much element” to it, was that the granddad being so attached to the kid actually committed suicide when he first heard she was kidnapped !!! .
A family wrecked .
We helped in gathering money with other employees and friends to help the father with the ransom sum , that is all we could do .
I was devastated for days, cause I actually saw the old man a couple of times with his son in the shop , a peaceful old soul he was . For days I was attempting to write it down in vain , I was too emotional about it . Finally, like it often happens with human beings who want to get on with their lives, I tried to find a moral behind the story, you know things like ; the granddad sacrificed himself , that’s why God was generous enough to save the little girl’s life , or he lived his life and he is happy in heaven now for his little one’s life ..etc.
I calmed down a bit as days passed , especially when the father came personally to thank all those who helped ( the sum we managed to gather was pathetic, but still our intensions were appreciated). He was calm and told us that the little girl is in a state of shock at the present , but he thinks it will pass, and the important thing is that she was not harmed physically .
Things were normal for a couple of days, just the regular bombing and killing in the streets , the worse was yet to come ; at home I was told a week ago that our close neighbor was kidnapped and his family is doing everything to get enough money to save him . My father wanted to visit them and check, but our other neighbor advised him not to do so , cause they may not want any one to know. My Dad sat for a couple of minutes and just couldn’t take the pressure : I’ll go I must go let them get angry with me, but I must see what we can do . The son of our kidnapped neighbor; a young man in his early thirties told my dad that he sold both his and his father’s car , a piece or two of his mom’s jewelry , borrowed from here and there some cash and will be paying the ransom hoping for the best . He said, that his uncle called the police and told them , doing “as the Adds on TV suggests”. The officer “or who ever spoke to him” just listened and said good bye : ‘Aren’t you going to come or something, I mean to investigate’ the uncle asked .
‘Well you told us the story that is enough what else is there to check, bye’ .

Anyway I was sitting typing the first tragedy this morning, when screams filled the neighborhood, I ran so fast to the garden I nearly flew , thousands of thoughts rushed in to my head in less than a second , It seemed at that moment, I forgot everything about our neighbor, I even forgot that today is a holyday and all my family are indoors safe, I don’t know why I was full of fear for my dear ones as soon as I heard the screams. I found my parents running in front of me to our neighbor’s house , we opened the gate , and God what I saw … I found the mother sitting on the floor, her cane beside her wailing and screaming: They killed you … they killed you . His young daughter looked at us weeping with astonishment as if asking rather than telling the neighbors, who were present- having heard the screams- : My father killed father killed? . The son was sitting in denial repeating; But we paid. We paid, we did pay them .
Everyone was weeping over the murdered, pious, respectable man , but what could we say else than …. We are here for you , may God have mercy on his soul , it is God’s will after all, God is with you …. I returned and I cried for a while , then sat down writing about it . There was another scream an hour or two later. I realized that the body had arrived from the morgue for the family to take a last look and say farewell -as customary - before he is buried. I ran up to the roof and looked over the wall down to their garden. I saw this top view ; his widow bending over the coffin, his daughter kissing her father’s hands and chest, the son chanting with the rest of the men : There is no God but Allah . My parents and the other neighbors standing around the coffin .
Five years ago in that same garden they were celebrating their son’s wedding; the mom was glowing, the father was all smiles accepting congratulations and the young girl was running around serving orange juice .Two years ago on one Eid sunny morning the father was standing in this same garden handing out plates of meat to poor people, while his children and their cousins were delivering other plates to the neighbors . My dad took the plate and shouted over the wall : ‘Thanks Haji .’
He waved back busily handing out plates ; Don’t thank me thank God for his gifts ( al shukur ila allah ) .
As I write now I can still hear sobs and periodic screams and they are piercing my heart.
I am writing this for myself , in case anyone who reads this blog finds it too sad to be true , but it happened in my life and I am writing it to remember .

Thank God they are here

If they weren’t here looters would’ve raided all ministries and hospitals for months, robbing and burning everything of use, like hungry locusts, but that did not happen, cause thank god they are here …

If they weren’t here anyone, who has a thousand year old dispute would settle it right in the middle of the street with Guns and knives, without even bothering to go to court ,but that did not happen, cause thank god they are here …

If they weren’t here weapons of all sorts and sizes would‘ve been accessible for months for everyone to take , to load trucks full of ammunition and store it wherever they wish, to use against each other with no one to stop them , but that did not happen, cause thank god they are here ….

If they weren’t here our country’s riches, especially oil would have been squandered and smuggled in the middle of broad day light to make rich opportunists even richer and to make the poor even poorer with not enough fuel to drive a car at days, but that did not happen, cause thank god they are here ….

If they weren’t here our streets would be like mountains of garbage and broken pavements , but that did not happen cause thank god they are here

If they weren’t here the best people of Iraq would’ve been shot down by scoundrels with no one to stop them or ask who is responsible, but that did not happen, cause thank god they are here …

If they weren’t here the country would’ve plunged into middle ages and stepped with confidence towards civil war, but that did not happen cause thank god they are here

If they weren’t here billions of dollars would’ve been spent in the name of reconstruction , healthcare and electricity, while nothing in reality is changing let alone improving, but that did not happen cause thank god they are here …

If they weren’t here unemployment would’ve reached over 70% and if you try to get a job you have to seek someone to endorse you and send you to the establishment that has your people , thus, creating Shi’i, Sunni and Kurdish ministries instead of Iraqi Ministries, but that did not happen cause thank god they are here

If they weren’t here women would’ve been threatened in the middle of streets and ordered to cover up and wear a scarf, or beaten up and even killed, if caught driving a car cause it is a sin for a woman ( Hurma) to drive a car, but that did not happen cause thank god they are here

If they weren’t here gangs would be roaming our streets kidnapping our children, women and men without anyone daring to stop them, but that did not happen cause thank god they are here

If they weren’t here bodies would’ve been found not in mass graves like in Saddam’s time, but scattered on sidewalks for everyone to see, but that did not happen cause thank god they are here

If they weren’t here every terrorist who has an issue, every foreign agent with his own agendas would’ve come here, through the welcoming wide open borders to frolic freely in Iraq doing what ever they wish, but that did not happen cause thank god they are here

If they weren’t here every neighboring country would’ve pulled from it’s end trying to get a piece of us, with the assistance and through their loyal fierce militias, but that did not happen cause thank god are here ....
What would've actualy happened if they werent here? You just have to remove the If ..... part ,and instead of the thank God ..... part place Why are they here ?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It simply is not possible for the coalition forces to prevent Iraqis from killing and kidnapping each other, or robbing, looting and bribing. There are only 150,000 of them and millions of Iraqis. You can't blame the Americans for all the evil in your country. It is a terrble situation, but you have to ask, why are people behaving like this? How can Iraq develop a competent and honest police force which will capture all the kidnappers? What would stop prisoners being able to bribe their way out of jail and go back to violence? Saddam is an Iraqi, his assistant torturers are Iraqis, and so are the people making your life Hell now.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi , how are you.
Well , if they have nothing to do with it , why are they here at the first place? I mean they are not here just to enjoy the show . If we take their side of the story, they came to find WMD and to confront terrorism , not to watch terrorists perform their latest acts.
Also, at the beginning of the war, we all stood and watched with disbelieve ,how looters were not only permitted to loot arms and ammunitions, but were actually encouraged ,and why were the borders welcoming every single lunatic in the globe for six months or more ?. Surely they could of stopped it, they were in charge back then ( and now too) ,there was no Iraqi government, no police, no army at the time .
No matter what the initial plan was , simple defenseless Iraqis, that were oppressed in the time of Saddam are oppressed and threatened now just the same.
Evil people have no nationality they are global , and that is why laws and regulations were invented at the first place, to try and control the actions of evil doers “a rather ambitious attempt “ don't you agree ? . Even in Civilized countries when there is a state of chaos , advantages are taken instantly , that is part of human nature unfortunately.
Thanx for you comment .

12:28 PM  
Blogger hala_s said...

I agree with you roulette,
I used to put the blame on us Iraqis for a long time, then I suddenly stopped doing that. Our faults are no differnet from other nations, our criminals are taking the advantage of the chaotic situation, and they are getting more and more efficient because they are not being punished, because there is no one to do that.
I am not going to say that Sunni and Shia loved each other before the invasion. But I will say we lived with each other and our differences used to be solved peacefully. The bloodshed that is taking place now is an American invention, and was welcomed by our beloved neighbours who is adding more petrol to the fire.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Um Haleema said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you don't pay "ransoms" then there is no advantage to kidnap. Sure, your loved one may die if you don't pay, but as you have proven, they die even if you do pay. Take the profit out of kidnapping and it will stop.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Meghan said...

Dan Cox -

By invading Iraq, the US accepts responsibility for the chaos that the state is in today. No, America cannot control millions of Iraqis, however, it was our responsibility to provide the basis for strong governance, develop infrastructure, and above all build sustainable security forces throughout Iraq. This is the price America must accept if we choose to be "state-builders". Tragically, the Bush adminstration neglected these responsibilities, choosing blind optimism over sound planning. See the recent NY Times article on the dismal state of the Iraqi Police Force, thanks poor planning from the Department of Defense.

Iraqi Roulette -

Thank you for your words. All I can say is that I am sorry, and you are in my thoughts.

6:44 AM  

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