Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Girl Blogging Iraqi in Baghdad

From Gunther Concept - Although I hate the American military presence in Iraq in its current form, I don’t even hate the American troops… or wait, sometimes I do:

- I hated them all through the bombing. Every single day and night we had to sit in terror of the next bomb, the next plane, the next explosion. I hated them when I saw the expression of terror, and remembrance, on the faces of my family and friends, as we sat in the dark, praying for our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the survival of Iraq.

- I hated them on April 11- a cool, gray day: the day our family friend lost her husband, her son and toddler daughter when a tank hit the family car as they were trying to evacuate the house in Al-A’adhamiya district- an area that saw heavy fighting.

- I hated them on June 3 when our car was pulled over for some strange reason in the middle of Baghdad and we (3 women, a man and a child) were made to get out and stand in a row, while our handbags were rummaged, the men were frisked and the car was thoroughly checked by angry, brisk soldiers. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words the humiliation of being searched.

- I hated them for two hours on July 13. As we were leaving Baghdad, we were detained with dozens of other cars at a checkpoint in the sweltering, dizzying heat.

- I hated them the night my cousin’s house was raided- a man with a wife, daughter and two young girls. He was pushed out of the house with his hands behind his head while his wife and screaming daughters were made to wait in the kitchen as around 20 troops systematically searched the house, emptying closets, rummaging underwear drawers and overturning toy boxes.

- I hated them on April 28 when they shot and killed over a dozen kids and teenagers in Falloojeh- a place west of Baghdad. The American troops had taken over a local school (one of the only schools) and the kids and parents went to stand in front of the school in a peaceful demonstration. Some kids started throwing rocks at the troops, and the troops opened fire on the crowd. That incident was the beginning of bloodshed in Falloojeh.

On the other hand…

- I feel terrible seeing the troops standing in this merciless sun- wearing heavy clothes… looking longingly into the air-conditioned interiors of our cars. After all, in the end this is Baghdad, we’re Iraqi- we’ve seen this heat before.

- I feel bad seeing them stand around, drinking what can only be lukewarm water after hours in the sun- too afraid to accept any proffered ice water from ‘strange Iraqis’.

- I feel pity watching their confused, frightened expressions as some outraged, jobless, father of five shouts at them in a language they can’t even begin to understand.

- I get hopeless, seeing them pointing their guns and tanks at everyone because, in their eyes, anyone could be a ‘terrorist’ and almost everyone is an angry, frustrated Iraqi.

- I feel sympathy seeing them sitting bored and listless on top of their tanks and in their cars- wishing they were somewhere else.

So now you know. Mixed feelings in a messed up world.

Baghdad Burning -- I will point out that Iraq before the wars starting with Iran was the most developed Arabic state. Iraq had a highly educated secular population with a good standard of living. There is now 60% unemployment thanks to a series of incredibly bad decisions by our appointed governor and fundamentalists and al-Qaeda are in Baghdad where Saddam had kept them out.

"God damn, we never HAD Al-Qaeda before this occupation... fundamentalists kept their heads down. Now they are EVERYWHERE- they 'represent' the Iraqi people on Bremer's puppet council..."

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