Tuesday, April 26, 2005

War Memories

Since it is the 2nd anniversary, let me tell you some memories which go back two years, to those days of war. A time of total darkness, little water to drink, gunfire & explosions, total stoppage of any kind of communication & wrestling with the transistor radio to grasp any information…etc. Moreover, jetfighters & helicopters touring the sky, tanks wheels screeching at night add fear.

Times of sufferings make people feel closer to each other. We have been living in the district since 1962 & most of our neighbors have been here for the same time. So one can imagine how much memories we share. During nights of war, we used to gather, persons of different ages, in the street and chat till very late time.

It's nice to recall old memories. Recalling old memories shared together was one of the dominating subjects, especially funny events. Each one brings a chair with him; others sit on the ground, and after looting had spread a gun may be brought also. Everyone tells the others the latest news he gained, new ideas to deal with the problems arises in such circumstances. It was very normal that one of us suddenly runs away, because of fear, to take shelter from an approaching jet-fighter or missile voice.

Iraqis have been living constant fears of war since 1980. So one can imagine what kind of stress people here have been living under. And one is to be considered lucky to keep his/her sanity.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


In last June, France, joined by other nations, commemorated the 60th anniversary of the D day which led to end WWII. President Chirac of France said in his speech "Thank you USA", and for this I admired him highly. President Chirac set aside many controversial issues between France & US, and showed gratitude for the American help to liberate his country.

Nowadays, it is the 2nd anniversary of kicking Saddam out of power. Still, the Iraqis are not ready to show gratitude to the Americans. I can recall many Iraqis saying, during the last years of Saddam's era, that they would welcome any force who might remove Saddam out of power. Words like "We are ready to accept even the Israelis to free Iraq" are still fresh in my mind.

And suddenly, one can notice some kind of rage against the Americans who freed us, the Iraqis, from Saddam's dictatorship. It is well phrased by Eleanor Roosevelt "Patients are pleased on seeing a doctor, but on recovery they throw stones at him". It seems that the Iraqi patient is going to start throwing stones at his doctor, though it is a very long way to achieve recovery.

Anyhow, I think that we, the Iraqis, should show gratitude to US. As for me, I want to express my condolences to the families of more than 1500 American soldiers who gave their lives to free Iraq, and my admiration to those who were badly injured. Finally, I must thank the American & the British, people & government, for backing the campaign against Saddam. I hope that the impetus to achieve democracy, justice & freedom will increase.

Monday, April 04, 2005


"He is my neighbor; we were raised &went to
school together. And now we
work together at Baghdad airport. After the 9th
April 2003, Baghdad airport
administration was transferred to a downtown
building. In our daily paperwork we
need lot of files which were left in the
main building at the airport. So my
friend, mentioned above, was given an ID
card by the Americans who control
Baghdad airport zone. The ID permits him
to use his private car to shuttle the
files back & forth from the
airport to the downtown building.One day on his
way back to Baghdad, he
noticed that the car engine was not functioning
properly. He pulled off
& left the car to fetch a mechanic. As he walked
tens of meters away
from the car, it exploded. He returned back to the scene,
shouting &
wailing, declaring that the car was his. He was jailed by the
Americans and,
later, transferred to an Iraqi police station. And I'm ready to
take you to
meet him so you can hear the full story."

I was listening to the storyteller carefully & many questions started to accumulate in my mind. I asked:
-Was the car working properly when he went to the airport?
-Yes, of course.
-Where did he park it?
-At a car park.
-What kind of car park?
-A park prepared & guarded by the American troops.
-Is there any possibility that somebody sneaked to the park & put a bomb in the car?
-No, impossible, since the park is well fenced & guarded by the Americans.

The story leads the hearer to a conclusion says that the Americans put the bomb in the car. For me, it is a very strange story & it reminded me of lot of such stories during Saddam's period. But referring to the car owner as 'my neighbor' & ' raised &went to school together', kept me puzzled. So I asked more questions to assure myself that the Americans did such deed. Additional information, I got from the speaker, says that the place where the car exploded was a Shia party. Strange!!!

Later on, I was retelling the story to a friend, showing my doubt about it, when he surprised me "Oh, don't pay attention to such rumors. There are many others about the same idea. Do you want to hear another one?"
"Yes, please" I replied anxiously.
"Two farmers were driving their pickup truck to the market. It was loaded with lettuce. An American checkpoint stopped them; the soldiers asked them to leave the truck & detained them for an hour. After that the Americans released them & the two men took their truck. Little while after leaving the checkpoint, the following conversation took place between them:
-The lettuce is not arranged properly.
-Yes, I think the soldiers searched the truck.
-Pull over, I don't trust the Americans.

So they stopped & started to rearrange the lettuce. On unloading the truck, they discovered two time bombs had been set up to explode. They hurried to the Iraqi police who dismantled the bombs."

The second rumor relieved me!! Because it assured my hunch that these stories are the same silly ones of Saddam's secret service. On many occasions, during Saddam's time, we heard such ridiculous stories which tried to justify the crimes Saddam used to do. One of those occasions was to justify killing the minister of health by Saddam. The story said that the minister had given his approval for a deadly drug. The truth was that the minister had asked Saddam to resign to stop the war with Iran. Another incident when he ordered to cut the hands of several currency dealers whom President Bush received recently at the white house.

It seems that Saddam's secret service (Mukhabrat) is still active nowadays & trying to launch a propaganda campaign to push away from them the accusations of killing Iraqis in large numbers. But accusing the Americans is inexplicable.