Thursday, August 05, 2004

Friday, 25th., April, 2003
I wish the electricity would come back to Al-Mansoor area, so shops would re-open again, and we get back to work…I wish the city would become peaceful again, and life would be like it was…and better…that I would go back to my job…The house-cleaning campaign is still on…we washed the curtains, and the back garden. We cleaned the dining and guest rooms rugs. I took the plants from inside the rooms to the garden, as it became yellowish, and some parts of them were dead…the rooms now are spotlessly clean, after the war dust, and the sand storms.Today, Tarik Azzeez surrendered to the coalition forces…and the 55 most wanted American list is shorter, by 13.
Saturday, 26th., April, 2003
Resuming the house-cleaning campaign.. I do want this campaign to finish, and perhaps things would get better next week, by the will of GOD, so I could go back to work.
Sunday, 27th., April, 2003
The cleaning is still going on.. We washed the curtains of the three bed-rooms, and their rugs. We re-arranged Majid's room as it was before the war…During the war we called it (The Fortified Room), and all the family used to sleep there. The weather is dusty…I feel very tired…my whole body is hurting me.. And I still have to clean the kitchen's closets, and the book case, the closet in my room, and in Khalid's…I shall kill my self, of boredom…
Monday, 28th., April,2003
I went to my sister's house in the morning. She is a pharmacist, but I didn't find her. Her daughters told me that she went to open the pharmacy.I was so happy to hear this news…By GOD'S will I too shall go to work by next week.I bought some things for the house from Al-Amaal Al-Sha'aby Street in Ameriya, where I felt that life has started to move back gradually.In spite of the short-termed electricity current…but the movements in the markets became more active. Most people buy meat, vegetables, and dairy products every day… because refrigerators have been omitted from our lives… we went back to the ages before electricity.Khalid, Ra'id, and Majid went to Al-Fannar Hotel today, in front of Palestine Hotel, where they would meet Non-Governmental Organizations, and some old and new friends…Ra'id went to Karballa yesterday, with Marla, from (CIVIC) Organization, where they started working to count the wounded and killed Iraqi civilians during the war. Ra'id tells painful stories about children who played with cluster bombs, then the bombs exploded upon the, killing them, or filling their bodies with splinters.. Or cut their limbs...Many new casualties enter daily into the southern cities hospitals, the families of farmers who go down the fields to reap wheat or rice, and a cluster bomb would explode from among the plants.. Ra'id said that while he was there, eleven people, members of the same family, were admitted, seven of whom died, and the rest remained wounded…They started printing precautionary posters, warning the citizens of these bombs. I took a few posters to stick in the front window of our shop, and to distribute them to the neighboring shops. Such bombs were dropped upon Al-Furat District area near our house, the night the coalition forces entered Baghdad Airport, also upon Abu-Ghareeb area…where casualties occurred when people were cleaning the streets and burning the garbage, and the cluster bombs exploded upon the.
*Tuesday, 29th., April, 2003
I finished cleaning the house…Boredom… nothing new…Electricity is rarely here…*********************
Thursday, 1 st., May, 2003
There is a crisis about benzol and cooking Gas…perhaps they would be available next week
Friday, 2nd , May, 2003 Laundry, cooking, and dish washing, then cloth sorting. Tomorrow I shall start working in the shop, by GOD's will… the schools shall also start tomorrow…by GOD, I wish all would be peaceful and cool…

Saturday, 3rd , May, 2003
I started working in the shop. There is no electricity…but the shop is clean and tidy, as Azzam and Abu-Ahmed, our employee, re-arranged it, re-polishing the wooden desk, and the book case behind it, I was very happy…There is a noticeable congestion at the petrol stations. There are unpleasant stories from our customers, about killings and car despoiling incidents.
Sunday, 4th , May, 2003
I started working again…electricity came, to make me happier.The traffic lights are working in most streets…and most of the shops are open…
Monday, 5th , / Tuesday, 6th , May, 2003
I go to work…there is no electricity. I saw some traffic policemen, then they disappeared the next day. The policemen are unarmed, the Americans are forbidding them to carry weapons, how could they defend themselves, or defend an Iraqi under threat? And now we can't carry weapons to defend our selves? Who will protect us? The American tanks are roaming the streets, but they are not concerned with the killings or despoiling events…they do not interfere. What are they doing then?? Where is the army, where is the Iraqi police???
Wednesday, 7th , May, 2003
I stopped going to work…I made a strike. Only a gloomy feeling, and staying at home…there is no electricity.. Quite a crowed on the petrol station… no safety in the streets…******************
Monday, 12th , May , 2003
I went to work. Still no electricity… the streets are busy, there are no police, no security. The benzol is being sold on the street corners (Black market)… there is no cooking gas. The country is in chaos, accidents are increasing every day. I feel very depressed.
Wednesday, 21st, May, 2003
Electricity is on at the hours : 6-8 p.m., 2-4 a.m., the Americans are spreading news about achievements they have accomplished…but on actual grounds we see nothing… we don't know whether they are truthful or not… The schools are open, they are teaching whatever, the importance being for the children to finish their school year. Some schools were destroyed during the war, so, they merged the students with others from another school, and made the school day in two shifts, morning and afternoon... then a date for the final exams was fixed, the 7th. Of June. The universities are in total disarray... with elections... there are some fights between the professors, among themselves and with students... This week's slogan is : (eradicate the Ba'ath.,), launched by Premar...People seem to have gone crazy, each is ripping the other, aggressively. They threw down the statue of Ahmed Hassan Al-Baker, and the metal statues of the Um Al-Toubol Martyrs were stolen, by a gang who stole them and melted them down, as they say, in order to sell them. And the Al-Sa'adoon statue, of the Iraqi prime minister during the Monarchic period, was stolen also…his family is complaining and demanding an investigation. All senior Ba'athi officials were dismissed from state offices, and from universities and schools. Most professors and teachers were Ba'ahtis, whether they liked it or not. But no one is listening to their complaints. A state of chaos and aggressive behavior is infecting people against each other.
Saturday, 31st , May , 2003
Electricity is a little better. Benzol is still a problem, while cooking gas is starting to be available, but with an expensive price (3000 Dinars), before the war, a bottle was sold at (300 Dinars). A campaign is starting to collect weapons from the houses. My spirits are better. Azzam has traveled, and I go to work every day. The business is with private citizens only, there are no state offices or organizations.
Monday, 7th, June, 2003
The electrical engineer who was repairing my car a week ago, then disappeared, came to my shop. His head and hand were bound, on his face there were scars… he apologized for the delay, as an armed gang attacked him, and wanted to steel the car of a customer he was driving with. But the owner refused to give up his car keys, after he activated the alarm system, crippling the car, and threw the keys away… they beat the owner until he passed out, then left him in the street, it was noon time. Then they took the engineer with them, in the car trunk, tying his hands and covering his eyes, they took him to a house in a crowded, popular area, Al-Washash, were no Iraqi police would enter, perhaps not even the Americans. They beat him in punishment for not helping them get the keys… in the afternoon, an old man came, perhaps their father or uncle, the engineer begged him to let him go free, because he is from Mousel, and wants to go back to his family, and because he was blameless in the matter, as it was the owner who refused to give up his car. The man felt sorry for him, gave him a clean shirt, instead of the one that was torn and full of blood. They covered his eyes, then dropped him off the main street, where he spent the night at a relative's house. He came to say goodbye, saying he will go back to his family in Mousel, as Baghdad has become intolerable. I felt very sad for him, the story bothered me very much…I decided not to use my car from now on… I covered it with a thick cover…then arranged with the son of my neighbors, who was a state employee, and has now become jobless, to take me to work every day, then get me back at noon. ***********************
Wednesday, 4th, June , 2003
Azzam is in Amman on business. Majid has second term exams and is busy studying. Khalid goes to the university three days a week. Ra'id works with the (CIVIC) Organization to count the dead and wounded. He goes down to the south every Saturday, and gets back on Tuesday or Wednesday night…..My mind remains worried for him until he comes back…the roads in the south are not safe…there are lootings and killings too… I keep asking God to safe Ra'id and those with him, as long as they work for the good of people…Perhaps after collecting the information about the victims, they could demand compensations from the American government, for the victim's families…for houses destroyed…or family members killed or wounded.I go to work with the driver, and Abu-Ahmed, our employee, who is a neighbor. When I get out of work, I buy the fruit, vegetables, bread, and other house necessities, then they drop me home. I lost a lot of my personal freedom, and the joy of driving my car…but I gave it all up for safety. Most neighbors, relatives and friends put their valuable cars in their garages, with a thick cover, then started moving around with moderate cars, and a driver.I took the computer to the shop. Before the war, I used to take a course of computer skills and software, but I seem to have forgotten most of it…I enlisted in the institute for a new, intensive course, and in the afternoon, I arranged with another driver to take me with Khalid to the institute, then take us back home.The streets were forbidding, unsafe, and depressive. There were few students at the institute, while before the war it was full of students. But now that the conditions are a lot less safe, where are the job opportunities?Most state offices are destroyed; the employees stand in the street, or get inside the ministry, only to find no chairs or desks, so they gather daily to meet each other, then go home. Many rumors and tales have risen about the salaries, there are worries and hunger in the houses. Some ministries have been disbanded, its employees sat at home, with no past, and no future. The Ministry of Information, the staff of The Radio & T.V. …the Ministry of Defense, the officers, the soldiers and their families… Every day there are demonstrations and clashes with the coalition forces…people wonder: what is our fate, and that of our families???I don't know… the general conditions are obscure and depressing.
Thursday, 5th, June, 2003
Khaleel, my youngest sister's husband, is a pharmacist. He used to work as a general manager in the Ministry of health… He had a good reputation in the ministry, and used to help people a lot… now he is meeting with American comities to organize the work of the ministry…The situation is very difficult…there are no salaries for employees, the offices are burned…the hospitals plundered, but the coalition forces are trying to get the situation under control again…. We deem them responsible for whatever catastrophes that took place…there was a delinquency from their side, and bad management. OR perhaps they intended these catastrophes to happen…I don't know, but people are angry, asking: what are these thousands of soldiers doing here?? And every thing is falling backwards…. Khaleel, my brother in law, had a brain clot while working at the ministry...they admitted him to hospital…my sister is in very tired spirits…I went to visit them, he can't walk or talk…I felt very sad for him, he is at the beginnings of forties, facing lots of pressures…his wife said he will die of sorrow for what happened to the ministry, and we shall be orphaned, me and my daughters…she had a fight with him, telling him to leave the job there, for you will either die of exhaustion, or some malicious ignorant will assassinate you, thinking you a happy beneficiary. Perhaps he will travel abroad for treatment. Gangs are still killing and despoiling, every day there are new, painful, stories. Many families still have missing people, whom they are looking for…most of them went missing during the entry of the coalition forces into Baghdad… the roads were closed, so no body knew the news...perhaps they died during the fighting between the coalition forces and the Iraqis. People mostly are divided into two factions…some support the Americans and feel optimistic about their presence …while the others do not see good in their presence. Some resistance operations have started, and missiles were launched at the Americans…We say, it is still early to judge them…give them a chance, and we will see the truth with time. We will know if they were truthful, or liars.
Sunday, 8th, June, 2003
I started my typing and computer course…my mood isn't what it used to be, in former courses I was more active, more smart and cheerful…but today I find my self dull and frustrated…with no mood at all to comprehend the information …. I don't know, maybe the war changes people into the worst. The city is filling with new Newspapers…some of them are comforting, some are silly. Majid works with the (Al-Muwajaha = confrontation) Newspaper, which criticizes the coalition forces…. The coalition forces sent someone to the press office asking about it, and who writes in it…I am afraid they would take Majid to prison, I said to him: darling, we don't want any troubles…we just got rid of Saddam, who said America is democratic 100%?Perhaps they have democracy there, for their people, but I do not suppose they will treat us as they would treat their people…for us they are occupation forces. Majid says: I wish they would arrest one of us, so we could collide with them and expose them, where is the democracy???Oh, my son, why do you love trouble??? He laughs and says: Mama, don't be a coward, let us walk a new path…I find he is right…but I fear for him…I want no one to hurt him. And I don't want to deprive him from having his own experience in life… our generation was wronged…Yes; we studied, learned, worked, and succeeded, but we were deprived from the opportunity of contributing in making a better life... perhaps this is a new chance to move and craft our life all a new...I would love for Majid and his generation to own their freedom, and succeed in making a better future for their generation... I like their daring and enthusiasm… I pray to GOD to keep them safe, and faring.They go out every day with Cameras, and make reports with people, some times interviewing soldiers from the coalition forces, but with no ability of communication, because the soldier doesn't have the permission to talk to people…. The soldier obeys orders only, and doesn't argue. And this is a problem…there can be no communication between them and people as ordinary humans, who eat and drink and make friendships, then we hope they would go back to America and tell their government to pull its troops from there…I do not think they could do such a thing. Most of them come from poor families, who need the tempting salary. Why should he be concerned with the Iraqi misery???
Monday, 9th, June, 2003
A customer came to the shop, with some materials used in water purifying systems. I knew these materials were not imported individually, because they were missing from the market before the war, and only state organizations had them. He brought samples, and asked me if I would buy from him??I asked him first: where did you get them from???...confess, I said, laughing.Do you want the truth??? He asked, naively.Yes, tell me the truth…I said, in a high voice…there were other customers in the shop, and I found the dialogue worthy of hearing.He said he stole them from state organizations. Why?He said that Saddam Hussein executed his uncle, who was in the army…And did your uncle come back alive?? Or is he happy in paradise???How should I know?? He said. Then shook his shoulders: then what should I have done???.I felt angry, because of his great stupidity, and his ugly crime which he hasn't realized till now…My laughter turned to anger, I said: And what should I tell my maker on the Day of Judgment??? That I bought stolen materials from you??? As if I have shared your sin…He dragged his feet out, completely let-down…then returned, begging in the same dumb way: O.K….give a piece of advice, for a Muslim brother.Ha...ha...ha. I wanted to roar in laughter, but the situation was disasters, and wouldn't stand a laugh. I shouted angrily at him: And what have you left to Islam???I wished I would get up and hit him on the face, hoping he would wake up from his slumber. My nerves were burning…. I kept remembering him all day, remembering the dialogue with him, then my blood would boil in anger…I kept grumbling upon him, his foolishness and stupidity. The customers and employees in the shop were laughing, telling me not to mind him, he is scum… I was very sad, because this model was new on the screen of our lives, the ignorant thieve model, an enemy of himself and his country, and he doesn't know it.
As if some devil has touched up our lives…touched up every one, and they got mad. The government officials are fighting among them selves, Ba'athis and non- Ba'athis, top officials and minor officials…people on the streets are divided between a peaceful, fearful, person, and a brutish villain, who wouldn't stop at any crime, and who would stop him??? … No police, no army, no state…only a coalition force roaming the streets in tanks, as if parading them selves, not believing they really got here….living in a world which is not connected to ours…. We are all wondering: why did they come, what are they doing???No one knows the answer…maybe in time we shall find out.
Translated by May / Baghdad.

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