Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Iraqi Police

Police all over the world is found to provide people with peace, security and safety except in Iraq, this perspective is different and in the contrary police became a source of fear and intimidation to the Iraqis.

None of the Iraqis including I ever think to ask the help of the police if they have a problem because if you do that you will be trap in other problems.

I was in a problem lately and did not have any other choice except to try the police, I contacted the chief police and told him my problem, the man answered me “ I will help you but you have to keep the matter secret among the three of us, I will refer you to a General who is in charge of your neighborhood, he will contact you soon.”

After 15 minute the General contacted me and said “ I will help you but we have to find a way to talk alone because I do not trust the police with me, so either I come to visit you home wearing a civil uniform or you come and pretend that you have lost your ID, or you wait somewhere and I come to talk with you.”

With such fear the family preferred that I leave my problem to God, he will solve it because they do not want to open another door of problems for them.

Every body walks or drives in Baghdad streets try to avoid police motorcades as much as he can, first, because of the extent of fear and panic they spread among people when they cross the street through their shouting with their loud speakers, their crazy speed which is always wrong side and fires they shoot while they are driving and then their guns which are are directed against the people all the time.

The other issue that makes you avoid coming close to them is that their being very sensitive target which means if you walk or drive beside them you will be either killed or injured or suspected by them.

At one of the check points set up in Zayouna district, a guy descended from his car to be checked by the police there but they were interrupted by a suicide bomber who killed both of them.

Actually Iraqi police lost all its reputation after the scandals of death squads who are touring Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces with Police commandos uniform, kidnapping and killing people during the time of the curfew set up by the ministry of Interior itself and when journalists ask the minister of Interior, he answers that he did not have any idea about that and that his commandos absoultly did not do such things while massacres are going on till now.

Moreover, after kidnapping, police begin to bargain with the families that they should pay ransoms and should be in dollars, no less than $10,000 in the best cases.

I was in a taxi when a convoy for the police passed by, some of them wore black scarves like Americans and others most of their bodies are out of the cars with their guns directed to the people, the driver looked at me and said “ I swear to you all of them are looters, look how they imitate the Americans even in their scarves and they want us to trust them.”

Police is supposed to be neutral not represent any sect of the society while in Iraq police touring the cities with Hussein flags and pictures of Al-Sader and Al-Hakiem, a matter which make them lose any credibility of their non-alignement to the common peopl who are from other sects.

Four Syrian truck drivers were transferring cement from Syria to Iraq, when they reached Baghdad outskirts they stopped by the Iraqi police who asked them to show their passports.

The drivers told the police that they were hijacked on Ramadi road and their passports were taken by the hijackers.

The police told them that they must record their losing of their passports in the police who would do the routine procedure adopted in such cases, and then they could go wherever they want.

After half an hour, US inspectors came running to the police department inquiring about the four Syrian guys, the Iraqi police told them they had done the required procedures and released the four guys.

The US inspectors got mad about the release of those four Syrian guys because they were top senior Al-Qa’dia members and they had been looking for them for long time, but they just disappeared in The Land Of Two Rivers.

Monday, May 29, 2006

He Is Janabi, Kill Him

Black-clad Shiite gunmen are spreading all over Iraq to revenge of Sunnis wherever they find them, making use of the continuous deterioration of the security situation and dispute over the ministers for Interior and Defense.

Janabi tribe is one of the biggest Sunni tribe in Iraq and since the US invasion to Iraq till now, Americans, Ministry of Interior and Black-clad Shiite gunmen are chasing its members either to detain them or kill them with drills under the accusation of being resistance or in support of the resistance in away most of the tribe members began to change their IDS because of the name of their tribe.

At 8,30 am today, a minibus full of passengers from Yousifiyia, a town south of Baghdad was heading to Al-Musaib district, as usual the bus should take the high way to go directly to Al-Musaib but the US forces blocked the high way and prevented any car to pass.

The driver decided to take the desert way which was the only alternative to go to the wanted destination but in the middle of the way, the minibus blocked by two cars with four black-clad Shiite gunmen who jumped to the minibus and began to check the IDS of the passengers, three of them were Janabi which is a crime now in new Iraq.

They pulled the three men who were between 25-30 year and lined them in front of the passengers and shot them with their Kalashikouf and runaway in the desert while the Americans are guarding the high way.

The same story happened yesterday with Jassim Al-Janabi who was a farmer in Yousifiyia and took a bus to go to Hilla when stopped by the same group and again killed for his Janabi ID.

I talked with a fake ID professional who told me that his work is flourishing in an amazing way since the formation of Ja’feri government till now. I asked him, how and why?

He said “ Sunnis are asking me to make IDS for them either to change their names or their tribes because they are targeted by these two things and some Shiite are asking me to do the same thing for them if they need to travel to the west of Iraq.”

15 Sunni officials at the ministry of Interior changed the names of their tribes in fear of killing and chose neutral tribes which contain both sects like Shimmari and Jubouri.

She Is A Male

“ She is a male.” Dr.Muna Abu Raghief, Gynecologist told Muhammed Taqi Al-Khafaji after checking his 18 year daughter Nagham in “ Al-Nua’maniyia" hospital, Nua'maniyia a district part of Wassit province.

Muhammed had weird feeling, mixture of sadness and happiness, he felt sad because Nagham is well-known in her town as a girl with her other two sisters and she in the high school now, he had never suspected her feminine behavior.

He felt happy because it is nice to have a boy especially he has two daughters older than Nagham and he and his wife had dismissed the idea of getting more kids after Nagham.

The Gynecologist said that Nagham had all the masculine organs and she only needed a surgical operation.

For more confirmation, Muhammed took Nagham to Baghdad to see Dr.Qais Kubba who is a Gynecologist too who also told him that his daughter is a male not female and she needs an operation to reverse her sex.

When Nagham went back to her town, she dropped her feminine dishdash and wore a trousers, cut her long hair and went to a barber to do a male hair style for her and she bought shaving machine for her growing beard.

She is no more allowed to be mixed with the girls in her neighborhood as he used to do before because now she is a man, she even left the girls school and applied for boys school but the headmaster told her that she must change her ID and put her new male name and sex as a confirmation.

Nagham who chose to be called Ali now went with her father to the IDS department in Kut to do what is required by the school but the director of the department told them that he could not issue a new ID for Ali unless he brought a medical report certifies his new ID.

Muhammed and Ali problem is the high cost of the operation which the father can not afford, he is a staffer at Kut Fabric company and his salary hardly meets the needs of his family.

Muhammed asked me to publish the story of his daughter in case any medical organization would like to help his daughter or his son Ali.

For further information, you can e-mail me.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Smart Student

Our neighbor’s son is at the primary school, he came asking my help in History lesson because his brain can not comprehend all these wars, revolutions, disputes, assassinations and invasions sustained by the Arab Homeland.

The lesson he had was about Mr.Bush invasion to Iraq in 2003, I told him to go and read well and then I would test him.

He came to me after few hours, very certain of his well study, to be tested, I asked him the common question,

Who is Mr.Bush?

He answered me without any hesitation, “ Bush is an Iraqi farmer who invaded the US in 2003.”

I asked him who is Abu Musa’ab Al-Zerqawi?

He answered, “ A US leader invaded Iraq in 2003.”

The second day he came to ask my help this time in Science and promised to be better in his performance than History.

At the end of the day, he came to me ready to be tested but power was off so we sat under the candle light.

I asked him, “ What is the use of the air?”

He answered, “ It dries the dresses on the robe in the garden.”

I asked him another question, “ What is the use of the date palm?”

He answered, “It provides us with power.”

I asked him to be specific, “What kind of power?”

He said, “ Electrical power.”

I turned to him and said, “ Habibi, if the date palm supplies us with electricity, Why are we sitting in the darkness most of the time?!!!!!!!

The next day, he came begging me to have a look at a composition, the teacher asked him to write on “ Mother Day”. I took the composition and began to read

“Mother takes care of us, she cooks our food, cleans our house, washes our dresses, helps us in our homework, she fights the Zionists and serves the Arab Nation.

I asked him is there anything left that she needs to do, he said “ She cries on us and beats herself if we are killed in one of the explosions in Baghdad.”

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Safe Heavens

I was listening to the presser for Bush and Blair last Friday in which they voiced their happiness that the world now is safer without Saddam Hussein and admitted the commitment of few mistakes in Iraq on top of which Abu Ghraib scandal.

The statement could be more accurate if they have put it in this way, “world now is safer for the entire globe except for the Iraqis.” I do not know if Mr.Bush knows or he does not want to know that Iraq now is the most fearful spot in the world for its people, and what Iraqis are looking for now is safe heavens where they can have some peace like other world's people and to indicate that, I will tell you the latest stories I got after the presser.

Captain Salam Al-Zuba’i has received many killing threats for working at the Ministry of Interior, the latest warning revealed impatience of the side who is threatening him in Yousifiyia town, south of Baghdad where he lives and left him with a deadline to reconsider his job.

Salam decided to challenge the warning and continue his work though his family has advised him to quit and leave the town.

Last Friday while Captain Salam was heading home, he caught by few gunmen at the main bridge in Yousifiyia, he got several shots in his head but it seemed that was not an enough punishment, he was hung on “ Al-A’naz” bridge to be an example for any one works with the government or has the inclination to do that as leaflets left down his body said.

When the news broke out in the town, no one dared to pull Salam‘s body down except his brother who ran to the bridge and disbanded the robes around the Captain's body, no funeral set up for him and he was buried quietly in fear of gunmen retaliation.

Today at 11,30 am, “ Al-An’z” bridge blown up by unknown gunmen who have mined it with IEDS though it is the only bridge that links Yousifiyia with Ameriyat Al-Falluja. But till now people in Yousifiya do not know who blew up the bridge whether Salam’s tribe, in show of anger for the killing of one of its member or the gunmen who killed Salam again in anger for pulling his body down of the bridge.

On this bridge, Sheikh Iyad Al-Izzi, spokesman of the Islamic party killed last November while he was heading back from Falluja after an election campaign there and again till now, his killer is unknown.

In Ba’quba, Sa’ad Al-Timimi was busy last Friday arranging for his wedding ceremony with his two brothers and other members of the family and part of the ceremony was to bring the bride who lives in Al-Muqdadiyia town, only 30 minutes far of Ba’quba.

In the way to the bride’s house, the three brothers kidnapped by eight gunmen who blocked the way in front of the groom’s car and took him to unknown place.

The next day, Sa’ad body found decapitated and left on the trash with his two brothers bodies who received many shots in their heads.

Till now the family can not understand why these three brothers killed and why Sa’ad head is cut?

I contacted a driver I know to pick up a friend’s family from their home to Baghdad airport, leaving the country for good as most of the Iraqi families are doing on these days and because no driver accepts to go to the airport only if he works with a company belongs to the Iraqi airways for the great risk surrounded the road to the airport, I contacted Muhammed and told him

I need you to pick up a family tomorrow to the airport.

Sure,Where do they live?

In Ameriyia neighbourhood.

Are you serious? who dares to go there, we have a warning that we will be cut in pieces as well as families with us if we step on Ameriyia.

Ok, can you pick them up from Adhamiyia?

This is worse, do you want me to die. Did you hear of the three men who were killed just because they were Tennis players and wear short pants, What about a person works at the airport, sorry I can’t!!!!!!

Tribes War

Yesterday, sectarian war took another shape and entered a new stage, I hope its fire won’t reach other areas in Iraq.

Clashes erupted between “ Al-Gharha” Shiite tribe, 500 person, and “ Al-Ubaid” Sunni tribe, 3000 person, both live in Jurf Al-Sakhar, an area part of Al-Yousifiyia town, south of Baghdad for long years.

Fight lasted for five hours, 19 person killed, 14 wounded of both sides, it stopped only after the interference of US forces and Iraqi National Guards.

The problem began when the Shiite tribe sought the help of “ Mahdi” army, now work under the governmental umbrella to ignite civil way by killing and kidnapping Sunnis in different areas in Iraq, and lunched an attack against the Sunni tribe who found themselves alone only with their private weapons to protect themselves.

Shiite tribe claimed that it mounted the attack in revenge for the Shiite passengers used to be attacked at the main road links between Yousifiyia to Babil province by Sunni gunmen.

Sunni tribe answered that they did not have any relation with that and in fact some of its members killed on the same road.

The situation till now is tense between the two tribes though the US forces are surrounding the place and people who live there expect the fight to resume soon because both tribes won’t feel happy unless they take revenge.

People in Yousifiyia blame the US forces in sparking this conflict by using Sunni man, Tahseen Al-Janabi who is neglected by his tribe for long time and put him as a director of police station in Jurf Al-Sakher.

The man did his best in detaining and arresting a lot of Sunnis there till he began a new role by which wearing Kuffiyia like Mujahdien and cutting the roads on people who were heading to Babil province to distort the image of Mujahdien there.

People there sat up an ambush for Tahseen and unveiled his identity to submit him to the Americans.

Instead of punishing him as people expected, the US forces released him and granted him retirement.

On the other side, people in Dhuliyia are crossing Tigris either by boats or by swimming to flee the US- Pesh Merga offensive launched against Hawija village, 5 minute far off Dhuliyia town part of Salah Al-Deen province, after 7-day siege, by which water, power and food are cut of the people there.

People are allowed to move on foot only, cars are prohibited and US warplanes are shooting any moveable object in the city.

I asked an Iraqi General at the National Guards force in Dhuliyia about the essence of the offensive, he said that forces of Pesh Merga came to the town suddenly a month ago and began to sit up check points everywhere, soon attacks resumed against them by the resistance there who killed two of them and wounded other three two weeks ago.

In the way to the hospital in Balad, Pesh Merga refused to obey an order by a check point for the National Guards there whom all are Shiite and not in favor of Kurds.

Pesh Merga opened fire against the National Guards, killed an officer and headed to the hospital.

The General said that he did not know what the Kurds do in Dhuliyia, they can not even communicate with the people there who do not speak Kurdish and hate militias on top of which Pesh Merga.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Haditha Massacre

The hospital was almost dark, one of the nurses guided us to the emergency room where many wounded were under treatment as their injuries were so bad.

I saw a tall, well-build old sheikh waiting outside with few other women in a terrible state as one of the family member was in the emergency room.

The doctor showed up and told the father that his 22 year son had lost his two legs in the explosion and he was under anesthesia, the moment the sheikh heard that terrible news, he fell on the ground and pulled down his kuffiya and burst into tears, mourning the fate of his son who was a student at the college of nursing, other women joined the sheikh and began a session of weeping.

The scene of the sheikh was so emotional particularly when he pulled his kuffiyia, something Iraqi sheikhs do not do unless they are hurt deeply.

I sat beside the sheikh and started to cry with him not only for his son but for his humiliation in the hospital.

That was in a bloody rainy day when US warplanes missed a convoy for an Iraqi army in Al-Sha’ab district in Baghdad during the war of 2003 and threw all its bombs on a residential area there.

I ran with four journalists to the site of the attack while it was raining heavily, in a way we all got wet, crowd of people were gathering round the causalities helping the ambulance men to evacuate them.

Lakes mixed with blood and water were here and there, shops were still burning, we ran to Al-Zaherwi hospital in Sader city after the ambulance man told us that he was heading there.

It was not easy to reach the hospital with sounds of bombs falling everywhere in Baghdad, roads were full of water, in a way cars were nearly sinking and hardly able to move.

All the days of the war I was praying to God to see the day when the sound of the US bombs would die and would have some peace like other people in the world.

I did not know that these three weeks were only a prelude for another decade- long war and that hundred of the Iraqi sheikhs would sit and cry the same way that sheikh did during the war.

Last November, an IED went off against a US convoy was patrolling in Haditha, a city part of Ramadi province west of Iraq at the main road and led to the killing and injury of some of the US soldiers.

As usual people climbed the roofs of their houses to look at the damaged convoy but they were under complete shock when more than 20 US soldiers ran towards houses which were far of the site of the attack and surrounded them in a cowboy show to commit a new massacre against the families live there under the accusation that the attackers went inside these houses.

The soldiers broke in the first house, an old mother wanted to question them but they did not give her the chance to do that, they ran inside to kill four of her sons one after the other.

The US vampires did not feel enough, they went to another house where they killed 14 member of one family including women and kids and left them sinking in their blood and no one was allowed to go inside to help.

The US massacre did not end with these 18 person but continued near an intersection where a taxi with four male students were heading to Al-Anbar university, the US soldiers took them out of the taxi and gave each one of them a bullet in his head and then went to their base in Haditha.

The entire city was shocked by that massacre and soon gathered a protest in front of the US base, the commander there told them he would open an urgent investigation but in fact he kept the massacre secret as if nothing has happened, thinking that every thing can be settled by a compensation and saying “We are sorry, we did not mean it.”

Tens of Iraqi sheikhs who gathered in the funeral pulled their kuffiyas and cried for the massacre of their sons and vowed to revenge for their blood even after ages.

The First Square

Few days after the end of the war in 2003, with the spread of looting and kidnapping under the auspice of the US forces who were watching with a smile the feverish campaign of destruction and burning which maintained all the Iraqi official institutions except the ministry of Oil, and with the absence of police and army, people found themselves obliged to protect themselves by themselves.

In every street in any neighborhood in Baghdad, trunks of trees, big barrels filled with dust and other kinds of metal barriers were put to block the streets, civil committees formed with the help of the Imams and tribal leaders to guard neighborhoods during the day and night with private guns to spare their families the danger of the killing and kidnapping gangs.

Large number of Iraqi women started to put scarves in fear of Islamic movements and many cases of killing and kidnapping took place against women who were not wearing hijab, in a way even Christian women began to wear hijab either because of threats they received or because some of them killed for this reason.

Now, after three years, and with all this pompous talk we hear by the Iraqi government and US administration about the increasing number of the Iraqi security forces and army and their mounting ability in controlling the Iraqi provinces, I found myself doing the same stories I did in 2003, in a way I know all the details but the amount of fear is much more than before among people and the extent of crimes have exceeded all limits.

Is this a coincident or it is something planned that we have been moving in the same square all that time, and moreover we are running back to the first step.

I say that because now, if you tour Baghdad’s neighborhoods, you will find 90% of them are blocked by trees trunks, barrels and big stones and men are guarding them with their private guns and they are always in a state of alert to confront death squads in case they storm their neighborhoods, snatch some people and then their bodies would be found in the trash.

I say that now because I found myself doing the same story about women who are threatened and killed just because they do not wear hijab or they drive cars. Only yesterday, a legal inspector told me that four women found dead in Hay Al-Jihad with shaved hair because they were driving cars and not putting hijab.

Eight kids between 12-15 year shot on their heads in Ameriyia and Hay Al-jihad in Baghdad because they were wearing short pants, by two ”Opel” cars carrying few men hiding their faces with Kufiyia.

By chance a patrol for keeping order forces were passing by and saw the massacre and chased the cars, one of the “Opel” car was captured and for the surprise of the forces, when they took off their kufyias, they found that they were all between 14-16 year.

All the pharmacies in these two districts in addition to Al-Yermouk, Jamia’ and Mansour are warned of selling any Iranian products, or they will be killed and their pharmacies will be blown up.

All the people in these neighborhood are informed that any person uses Iranian cooling device called “ Sacht” or sell it, will be killed immediately, these devices are used by the Iraqis because they operate on local generators used in most of the Iraqi neighborhoods now as a result of luck of national power and because of the unbearable heat in Baghdad nowadays.

My friend added that these neighborhoods are declared as Emirate for the resistance there and to be exclusive for Sunnis, ethnic cleansing is very active there to kick out Shiite of these places.

If the kid who wears the short pant is lucky, he will be punished with cables and warned of doing such thing again, one of these kids said that the gunmen told him when they captured him “ Hey you, you are A’ni “ From A’na city in Ramadi” how do you claim you are a real man while you are wearing such shameful pants?!!”

The inspector told me that he thinks that all these crimes are committed under the auspice of the US forces who were patrolling these districts but these gunmen did not attack them, yet, they attacked the innocent kids and women.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Revenge

Suha Abdul Sahib, daughter for a Sunni mother and Shiite father,20, very cute and beautiful girl recently married to a Shiite police officer who killed himself to get her though there was a kind of family objection to this marriage because she was supposed to get married to her cousin.

But Hassan Ali, the police officer kept pressing and did not spare any tribal means to convince the family to accept him as a husband for Suha.

Hassan succeeded in his efforts and he got married to the woman of his dreams and took her to live with his family in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad.

After the formation of Ja’feri government, scandals of the ministry of Interior’s secret prisons for torturing Iraqis particularly from Sunni sect began to show up on the surface after two months of the government resumption of its work, pictures of people tortured with drills and electricity were everywhere in Baghdad.

Few people were able to survive out of the massacres of the prisons and only after a huge campaign made by the Human Rights organizations and US forces who voiced their anger for such barbarian acts.

Those people who were set free after long months of torture in these prison were able to recognized Hassan as one of the police officer who used to torture them in these prisons and decided to revenge of him.

The house was under intensive watch and the plan was set up to make Hassan taste some of the torture he used to spell on these prisoners and to be in shame all his life.

Suha who knows nothing about her husband work only that he is a police officer, was in her way to go to her family house when she was surround by two cars full of gunmen who blocked the way in front of her, put her in their car and runaway.

After few days, Suha was thrown back at the front door of her husband’s house but in a terrible condition and torn cloths.

Since that day, Suha told her husband that she can not live with him any more because she can not stand him any more and because she is broken completely.

Suha lives now with her family, does not accept to see any man even her brother, absent minded all the time and when her mother tries to speak with her she keeps crying and does not accept to talk about what has happened to her.

National Reconciliation

I was listening to the presser conducted by the new Iraqi premier, Nouri Al-Malki, in which he emphasized his willingness to promote a national conciliation, in a bid to ease the sectarian congestion storming Iraq now.

It is a great initiative and Iam sure every common Iraqi is waiting for but Mr.Malki killed it in its bed when he insisted on keeping former minister of Interior” Jabbur Solagh” in the new government though he is absolutely unwanted by the Sunnis and in fact one of the reasons that pushed Sunnis to join the political process was to kick Solagh out of the government for the horrible atrocities perpetuated by his ministry against Sunnis.

One of Mr.malki fatal mistake as Sunnis say now, was granting “ Solagh” the ministry of Finance, in a gesture they considered as a reward for the mass killing carried out against Sunnis by him when he headed the ministry of Interior under Ja’feri government.

After destroying one of the main pillars of a state was called Iraq by his bad performance at the previous ministry and hepled in igniting a civil war , now Solagh will devote the ministry of Finance for funding all Shiite militias by his new post.

This is what the Sunni are talking about now and how upset they are of such act which reveals a childish style of teasing others.

Younis Al-Rauba’i, the Shiite man I talked about in my story “ killing Masters”, the owner of the shop in a district in Baghdad called “ Al-Kam” who asked the son of his Sunni assassinated friend “ Khaliel” to come and work with him in his shop after losing his father six months ago, killed yesterday.

Khaliel was assassinated in Younis shop twenty days ago and Younis forced to leave his house in Al-Kam after receiving a flier ordering him to leave his house which he has been leaving in for 40 year now.

Younis decided to rent a house in another neighborhood in Baghdad and one of his Sunni friends offered to rent his house in “ Al-Kam” to help him afford the high rent he has to pay in the new neighborhood.

The Sunni friend was also threatened to leave the house of his Shiite friend or he would be killed soon, so he did.

Younis and his wife had to go to their old house, at least ,to water the trees in their garden because there was no one in the house to do that as the wife told me recently.

Three days ago, a relative to the family carried a message to Younis warning him of coming again to his shop otherwise he will be killed like Khaliel, Younis did not yield to the threat and said “ It is my shop, I’ve been there for 40 year, no one has the right to kick me out of my shop, how can I earn the living of my family?”

Yesterday night, Younis took his wife and his granddaughter and went to his shop to work while his wife went to their old house, in the way back home at the high way of
“ Muhammed Al-Qassim” at 9,30 pm, Younis car was chased by a car with four gunmen who sprayed Younis car with fire, he tried to shoot against them but he fell dead when a bullet stayed in his throat.

Younis wife injured severely in her shoulder and breast while the granddaughter who was sitting at the back seat survived miraculously but she took her mobile and started to contact the family about the assassination of her grandfather and that they are still in the car on the high way.

The latest rumor circulates now among the Iraqis that soon Baghdad will witness streets fighting especially after news published on the Iraqi newspapers saying that the ministry of Finance has moved all its treasure to the green zone, as a precautionary procedure to the crazy deterioration in the security in Baghdad.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Suicide Doctor

Muhammed’s family was so glad when he admitted in the college of Medicine, Baghdad university few years ago. He was the only family member who was able to fulfill his mother dream to have a doctor in the family.

Few months ago, Muhammed had to be trained at the forensic department at the Medical city hospital in Baghdad part of his study, but he started to have some psychological problems because of his exposure to the tens of mutilated bodies submitted to the forensic department due to the deterioration of the security in Baghdad, in addition to the victims of car bombs and IEDS, whom most of them charred or injured in an eerily way.

Muhammed Ismael, this is his full name, stopped his training and sat at home because he could not continue any more, the family decided to take him to a psychotherapist to see what is wrong with him and how to find a solution for that problem which was posing a great threat to his future as a doctor.

The doctor advised the family to let Muhammed have a vacation and to be taken away of his training site.

Muhammed who used to go out everyday before, got fed up of sitting all the time at home doing nothing, he started to quarrel with the family to let him go out as he feels suffocated of being imprisoned at home all the time.

The family understood Muhammed’s demand and began to take him out but only to be with his father or one of his brother, in fear that he might runaway or get lost as he little confused about locations after falling sick.

In one of the evenings while Muhammed was sitting at the front door of his house, his brother went inside to bring something but when he got back he did not find, he asked all their neighbors, friends and relatives, no one knows where did Muhammed go?

The family did not give up hope in finding Muhammed but all their efforts did not help in finding him, till the family received a phone call from the forensic department to come and speak with the doctor there.

When the father sat to talk with the doctor and see what was the reason behind the phone call, the doctor showed the father a CD and a picture of Muhammed.

The CD was for Muhammed putting on an explosive vest round his west and carrying out a suicide bombing operation in one of the neighborhood in Baghdad and a picture for him after the operation as a dead body.

The doctor told the father that he found the CD at the forensic department but he does not know who brought it here.

Funeral for the suicide doctor set up in Hay Tunis in Baghdad without Muahmmed body but with a black sheet mourning the end of Dr.Muhammed Ismael.

The New Iraqi Government

Close to the statue of Saddam, while some Iraqis and US forces were busy to pull down the statue, immediately after the US soldiers stormed “Palestine” hotel in Baghdad in April 8, 2003, a big crowd of Iraqi men assembled in a unique speed and started a beating session with a chant “ In the name of God, we will never forget you, Hussein.”

I was watching with other journalists and Iraqis what was going on in “ Al-Firdous” square, I could understand all pictures of reactions at that moment, some people were shouting out of joys, others helping in bringing the statue down but could not find any interpretation for that beating session because such kind of sessions held in sorrowful occasions, Shiite must be happy for the toppling of Saddam so why they were beating themselves?!!!!!

The other amazing feature of that Iraqi crowd was the absence of Iraqi women, I looked around I did not find any Iraqi woman, if Iam not wrong, I was the only Iraqi woman at that day, only because I was working with foreign journalists.

Most of the common Iraqis did not know that with the end of Saddam Hussein ruling, Shiite and Sunni religious parties will climb their shoulders and tighten the robe on their necks under tens of Islamic slogans, even before they take a breathe of the last three wars and the real victim will be for sure the Iraqi woman.

Only yesterday I got the explanation for that beating session I was looking for all that time, I found the explanation in the five posts granted to the Iraqiyia list in the new Iraqi government, the only list that contains Iraqis who believe in their Iraqi sect not Shiite or Sunni or Kurdish sect they belong to, and how sects lists swallowed all the other posts with great victory.

It was the best and most sad indication for the retreat of Iraqi sect and the incursion of the minorities sects governed the life of the Iraqis after the US invasion of Iraq, Iam really worried that soon we will have to change our Iraqi ID’s with Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish ID’s, because on these days no one feels proud of his being Iraqi but he is ready to fight and die for the sake of his sect.

The two posts granted to two Iraqi women was an explanation for the absence of the Iraqi woman in that crowd. Iam sure these two posts were meant to answer any question about the position of the Iraqi woman in new Iraq.

Stemming from the belief that all evils come from a creature called woman, posters flooded Iraqi universities, hospitals and ministries after the US invasion, calling upon woman to be like Virgin Mary and Fatima Al-Zahera, daughter of prophet Muhammad and pictures of women who do not wear hijab tortured in the hell with a curse, and none of these posters bothered to call upon the Iraqi man not to glance at woman or chase her wherever she goes or kill with cold blood his Iraqi brother.

I recalled the scene of beating session I saw in the square again and found another interpretation for it yesterday. It was a beating session for the resumption of the old habit before Islam by Arab tribes which is the burial of female the moment she born.

I was one of the Iraqis who were waiting to see a democratic parliament in Iraq represents all the components of the Iraqi people where every Iraqi will have an MP who can convoy his voice to the government, but not to have a parliament dominated by turbans, Abaya and scarves with a condition that they must cover the chin.

Most of my friends voiced their fear of the future in Iraq because if they were able to stand the previous government with all its sectarian stamp, in hope soon the six months would be finished, it is so difficult now to stand such kind of government for four years.

Nobody thought that the US invasion to Iraq will breed a government that is pulled by Shiite from one side and Sunni and Kurds from another side, and within the first session quarrel erupted as some Sunnis were upset of the entire process of forming the government, in a way they withdrew with anger.

I was in Beirut last month and really shocked by the way young Lebanese were introducing themselves to me when they know that Iam Iraqi, the young guy would tell me with a big smile, “ Iam Shiite, you are Iraqi?.” I was waiting for them to tell me that they are Lebanese, but no one did that, what a disaster!!!!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Romantic Stories

Like a cup of cold water in a hot Iraqi summer was the idea of re running the episodes of Syrian love poet “ Nizar Qabani” on Dubai satellite, I enjoy every minute with the hero and his delicate romantic poems. It helps me a little to forget the horrible reality I face everyday.

I thought Iam the only Iraqi watching this episodes but I discovered that most of my friends, relatives and neighbors do, it is an encouraging sign indicates that Iraqis are still interested in love stories despite all that governance of hatred and killing of their lives.

Then, Iraqi special romantic episodes began to flood on me, my friend in Ba’quba contacted asking for help, I asked him

What is the matter?

I need a human rights organization to contact Sulaimaniyia security directorate?

Why? What is the story?

My aunt is a teacher, she is from Ramadi married to a Kurdish doctor from Sulaimaniyia for ten years now. She was arrested by security forces there under the accusation of supporting the resistance, just because she is from Ramadi.

Then ?

She was kept in the prison in Sulaimaniyia for twenty one day and then released. She and her husband decided to leave and come to Ba’quba.


She went to the school in her new neighborhood to work in as a teacher, the headmaster did not let her resume her work unless she brings a document proves her release from the prison.


Her husband went to bring the document in fear that she will be arrested again but for five days now, we can not find him, even his brothers in Sulaimaniyia lost his trace since he has gone to the security directorate and my aunt is getting mad.

Ok, I will contact the chairman of the human rights organization in Kirkuk, Khalid Al-Izzi, I know he is good in such cases.

Mr. Khlaid, How are you?

Iam very bad.


Yesterday night, operations and emergency forces controlled by Kirkuk governor Abdul Rahman Abdul Fatah, Kurdish lawyer, raided the headquarter of our organization, destroyed its contents and humiliated the guards.


The organization took the responsibility of distributing cooking gas tubes among people, I gave every one his share and finish all the 280 tube, but this has upset the governor because what is happening every time, after distributing 20 tube among people, governor forces would keep shooting in the air to scare people and 260 gas tube will be confiscated by the governor to use them as he likes. I will hold a press conference after two hours on this issue.

I told Khalid my friend’s problem and if he can help, he said “ I know the reason, tell him not to worry, five prisoners ran away of Sulaimaniyia prison last week and Kurdish security forces are arresting any one comes to inquire to the directorate as a precautious procedure.”

Shouts and gun fires broke the silence of the neighborhood, everybody went out to see what is going on?

A quarrel erupted between two families, Shiite and Sunni, the reason was dispute between their kids, each one told the other, “ I will show you who we are and who you are?”

Within half an hour, the neighborhood turned to a battle field, Shiite family brought three mini buses loaded with people from Sader city equipped with hand grenades and light weapons if not drills, they climbed the roof and began shooting against the Sunni house.

After few minutes two mini buses loaded with men equipped with US guns jumped out of the buses and stood in front of the Shiite family house shouting, “ Hey, you coward, we are Sunni terrorists from Hawija, show up if you are men.”

When the Shiite family fired the first barrage of shooting in the air from the roof, Sunni men answered with fires that shaken the entire neighborhood and destroyed the front wall of the roof for the Shiite family.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What Shall We Do?

Today, my telephone kept ringing most of the time, receiving phone calls from my friends who do not wear hijab and drive cars, asking same question “What shall we do?”

I know the reason behind this fear and anxiety, I heard early in the morning that two women were driving their cars in Al-Yermouk district in Baghdad shot dead and other three were wearing trousers in Ameritiya district which is supposed to be part of Zerqawi monarchy” Imara” in Iraq including other districts like Dura, Ghazaliyia and Hay Al-Jihad.

A friend told me that she can not wear hijab because she does not believe in, I replied to her ”You believe or not, we are all infidels according to Taliban and Iran Mulas ( clerics), you have two choices either you wear hijab or you leave.”

The incident which aggravated the situation more was the abduction of the Emirates' consul who was surrounded by heavy security and high concrete walls, “ If the abductors are able to get the Emirates' consul, do you think they can not get us?” my friend asked.

It is really unbelievable, how the reconstruction campaign falls apart whenever it starts in Iraq while violence reconstruction campaign builds up in such a rapid speed and systematic way to maintain every body everywhere.

I looked in the newspaper and stopped with these pieces of news,
an Iraqi man his name is “ Omer” is asking the Directorate of IDS to change his name to
“ Mustafa”, because such name can cause the killing of its carrier.

A woman is applying to the Directorate of Education to move her son from Baghdad to Najef after receiving threat to leave her house because she is Shiite in a dominated Sunni neighborhood.

Two Shiite families in Dura district from Nasiyria province visited at night by 10 gunmen who ordered the families to leave within three hours or they will be killed.

Six members of a Sunni family live in Jamila district near Sader city, were kidnapped by death squads, one of them was able to flee by miracle while the other five killed immediately.

A new order issued to the families whom one of its members is killed, when they hang the black placard which declares the funeral, they should not say he or she is killed due to coward and treacherous incident as all placards say on the walls of Baghdad, if they are written in this way, other members of the family will be killed too.

I needed to go to the union of Iraqi Journalists to renew my ID in Waziriyia district, each journalist inside the dark union, as usual no power, was asking his colleague , “ Are you still alive?”

After that I stood in the street looking for a taxi, I found one and jumped in immediately, it is really difficult to stay long in the street on these days.

After ten minutes, the driver who was in his fifties with dyed black hair and shaved beard took two pieces of papers from the empty front seat beside him and gave them to me.

” What is that?” I asked him.

“ This is something very useful for you, I give it to women who hire my car for the sake of God, I always receive big compliment of them, I do not want anything just give me the cost of printing, only 500 ID.” The driver said.

I looked in the papers, they were full of religious prayers written by a man is called
“ Kashkul Al-Ihsai”, I turned to the driver and said, “ I have these prayers at home, you can have them, I do not need them.”

He looked at me nervously, “ I did these prayers for you and women who do not wear hijab because you might be kidnapped by any moment but with these prayers, the kidnappers will get blind whenever they look at you.”

I told him I know but I have so many prayers like that at home, he replied “ I just wanted 500 ID that is all.”

“The man you see in front of you is not a driver, Iam a Shiite cleric studied at Al-Huwaza in Iran and married to an Iranian woman, she forced me to put off my turban and shave my beard because she is worried that I will be killed and she is a stranger in this country.” He told me that while he was pretending that he is doing his best not to look at me.

“ You do not know how God is angry of you because you do not wear hijab and he will be angry of me too if I look at you.” He said in a reproaching tone.

Another friend told me that she is so worried because she lives in Zayouna district in Baghdad , I asked her “Why?”

She said “ I heard Zerqawi criticizing people of Zayouna and Palestine street.”

What did he say?

Men of these two districts are coward because they do not resist the Americans and their women are dressed indecently, I will give them a lesson soon.

Saddam Trial Marks The Sectarian War In Iraq

For any person who did not have the chance to visit Iraq or he was in Iraq before the war of 2003 and wants to have an image of current Iraq, I advised him to watch Saddam trial.

When Sunnis In Iraq watch this trial, they forgot it is set up to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for the execution of 148 person from Dujail town in Iraq, but, in fact, it is set up to account all Sunnis represented in Saddam who shares the same sect with them.

The trial shows Sunnis dilemma after 2003 war, they found themselves within day and night defendants for being Sunnis just because Saddam is Sunni and because they were not in “Dawa” party like Shiites or in Peshmerga like Kurds, though many of them executed and imprisoned for opposing Saddam policy and their being Sunni did not excuse them of Saddam punishment.

In this trial, Shiites want Sunnis to prove their refrain of the accusation of their support to Saddam, as he represents all kinds of evil for them, something Shiites won’t believe whatever evidences Sunnis present to the court, at the same time, in this trial, Sunnis demand over Shiites to prove their non-loyalty to Iran, again whatever Shiites do to refute this fact, Sunnis won’t believe them.

Shiites in the trial are represented in the prosecutor whom his main concern is to prove Saddam guilty in killing hundreds of Shiite just because they were Shiite and you can feel from the prosecutor’s impatience that Shiites are waiting on fire for the day Saddam will be hanged and they take their revenge for their victims.

Kurds are represented in this trial by the judge who is doing his best to appease his hatred towards Saddam and pretend to show himself neutral, as Kurds do when they do not count themselves as Sunni or Shiite but as Kurds of separate nation not Arabs, by working sometimes like a referee who solves engagements rise between time to time during the sessions between the defendants and the prosecutors or actually between Sunnis and Shiites while they are exchanging accusations.

Saddam defiant style in the court can be read in Sunnis resistance style towards the US occupation and Shiites domination of Iraq post Saddam and their endeavor politically to prove to the Shiites and Kurds that they are free of the crimes committed in time of Saddam, yet, they were part of the victims.

When all the three parties fell to keep the farce of convincing the other side of his good intention, they ran towards their guns and declare it a sectarian war, to vent their hatred, wrath, historical disputes, rancor and take their revenge by their hands because neither Shiites nor Kurds can wait any more the long sessions of Saddam trial which they issued its verdict since the toppling of Saddam.

And because Sunnis know the end of this trial and can not stand the day in which Shiites and Kurds will hang Saddam, which means the hang of Sunnis they decided to revenge for themselves in advance and declare a sectarian war.

Kurds have thrown the ball in the court of Shiite to take their revenge of Saddam or Sunnis in Baghdad and South of Iraq while they work to achieve their main goal in controlling Kirkuk, to make it part of Federal Kurdistan, a goal, they are fulfilling by kicking out Arabs who came to live in Kirkuk in the seventies and alluring Arab and Turk man families who are original inhabitants by money to leave, if not by mutilating their bodies as death squads do in Baghdad and Basra, all these fact can be found documented with any human rights organization in Kirkuk.

I can say the first day of the sectarian war in Iraq began with the first day the trial of Saddam was set up as the entire Iraqi people with its three main components were thrown in this trial and the fight we watch during the sessions of the trail is a compressed image of the fight that is happening on the ground in Iraq now, except that guns are not allowed inside the court, otherwise we would see a real sectarian war inside the court itself.

Lately I asked a Sunni guy about his opinion of Saddam trial, he said “ I do not watch the trial sessions as well as my family and relatives, even do not care of the verdict if Shiites and Kurds decided to execute Saddam, we took our decision to resist since the first day the US soldiers put their foot in Iraq.”

I asked a Shiite woman from Najef whom her son is executed under Saddam reign about her opinion of the trial, she said “ I want Saddam to be executed like my son who was executed just because he was in “ Dawa” party in time of Saddam.”

I asked also a Kurdish guy about his opinion of the trail as an Iraqi citizen, he said “ Iam not Iraqi, Iam Kurds, we are a nation, I do not care if Saddam executed or not, Iam glad to see an independent Kurdistan.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

" Long Live Falluja, Long Live Mujahdien"

By chance, I met a legal inspector who works at a sensitive institution in Baghdad and had a chat with him about Sunni-Shiite killing dominating Iraq recently.

The man told me horrible things about what he goes through every day, in a way, he prays every night dead prayers to himself and vows not go to the work again but in the morning all his family responsibilities stand in front of him and oblige him to go to work.

“ You have to know, if a Sunni person killed, three Shiite would be killed in revenge for him, this is what I see in my daily work.” he said.

In one incident, he told me, 15 Sunni man killed in one day in Ghazaliyia neighborhood, in Baghdad just because they carry the same name ” Omer”, ( name of second khalif after prophet Muhammed, not favored by Shiite but adored and revered by Sunnis), but within three days after that incident, 36 Shiite man killed in Dura district in Baghdad , 12 of them killed within one day just because they carry the names “ Aqiel” and “Hussein”.

Finding happy story in Iraq is as difficult as looking for natural death case nowadays, both are big challenge to any journalist works here.

But still I should give it a try and go to search for couples who still believe in something called “love”, I know a very good place where most of men and women are in love meet and sit together to have a nice time.

I took the car and went to sit there in a bid to open an indirect dialogue with some of the couples I might find there and see what do they dream of among this crazy situation.

The place is on the bank of Tigris, a romantic view favored by the Iraqis, I toured the place twice but could not find a shadow of a lover, what is the matter, where did they go? I looked round in hope to find any person to ask, my eyes fell on a writing on a wall of one of the houses there and read this warning “ We will cut the heads of any villainous lovers dare to sit here, he who warns is excused.” It was written in a bold way so that no one can miss.

I did not give up and decided to chase a story about a couple who lost their minds and decided to get married and establish a family in Iraq where most of the people are waiting for the end of the school year to take their kids and run away.

So I found a couple who would get married soon but again wedding ceremonies are facing problems in Baghdad, few months ago such ceremonies used to be held in one of the celebration halls in Baghdad especially if it is for a rich family, but this procedure cancelled these days because of the security situation, even time of the wedding ceremony is changed now, mostly at 3 pm to enable people reach their homes early.

The only common feature for an Iraqi wedding ceremony shared by rich and poor families is to have a team of popular Iraqi music accompanied the motorcade of the wedding.

The groom told me that he spent a week looking for a team of popular music to come and play in the ceremony, could not find any, “ I looked for these teams who used to be everywhere in Baghdad, hardly could find any and when I found a team, they told me they can not come because there is a warning by Mahdi army not to play any more.”

The bride was very disappointed, she even could not have a musical team as other brides, again it is not a reason to cancel the wedding.

The two families decided to make a small party at the bride’s house and run some recorder’s cassettes for different Iraqi songs. Soon Families and friends were involved in dancing while they were listening to the songs, most of them described the beauty of the beloved and the suffering of the lover.

All of a sudden the recorder began to play national Iraqi songs on Saddam and Iraq “ Allah Ikhali Al-Rais, Allah Itawal Umera” which means in English “ May Allah keep the president (Saddam), May Allah bless his life.”

The crowd looked at each other in surprise, what is happening? But they decided to continue, this time they got crazy and were shouting with the song out of joy, till another song began which is well known for the Iraqis at the advent of 2003 war, “ Fout Biha Wa Al Zilm Khaliha.” Which says in English “ Go ahead ( Saddam) and leave it to men” at this point most of the men who were dancing took their guns out of their pockets and started to shoot in the air and shouting “ Long live Falluja, long live Mujahdien.”

Monday, May 15, 2006

Touching The Sky

The most fascinating view for me when I was five year was the blue color of the sky with the glittering stars and puffy clouds. My dearest dream was to touch the sky and have a handful of that blue substance, but how? I did not know.

In the way home after a long school day, I looked at our house from a distance, the sky was touching the roof of our house. I was nearly to dance out of happiness, my feet were flying to reach the house. Now, I can touch the sky.

I threw my books on the ground and ran upstairs to climb the roof, I raised my two arms up to embrace the sky and touch it with my finger, but, it was faraway. I began to jump as high as I can but the same result, I brought few blocks of brick, piled them vertically and stood on top of them, still the result was very disappointing, ended with a dusty school uniform.

I looked at the houses near ours and farther. I saw a high bridge, the sky was on the bridge. So, I thought if I stand on the top of the bridge, I will be able to touch the sky and make my dream real. I left the house and ran as fast as I can towards the bridge.

On top of the bridge, the sky looked even farther and farther, after few childish attempts to touch it I returned with a fist full of wind, I looked around and tried to reach the farthest point. Again, I saw that the sky is on the trees and houses at the end of the horizon. “One day I will have the chance to go there and touch it.” I comforted myself.

This dream kept living with me till now, but it took a new shape since the US occupation to Iraq in 2003. I began to jump again but on burning roofs, damaged buildings and broken bridges in a bid to touch the sky of the US democracy in Iraq, I got back with a fist full of smoke.

After three years, I have realized that searching for the US democracy in Iraq is like the crazy idea of trying to touch the sky, whenever you feel you are close to, you discover that you are farther and farther. Both are impossible and they slip out of your hand very swiftly.

Up till now, the US officials still insist that the most remarkable achievement for the US in Iraq is Democracy represented at least in freedom of speech, Iraqis now have the right to criticize anything and anybody, they do not agree with openly, a right, they were deprived of for ages.

To be fair, I have to say this is true, the Iraqis now are free to criticize and speak openly but, unfortunately, about one thing only which is the US itself, for granting them this bloody democracy, in a way they are shouting now louder than any time before, “ Down, Down USA,” “Down, Down US Democracy,” “ Down, Down US occupation of Iraq.”

The predicament of the US democracy in Iraq is that it is gone lost with its first step in the jungle of Mesopotamia, despite all the rescue campaigns carried out by the 150,000 US soldier who carried it on their arms and protected it with their guns all that long way from the US to Iraq, despite all the maps and binoculars, despite all pompous fame of CIA that it even can enter your bed room at any moment and tell you how it looks like, all the attempts to recover the US democracy failed and concluded with a big bounty for any one who can inform or help in finding this shrewd creature.

The US officials till now do not dare to admit the fact that the US democracy is gone missing under the layers of clerics’ turbans and the labyrinth of Halal and Harm because it is something hard for the Americans to understand.

The Iraqis were yearning to taste the US democracy dish and see how it looks like but with the first spoon, they spitted it away and immediately leaflets distributed all over Iraq warn of tasting US democracy dish and threaten to slaughter any one come close.

Meha Abdul Kariem is a Sunni woman married to Muhammed Yousif who is Shiite for ten years now and has two kids.

“ I can not stand Ja’aferi government, he is very bad and his ministers are worse than him particularly this minister of Interior.” Meha was talking to her husband Mohammed angrily.

“ No, do not say that, This government is composed of men who are grandsons of Imam Ali, all of them are “ Alawi”, it is a big Harm to criticize them, God will be upset of you.” Muhammed answered his wife.

I was doing a story about horses race in Iraq, when the editor in Washington read that the race track in Mansour district was destroyed and a gigantic mosque was built instead according to an order by Saddam, she said “ Now, Saddam has gone, Why do not you "Iraqis" destroy the mosque and restore the race truck?!!!!!!!!

The best example of the US democracy I can see now in Iraq is the image of Sunnis and Shiite standing against each other on the bodies of the Iraqis like two cowboys playing the famous American game of who will kill the other first.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Big Cause

“ Al-Mas’ala Al-Kubra” literally means “The Big Cause,” an Iraqi movie talks about the revolution of the Iraqi people in 1920 against the British occupation.

In one of the scenes, a British commander in his military uniform, his name is Wilson appears in the movie addressing a number of Iraqi sheikhs and discussing some issues with them, then an Iraqi sheikh wearing white kufia with black spots and Abaya, apparently from the south of Iraq, you can tell that from his accent, interrupts the British commander and says” Mr. Willson, can you tell me what do you have here (Iraq)?” and all of a sudden a bullet permeated head of Mr. Wilson.

This question which was asked by that Iraqi sheikh in 1920 is on the tongue of all Iraqis on these days after 86 year. What do the multi national forces have here, in Iraq, on top of which US-British forces? Especially after US Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s statement that US forces would not interfere if sectarian war broke out among Sunnis, Shiites and other components of the Iraqi people.

A week after Samara events, when black-clad Shiite militia spilled all their anger on Sunni mosques in Baghdad and killed alot of their Imams, I contacted Munaf Ali, Sunni man, 37, works at the Ministry of Trade, lives in Sha’ab, a predominately Shiite district in Baghdad to check with him about the situation there.

Munaf revealed to me his bitterness and dismay at that day, “ Our neighbor, a Sunni old man, 70, with amputated leg and his son Omer, 22, were killed in their bakery by black-clad guys yesterday just because they used to pray in the mosque.”

When Munaf saw that massacre, he decided to take his old mother, wife and three kids and flee to Kirkuk where his relatives are, “ I am so scared to face the same fate like these two men by Shiite monsters.”

Munaf ran to the main road with his family to get a car, “ The atmosphere was horrendous, the road was full of police and private cars filled with black-clad guys brandishing their arms and vowing revenge of Sunnis for imams in Samara, I looked at every corner desperately searching for a US soldier, I prayed to God to have a US tank or a Hummvee as a self comfort but I could not find either.”

Why the US tanks and soldiers, Munaf told me, were everywhere when events sparked in Sader city few months ago while now I could not find any of them.

“Shiite people are protected by police and national guards whom mostly share same sect but we Sunnis are left naked, only of the US cover though it is full of holes.” Munaf added.

Standing on the road overwhelmed with fear and terror, a Shiite friend showed up and came running towards Munaf, “ What are you doing here?”

“ I want to leave to Kirkuk. The situation is very bad here. I might be killed at any moment ”

“ Go back home now, black-clad guys are touring the place and if they check your ID, they will cut you in pieces.” The Shiite friend advised Munaf.

Few days ago, I was on phone with a guy from Ba’quba, a city part of Diyala province, he told me at haste “ We have to leave our village now, black-clad guys are coming soon to kidnap and kill us with drills.”

I asked him how did he know that they are coming? “ We got a phone call telling us that black-clad guys are at the US base in the military airport “ Al-Faris” in Ba’quba with US soldiers.” His sentence was mixed with shouts asking him to be in a hurry.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

If You Were Not A Wolf, Lions Will Eat You

I have a deadline today to finish a story about deaf and mute in Iraq, all the required material is at my hand except to back up the story with a graphic about them pre and post war, a routine procedure we do with any story we write.

I asked the driver to come early in the morning in hope to catch the Director General of the Social Affairs department at the Ministry of Labor, she is the only one who can help in this field.

I did not need to set up the alarm o’clock to get up early, explosions did their best to wake me up in time. The driver arrived with his red van and made a miss call for me, code we agreed on means that he is waiting outside the house.

I jumped in the car and headed to Beirut square in Palestine street towards the ministry which is only 15 minutes far of my house.

Just close to Mustansiyriyia square, men with black suits were putting barbed wires and trees trunks, they pointed to us to go back. I remember now, today is the anniversary of Immam Hussein funeral, sure it won't be an easy trip, only God knows what will happen today.

I jumped out of the car and told one of the black suit men, “ Iam a journalist and supposed to cover Husseini funeral, can I have my car in.” the man replied that he wish he could let me in but he had an order not to let any car pass through the crowd of pilgrims.

“Ok, let us try alleys.” I suggested to the driver who proposed to go back to the office and skip the idea of going to the Ministry. I do not blame him he does not know what is a deadline.

We found a street with few pilgrims carrying red, white and black flags and pictures of Imam Hussein, we drove to the end till we found ourselves at Canal street. Cars were heading wrong sides but I insisted to continue. I raised my head to look through the window, God, black waves of people were coming from Sader city, hundreds of old and young men and women were marching towards Kadhimiyia shrine on foot, even babies carried on their mothers’ arms were participating in the celebration.

Now, it is the end of the Canal street, I was trying to reach one of the streets that lies in front of the ministry to park the car and go on foot to see the D.G but for my surprise, I fond myself in a strange neighborhood, I opened the window of the car and asked one of the passerby, “ Is this “ Al-Qahera” district?” “ No, this is Saliekh, where do you wana go today? It is better for you to go home, all roads are blocked.” The man answered me.

I told him I need to go to the Ministry of Labor in “Al-Qahera” district. ”you have to go left and then straightforward you will be in front of the ministry but do not take this street, he pointed to a small empty street in front of us, an hour go a man was snatched by three gunmen.”

Finally we were in front of the ministry, I jumped out of the car and ran through the crowds who were chanting and beating themselves “ We swear with the name of God, we will never forget you Hussein.” I crossed two streets and now Iam at the ministry, Thank God 1000 time, I looked at my watch, it was 10:30 am. Two hours from my house to the ministry which is 15 minutes far of where I live!!!!!!!

Let us forget about that and go inside to get the graphic, otherwise the editor in Washington will be upset and change his idea about me, how can I explain to him Shiites’ rituals while he has never been in Iraq.

I have to go to the reception first, the door is closed. Where did they go? A man came to me and asked me what do I need? I told him I need to see the D.G. a lady wearing black hijab came to me with a glass of yellow juice “ Drink and read “ Fatiha” for Immam Hussein.” Fatiha is a verse of holy Quran used to be read on dead.

It was really a difficult choice especially when my eyes fell on the huge black barrel of juice made of recycled plastic, she was filling the same glass from to everyone passes inside. But I did not dare to refuse her glass, I closed my eyes and took sips with set of verses of holy Quran in protection of any possible diseases.

I am at the D.G office now, so happy and full of confidence that nothing can stop me of getting what I want. The male secretary was sitting in front of an old wooden disk covered with a broken mirror chatting with an old lady.

“ It is better for me to go back to my old job and stand again beside the traffic light begging people for some pennies.” The lady told the secretary out of her anger for not getting her ID from the ministry though she has applied for it a year an a half ago.

“ You will get it just be patient, it is not you only, there are hundreds like you.” He told her. “ I had even sold the only carpet I had at my single room for the sake of this ID, in hope I will get your subsidy, now I left with the ground only.”

Then an old man from Nasiriyia province arrived for the same thing, I felt I should tell the secretary that I have an appointment with the D.G to let me get in because I do not have time though it was so interesting to listen to the people there.

"The D.G could not make her trip to the ministry because roads are blocked today." The secretary told me while he was talking with the old man.

I need to get the statistic the D.G promised yesterday, I told the secretary, where is the Statistics department?

I can not take you there unless you have a written permission from the D.G?

She gave it to me orally yesterday and told me if I could not find her today, I can go directly to the statistic department.

The man looked unconvinced and hesitant to let me go there and asked me to contact the D.G.

I can't find her, there is no network.

You can go but Iam not responsible of the result, recommendations I have not to allow journalists to get inside the ministry's departments only if they have written permission.

I ran to the statistics department through dark passage , I found the room which was full of six disks and piles of files. There were four men with a lady wearing black hijab. I explained to them the reason of my visit.

One of the men pointed to the woman telling me that she is the one who can help me.

I sat beside her and told her that I need a statistic about deaf and mute in Iraq pre and post war.

Again, she asked me for a permission, I told her that the D.G gave me a permission to do that but she is late today because of Immam’s funeral.

The woman was cooperative, she brought me all what I need, I wrote most of the information I was looking for but suddenly, she looked at me and said " No, I think I should ask the director of the media department because Iam not allowed to provide you with all these information without a permission."

God, why did she remember that now, I do not have time, I answered her while I was doing my best to restrain my anger" Habibti, Iam looking for a statistic about deaf and mutes not about Mukhabarat or national security."

Even though, she replied, stop writing, I will go to the media director.

At this point, I felt I must do something, after all this strife, Iam not going to go with empty basket to the office and fail to meet the deadline for the story.

I remembered this Iraqi saying “ If you were not a wolf, lions will eat you.”, I snatched the paper I wrote the information on and put it in my pocket and picked up a piece of paper from my notebook and started to write with crazy speed some of the information I dictated , in case the woman will come and take the paper from me.

I finished writing and put the paper on the desk, then the lady was on my head " you are not allowed to take statistics today, come tomorrow with a permission and we will help you."

I thanked her and said " This is really unfair." She told me that media director wants to see me because I should have seen him before I came to her." "No problem." I answered her, she led me to the director of the media department.

The man said" Iam very sorry, the D.G is not in her office today. We can not give you the statistics, come another day. "

I ran to the red van which was waiting for me outside chanting " if you were not a wolf, lions will eat you.”

Thursday, May 11, 2006

" I Got The CD"

The clinic was full of people waiting for their turn to see the dentist. I went out to the terrace of the clinic bearing in mind that I had to wait for long till I would see the doctor. There was a lady in her fifties, wearing black suit, waiting there too, and there was no better idea of how to spend the time rather than to chat with her and see if she had any good story that we can write about in our newspaper.

Like all the Iraqis, the main subject was about the horrible deterioration in the security situation and how killing is maintaining everybody.

The lady looked at me and said “ Iam not scared of killing, in fact Iam waiting for.”

For short while, I thought with myself whether that lady was sane or mad or may be she said that because of the toothache she had, but why she wanted to die? I kept asking myself.

“ People are thinking of leaving the country to escape killing and you want to die?.” I asked her just to push her to speak.

The lady said “ I want to leave too to see my brother.” I asked her” Where does he live?”

“ My brother is Dr.Nua’man Yousif. He had to serve in Omara province for three years and then to be brought back to Baghdad.” The lady replied.

But again she did not tell me where does he live now? There must be something wrong with this lady, I thought with myself. I looked inside the clinic again hoping to see if my turn is close or I have to wait. The long line of the patients looked the same as I left it.

So it is better to keep listening to this strange woman. “Ok, what happened later?” I asked her anxiously .

She said that her brother fell in love with a daughter of a tribal leader in Omara and wanted to marry her. Her father “ The sheikh” agreed to marry his daughter to her brother for his good fame there but he put a condition that her brother must convert to Islam.

“ I went there with my parents and uncles to ask the hand of the Sheikh’s daughter. After few years the marriage resulted two kids, boy and a girl but my brother decided to leave the country to go to England to finish his studies.” She said.

“When was that?” I asked her. She answered me that it was in 1993 and he had to make a fake passport because at that time doctors were not allowed to leave the country.

After paying two million Iraqi Dinners, the doctor was captured on the borders with Jordan and brought back to Baghdad but to stay in prison.

“ We did not leave any chance that might lead us to where he was kept, but all our efforts went in vein, we decided to go to Tareq Aziz, who was the Deputy Premier at that time and Christian to ask his help.” she said

The family discovered that the doctor was kept in Mukhabart Directorate in Mansour district in Baghdad and he got life sentence.

With the help of Tareq Aziz, the family told that the doctor would be released at the 27th of June, 1993.

“ We could not sleep that night as we were celebrating the release of the doctor.” The lady said with glittering eyes as if her brother was going to be released now.

Early in the morning, the entire family went to Mansour to receive the doctor but it seemed they did not listen to news early in the morning at that day.

Iraqi Radio station and T.V declared that Mukhabart directorate was bombed at 1:30 am, June 27th by US warplanes and lot of people killed and wounded, in addition to the damage of many houses.

“ We did not hear these news because we left early, but the shock when we reached the place to find ruins only.” The lady concluded with a big sigh.

There was intelligence information that Mukhabart Directorate would be attacked after rumors of Iraqi Mukhabarat’s scheme to assassinate president Bush, the father, during a visit he paid to Kuwait at that time.

Orders issued to all the staffers of the directorate to leave the place as a precaution but the prisoners were left there, one of them was Dr.Nua’man Yousif.

This story helped me to forget somehow the pain caused by the dentist while he was dealing with my tooth and kept thinking how luck can play such a big role in fates of people.

It is true that there are lucky and unlucky people.

I was asked by a journalist I was working with to get a CD about Falluja Mujahdien ran on BBC. I did not say “ Yes” or “ No” but promised to do my best to find it.

But how? I did not know, at the same day, I went in the afternoon to set up an appointment with a lawyer. When I got down of the lawyer office, a man came and said
“ Hello” to me.

He told me that he knows Iam a journalist because he had seen me talking with people on many occasions.

He looked at me and said, “ can you wait for few minutes, I will bring something useful for you.” I nodded to him and stood aside to wait and see what he would show me.

After few minutes, the man arrived with a bag, he put it in my hand and disappeared.

I was so curious to see what he got for me. It was a CD. I ran to a CD machine to see what inside that CD.

For my surprise and great joy, It was the same CD ran by BBC about Falluja Mujahdien.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"You Have To Wear Abayia"

Kariem Tariq, a headmaster of a secondary school for girls in Haditha, a city part of Ramadi province, west of Iraq. Kariem headed to his school early in the morning on foot.

After making sure that everything was ok. He went to his office to look in some of the papers on his desk, after few minutes, he heard “ Salam Aliakum.”

Kariem raised his head to answer the salute, they were two men covering their faces with kufia and their guns on their arms. Kariem answered their Salam with fear.

He had never met these two men before whom one of them asked him with a serious tone “ Do you have an Shiite student in the school.” Kariem answered “ I do not know. I have never checked that”

The two men repeated their question with the condition, “ You have to kick any Shiite student out of the school.”

Kariem did not answer but the two men further added “ You have to order all the Sunni girls in the school to cover their faces or they will be dismissed of the school.”

The headmaster could tell from the two men accent that they were not Iraqi and might be from Syria, before he made up his mind about their identity they shouted in his face to give them a confirmation.

Kariem felt that his death was inevitable that day, he looked at the two men and said in a daring language“ I was in Syria few months ago, I saw Syrian women wear very western dresses, short and even without sleeves. Why do not you go there and tell them to wear at least decent trousers not Hijab.”

The two men became so angry of Kariem’s answer and warned him of dire consequences if he did not obey them and before he opens his mouth to speak two bullets went in his leg.

After few weeks Kariem went back to his school but he neither kicked out Shiite students nor ordered face scarf in the school.

I was in a Sunni dominated district in Baghdad with a US journalist, as usual kids surrounded us to see what was going on. Then they started to be very annoying. All my attempts to keep them away failed completely. I decided to seek the help of one of the policemen who was in a police car close to us.

I went to him and said “ Sir, can you help me with these kids, we can not work.” With one shout, he dispersed all of them. After few minutes kids started to creep again towards us. I went again to the policeman asking his help, the policeman answered me “ What can I do for them, they are Sunnis, they are Jews.”

I and a female US journalist went to Kadhimiyia shrine to talk with some Shiite clerics there. We put our Hijab and ran towards one of the shrine’s gates, all of a sudden we stopped by a group of guys sitting beside the gate with their Dishdash, unshaved beards and unwashed faces.

I asked one of them “What is the matter? We always come here and go inside without any problem like all the people who head inside.”

The guy told me ” you have to put Hijab.” I told him “We wear Hijab.” He said” This is not enough, you have to wear Abayia.”

I told him, “ This is nonsense. I have visited the shrine many times with this Hijab and no one objects.”

He said “ These are new rules, you should put Abayia on your Hijab.” I felt my patience
was running out but I had a journalist with me and should behave wisely.

I looked at the crowd coming out of the shrine and saw one of the shrine’s clerics whom I know. He smiled to me and came to take me in but again the guy interrupted him telling him that I should wear Abayia.

The cleric told him, “ They are ok, they are with me, leave them alone.”

I told my friend how rude was that guy by insisting on Abayia, the cleric said” Do not care about him, he is one of a bunch of guys who spend all the night drinking alcohol and do all bad things you can imagine and when they wake up in the afternoon, they come to sit here and behave as if they are clerics and very devoted Moslems, telling people this is Halal and this is Haram.”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Crazy Ideas

When I walk in Baghdad, I think all the time of the cars around me and ask myself which one will go off now? Am I going to be killed or wounded? If I wounded which part of my body I would lose?Then I start to think of the people who walk in the street and look in their faces and ask myself who knows if this man who walks beside me is a suicide bomber or the one who is in front of me or the other who stands beside his car, any one of those men might blow up himself at any moment and kill me.

I was listening to a group of women chatting about the security situation now in Baghdad. A lady told her listeners that her friend was in a mini bus, she bent to get a piece of paper slid of her bag. For her surprise, the woman saw two wires hanged down of the trousers of a man sits beside her.The woman looked at the man with frantic face inquiring about these wires, she wanted to shout but the man put his finger on his mouth, ordering her to keep silent and leave. The woman did not have any other choice only to jump out of the bus and leave it under the mercy of that suicide bomber.

My main concern now, since I heard this story is to look at the shoes of the people in the street and check if there are any wires hanged down of their trousers.When I put these crazy ideas aside, I start to think about kidnapping, at any moment, a group of gunmen might jump out of one of the cars and pull me inside their car and run away.How much ransom they will ask my family? Will they keep me alive or they will kill me and throw my body in the dump as they do with people they kidnap everyday? or I might be lucky and killed by some merciful kidnappers who will throw my body beside a hospital in Baghdad to make it easy for the family to find me as they did yesterday with six bodies they left near “ Al-Kindi” hospital in Baghdad. I have never lost hope that still there are some kind people among these gentlemen even if killing is their main source of entertainment.

This idea looms in my head all the time even at home, Iam not safe, it is highly possible that ten or twenty gunmen break in the house and kidnap me or any other member of the family and it is absolutely useless and stupid to think about contacting police or American forces because they will do nothing to me, same like with other people who had the same problem.

The only weapon I have and so as the other members of the family is the mobile and we keep contact each other all the time whenever we hear an explosion and if any family member is late, mobiles will never stop unless we know the reason of his or her being late and make sure he or she is ok.

Within two months I was shocked four times with my mobile, I dial a number and when I ask about my friend, the answer is “He is killed today.” I did not have the courage to erase their numbers and till now they are in my mobile.I was supposed to meet a person who is a chairman of a city council in one of the most restive districts in Baghdad to work on a story with him. The plan was to meet him at his work place at 11 am.I headed to the meeting an hour before putting in consideration the incredible traffic, blocked roads and sudden explosions but again I reached the place at 11:30 am. I did not find the man and it was extremely risky to ask about such person in that neighborhood and great madness to introduce myself to people “Iam a journalist.”

I read names of four members who work at the city council of that neighborhood and were assassinated for doing this job.The only thing I could do was to contact him but another person answered me. It was his son. I asked him "where is your father I can not find him?" He said “ You do not know?” I asked “ What ?” He said “ My father is taken to “ Al-Yermouk” hospital an hour ago because two cars with eight gunmen sprayed him with fire while he was heading to his office and ran away.”

When I heard that I wanted a plane to take me out of that place where the man was attacked and thanked God hundred times that I was late otherwise I would be shot with him.

Mobile too can be a weapon used against you and so easily you might get threats of unknown persons warning you if you do not pay a ransom you will be kidnapped and cut in pieces, beside informing you to quit your job. Who are they? Where did they get the telephone number and the information? Who is the real government? Those persons or those men we see on T.V ? Something so hard to get an answer for.

I asked a high rank official in Baghdad police about legal procedures regarding such threats, he told me that police directorate had a huge pile of them but always impossible to verify and waste of time to follow up.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

" I Have An IED With Me"

I had to go with a US journalist to “ Ibn Rushud” hospital for psycho diseases in Baghdad to meet some psychiatrists there. The story we were doing was about cars bomb trauma suffered now by Iraqis.

When we jumped of the car, I and the journalist had to run as quickly as we can as if we were criminals in the street, we had a bodyguard with us but still the whole trip is a real adventure.

So we ran toward the hospital but we stopped by a group of security men who were standing outside the hospital at the main street.

I said “ Salam.” To the security man who answered me the same and asked me what I want to do inside. I told him, “ We want to see few doctors inside the hospital. We are journalists.”, he looked at me and said “ Ok, show me your permission from the Ministry of Health.” I told him, “ I have talked with the director of the hospital and he approved my visit.”. He said, “ Sorry, I can not let you in.”

So, now we have a problem and I have to solve because Iam not going to lose the appointment I have with doctors nor get back without getting what I came for.

I have to use another style, I told the security man, “ Look I have an IED with me and it is going to blown up at any time.” He said, “ What?” I told him, “ I have this foreign journalist with me and it is very risky to keep him out like that because at any moment we might be attacked by any unknown gunmen who will kidnap him and shoot against us, so he is an IED.”

The security man laughed and said” You are right, go ahead.”

Thanks God we solved this problem, the US journalist thanked me for doing that though he did not understand what were talking about but he knew that there was a problem and we passed so he said” Well done.”

A statue for an Arab Scientist named “ Ibn Rushed” is standing in the center of the hospital , he is considered father of psychology in the Arab history. It is good that it is still ok because now statues are Haram, they are against religion, and most of Baghdad statues destroyed by unknown sides even the statue of the founder of Baghdad “ Abu Ja’afer Al-Mansour”.

Most famous statue along Tigris bank in Abu Nu’as street” Shahrazad and Shahrayar” most popular characters of 1001 night story, Shahrayar who is well known of his obsession of killing a woman every night till it was Shahrazad turn but she kept telling him stories to distract his attention and make him forget about killing her.

Shahrayar’s arm found cut today, but who did that? Nobody knows, whether anti statues activists or radical feminist movement wanted to revenge for all women killed by Shahrayar.
Talking with one of the psychiatrists in the hospital in his out patients clinic where so many patients were waiting, he begged us to be short in our questions because he can not keep his patients waiting for long for each one of them his own complicated case.

Dr. Al-A’ni said “ After the end of 2003 war, we started to receive prisoners, political opponents and drug addicts, but since last year till now, with the daily cars bomb flooding streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces, patients of cars bomb trauma began to show up for the first time in the hospital.”

US journalist asked Dr.Al-A’ni to brief him with such cases, Dr. Al-A’ni said “ just few days ago, I received a 23-year female who can not sleep or eat and on the verge to be divorced though she is newly married.”

The US journalist asked, “ Why, what is her case?” Dr.Al-A’ni said “ This lady was with her mother at Kadhimiyia shrine during Hussein’s funeral anniversary but all of a sudden a car bomb went off among the crowd who were there performing their rituals including the lady and her mother, the lady survived but the mother killed.”

The doctor went on to say that whenever the lady sits with herself she recalls her mother’s head scrolling on the ground in front of her same when she was with her during the explosion.

The US journalist asked the doctor if he can see her, the doctor told him that most of the patients come to him top secretly because the idea of visiting a psychotherapist is still unfavorable by the Iraqi society.

“Most of the patients come here for out patients clinic, take medications and go home to avoid meeting with any people know the family.” the doctor added.

The Us journalist asked about hospital preparations for such new cases, the doctor said that the hospital did not have good experience in such cases, no enough medications and equipment, the treatment almost depended on family care.

The most common question to be asked by any foreign journalist, “ do you have a statistic to such cases? The doctor answered, “ Sorry, we do not have and I need to see my patients.”

" She Is My Mammy"

Saleh was advised to go to the forensic department after he lost hope in finding his daughter Hanan who did not come home at the end of the day.

“My relatives and neighbors told me to go to the forensic department as all people do when their relatives go missing.” said Saleh Abdul Hussein, 65, father of eight in addition to Hanan.

But neither Saleh nor Hanan’s husband, Muhammed Salim was able to identify Hanan’s body or find her pictures among a set of pictures showed to them because all women bodies at the forensic department were charred.

But there was a body of a lady with a piece of cloth on her shoulder, the doctor told the family to bring more people close to Hanan aware of what she used to wear.

Rana, 10 year, the eldest daughter of Hanan, who is a student at a primary school was brought to the forensic department to see that piece of cloth because she saw her mother when she was leaving out to go to her college.

“ She is my mammy, this is part of the shirt she put on before she left in the morning.” Rana cried while she was looking at her mother body and she bent to hug but her grandfather and father took her out.”

Hanan Saleh, 34 year, a teacher at a primary school married with three kids, Rana, 10, Sarah, 7 and Ahmed, 5.

Hanan main dream was to complete her study and become a teacher at a secondary school.

“ If I can do that, my salary will boom and won’t care if my husband work or not. I won’t be worried any more about my kids future ” Hanan told me that while we were talking together few years ago, we used to see each other a lot because she was living in our neighborhood.

A week before her death, Hanan all of a sudden came to say "hello" as if she was saying
“ farewell”, she was so happy and full of life.

“ This is the last year for me in the college and within few months I will fulfill my dream and become a teacher at a high school.” she said.

Hanan told me that she would move to another house where she could have a separate room for her three kids with small garden where they can play as the house they live in now is very small, but all of that after she graduates.

A week later, Hanan woke up early in the morning to make breakfast for her kids so that they can go to school and then she can go to her college.

She kissed and hugged them warmly and put a new shirt which her daughter identified in the forensic department.

But Hanan did not get back at that day and when her family went to get her from the forensic department, they were informed that the department received bodies of some people who were inside a minibus in Baghdad Al-Jadidia, a district eastern Baghdad exploded at noon time.

Two persons who were inside the bus but they survived told the family that when the minibus was full of people, the driver moved towards Al- Mashtel where Hanan lives, fifteen minutes later a guy jumped out of the minibus leaving a sack inside the bus behind him.

Some of the people who were inside the bus shouted “ Hey, Habibi your sack.” But before they complete their sentence, the minibus exploded and fire engulfed all the people who were inside including Hanan.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Killing Masters

It would be so nice of the killing masters in Iraq to provide us with a list of Halal and Haram
“ things approved and disapproved by Islam” regarding names, tribes, jobs, foods, hairstyle, dresses, sects and ideologies to help us find our way among all this mess, at least for the second half of this year.

Khaliel is 25, son of a Sunni man his name is Adel. Adel killed six months ago in front of his house in “ Al-Kam” district in Baghdad. Unknown gunmen shot him and ran away.

Khaliel left alone but his Shiite neighbor, Younis Al-Ruba’ai who was a close friend to his father asked him to come and work with him in his shop in “ Al-Kam”.

Younis left Khaliel in his shop after 2 pm on Saturday and went to have lunch in his house in Palestine street. Younis was forced to leave his house in “Al-Kam” though he lived there for 40 year but he received threats after the bombing of Samara shrine informing him to leave immediately or he will be killed with his family because he is Shiite.

At 3 pm Younis received a phone call telling him that Khaliel, his man was killed in his shop 15 minute ago after being attacked by eight men and he has to come as soon as possible because the body still inside the shop.

“ It was a big shock for me, Khaliel was like my son. I wanted to help him after he lost his father who was my dearest friend. Why did they kill him? ” Younis said in grief.

Abbss Ali, 60 year, a Shiite cleric used to wear a turban like other clerics but few days ago, he showed up in a funeral for one of his friends but when he arrived he surprised all the people who know him before and were sitting in the funeral.

The surprise was Abbass came without his turban which he used to wear for 30 year and covered his head with Kufia. Turban was part of Abbass and hardly any one can recognize him without it.

All men who were in the funeral opened their mouths and one of the men raised to ask him
“ Mr.Abbass, Where is your turban?”

Abbass answered “ A turban might claim my life, I do not want it, many clerics were killed just because of their turbans.”
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