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.


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