Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Under the Shoes

I was heading out of the house at 10 am after I closed the main door, I went down in the street, there was a big crowd of people talking and shouting. It was something strange for our street because most of the neighbors resume their daily activities in the afternoon.

I saw two women chatting aside, went to ask them, one of them answered me “ Three guys kidnapped now while they were standing out of the shop drinking Pepsi Cola.”


I went out to take my daughter to the school, there was a strange car parking beside our house, when the driver saw me he moved but he kept coming and going in the street till another car arrived with two men, they fired many shots in the air and grabbed the three guys to put them in their car and runaway.”

Do you know who are the three guys?

Yes, they are the new neighbor who just arrived recently to the street, the father and his two sons. I want to go now and bring back my daughter from the school but Iam so scared to do that now.

Since the new security plan started, a lot of national guards are in at the main road which is only few minutes of the street, in addition to that, one of our neighbor is an uncle for one of the ministers in the new government, the minister sent a police car with four policemen to protect his uncle house. I asked the woman if any of the police or the national guards came to help?

The national guards came later on after everything is finished and what do you think they will do to the Mahdi army? The woman replied.

We were standing close to a trunk of a palm tree and a big barrel were put to block the street, on the top of the barrel there is a placard saying “ Yes, Yes, for the leader Muqtada Al-Sader.”

The woman asked me to be careful because the street is no more safe like before and concluded that she is waiting for her kids to finish their schools to leave to Egypt.

I did my best not to wait long at the main road and take a taxi as soon as possible, the driver told me that all the roads are blocked because of the so many check points and it is better to take Canal street, I did not object because he knows better than me.

Canal street was not much better than other streets and in fact we had to take the dusty road to avoid the heavy traffic, the driver said “ For God sake, can you tell me what is the use of these check points, I swear they put them just to torture people, look, cars are passing by…who knows what is inside them?

Then a police car came very fast, a policeman was on the top and two bodies for young men were under him, one of them was wearing a gray dishdash, the other was wearing a truck suit, both wear bear foot, laying in the car.

The driver said “ Ah, you see, look, sure they found them here near the Canal.”

I kept looking at the two men and prayed to God not to be in the same position of these poor men under the shoes of the policeman.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Malki was declaring his reconciliation project in the Iraqi parliament amid a blown up security plan began ten days ago, Mahdi army supported by the commandos of the ministry of Interior was busy launching attacks against Sunni dominated neighborhoods in Baghdad like Fadhel, Haifa street and Al-Kifaha.

They tried to enter Adhamiyia but the National Guards stopped their progress to avert a big fight as people there are always in state of alert expecting Shiite militias to come at any moment.

A man from Adhamiyia said “ I do not leave Adhamiyia because my ID is issued in Adhamiyia and if Shiite militia discovered that they will kill me.”

He went on to say “you did not hear of the ten guys who went from Adhamiyia to the Medical City to donate blood but they kidnapped by militias there, their bodies found later on at the outskirts of Baghdad.”

Mahdi army was sweeping Sunni neighborhoods who did not wait for long to raise their arms and engaged in a hot battle supported by the National Guards, the fight reached Baghdad university in Bab Al-Mua’dadham, mortars, PKC, and launchers were exchanged, students and professors in the university found them stuck in the fight and do not know what to do.

I contacted a friend who works there to check with her, she said “ It was such a panic, the university was a battle field, gunmen closed the gate of the university while they were answering shooting from different sides, all the professors believed that they would be collected soon and killed.”

I was watching the session of the parliament and listening to the project of reconciliation, actually it was good, the project has the chance to declare itself amid all the disputes surrounded its birth, Shiite cleric in Najef last Friday was upset for the release of the detainees whom all are Sunni and wanted them to be treated like Guantinamou prisoners!!!!

Others were displeased with terming their dogmatic fellows as militias, Sunni were unhappy about mixing terror with resistance and Deba’athification.

But still the reconciliation is declared and immediately heads of blocs indulged in speeches praising and reserving some points in the project.

One of the Shiite speaker who was greeting the project was talking about its good aspects till he reached a point in which he was condemning Takfiris, Saddamis and terrorists but he moved his sights towards the side of the parliament where Sunnis were sitting.

Sunni immediately interrupted him and said “ Sir, Why are looking at us, do you mean us with this speech?”

But the man soon apologized insisting that he did not mean it but by chance his sight fell on their side.

One of my colleague asked me about my opinion of the reconciliation, I told her “ reconciliation is really what we need in this time, but I was expecting something more powerful, I feel I have heard all the items in this project before, there is nothing new, when I read it I felt as if Iam having food without salt.”

At night an Arab satellite brought two Iraqis Sunni and Shiite to talk about the reconciliation, the Sunni was pulling towards the west while the Shiite was pulling towards the east, the interviewer ended while the two men did not reach a point to meet at and reconciliate.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Democracy In Iraq

“Shall I contact him or not.” I have asked myself this question several times, but when I found another option I dialed another number.

It was a breaking news, “ Saddam defense lawyer, Khamies Al-Ubaidi is killed.” So, we have to make a story, I began to contact all people associated with Khamis but the result was so negative.

I tried his close friend who is a lawyer too, his wife was on the telephone, I asked her about her husband, she said he was abroad, I asked her if she knows anything about Khamis killing, the woman shouted in the telephone out of her shock and sadness,
“ No, he is such a nice man, how did they kill him?”

I told her, you do not watch TV? She said” there is no power at home.” I told her news saying that he was kidnapped and then killed.

I tried the head of the lawyers union, he was in his way to Mousel, I tried other numbers, all of them either switched off or ringing without answer.

I left with one choice only, I will try Khamis phone number though his telephone now might be in the hand of his killers but I will do it, “No, I won’t do it.” “ I will do it.”

I dialed Khamis number, it is ringing, Oh, No, How is that it is still ringing? They must have thrown it somewhere.

I tried again and again till a woman answered me, Oh , My God, I asked her who is she? She said “ Iam Khamis wife.”

But how is that you still have khamis telephone with you while he is kidnapped?

We were at home, Khamis was in his bed, when more than 15 armed man stormed our house at 7 am, wearing civil uniform and grabbed Khamis from his bed. I asked them who are you? They told me “we are the security of the Ministry of Interior.”

Did khamis tell you anything before he leaves?

They did not let him say a word but they turned to me and said “ We warn you and any member of his family to go to the forensic department and take his body, all of you will be killed.” All I want now is to take Khamis body and leave with my three kids.

What about Khamis brothers?

They are all in Haditha, the town is under a siege, mobiles are off there, they do not come to Baghdad because they will be killed on their IDS.

It is true, Iam working on Haditha massacre story, there is no way to contact people there only by Thuraya or if they come to Baghdad, something they rarely do.

Khamis body later on found in Sader city, tortured severely, an eye witness from the city itself said “ Khamis body was on the ground, any one passes by give it a bullet among shouts of condemnation for any person defends Saddam.”

“Democracy wanted to kill all the Americans who brought her to this country before it would kill herself as she is watching all the atrocities committed in Iraq under her name.” A lawyer commented on Khamis killing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

These Days

These days are the most fearful days I have ever seen in Iraq, stories of kidnapping and killing have made me walk in the street and look around in fear some one might be chasing me or another might jump and drag me in a car or shoot me to death.

I left the house mumbling with prayers begging God to take care of me and protect me of kidnappers and sectarians. I stood at the main street waiting for a taxi to jump in and runaway to work, waiting at the street for long under the heat of the sun is a great risk.

I looked around, the street was full of cars waiting in line for fuel, but the smell was awful, it was a dead dog left at the side of the street, the only shady spot was near the dog so I have to choose between the heat and the bad smell.

While I was trying to make a choice, I looked in front of me I saw a tall guy with black suit crossing the two main streets and heading towards me.

“It is the end.” I told myself, he must be member of Mahdi army and will either kill me immediately or kidnap me for reasons I do not know, but I stunned in my place and did not know what to do, run home, still the distance is not short and he can capture me, shout, I felt my throat is so dry, contact the police, they will do nothing as usual.

He was coming closer and closer, gazing at me, I tried to find one explanation for his focusing on me could not find, who is he? Could not figure.

“ It is the end, no way to runaway but the problem I have not written my will and if he kidnapped me, it would be the end of the family.” I was nearly getting mad with different thoughts and ideas roaring in my head.

Now, he is in front me so I have to face my fate, he looked at me and said “ Salam Aliakm”, I replied “ Salam.”

“You do not know me?”

“ No.”

“ Iam the driver who took you to Amman last year.” He said.

With this sentence, I took a deep breath and nearly to faint and said quickly “ Oh, really, Iam so sorry, Yes, I do remember you, you were great, I always remember that nice tripe and how great you were! What are you doing here?

I came to apply for a work at the fire police here near your house and saw you from a distant and wanted to come and say hello to you.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate that, it is good you still remember me, are you still working between Baghdad and Amman?

No, I have stopped because of so many incidents of kidnapping and decapitating. I work between Baghdad and Basra, it is safer.

Where do you live now?

In Sader city.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Iraq Today

To be a pilot and defend your country has become a sin after the US invasion to Iraq which freed the Iranian hand to assassinate and kill any Iraqi pilot served during the Iraqi-Iranian war.

More than 21 Iraqi pilot have been detained by the US forces immediately at the end of the war, till now their fate is unknown according to a security official in charge of the neighborhoods where these pilots detained.

“ Their families even stopped asking about them as they used to do that for two years.” The security official said.

120 pilot have been assassinated by the Iranian Mukhabarat " Etela'at" and Shiite militias in Iraq funded by Iran.

Other pilots are receiving threats and hiding here and there, some of them took their luggage and left abroad.

Bashar Abdul Hadi, is one of the un lucky Iraqi pilot, 39, found himself jobless after the war of 2003, he bought a car to use it as a taxi but he was not that lucky, after few months, he fell in the hand of some bandits who beaten him and took his car.

His wife who is a teacher at a primary school begged him to stay at home and live by her salary till the security situation would be better, lately Bashar visited by one of his friend who told him that his name is in the list, and it is better for him to flee before he would be killed soon.

Bashar did not stay at home at that night and went to stay with his relative in another neighborhood in Baghdad.

Next morning Bashar took his suitcase and put himself in the first Iraqi bus heading to Syria to escape assassination.

Few days ago, his wife, his only 14- year daughter, his sister and her husband took a car and traveled to Syria to see Bashar and decide what to do for the future.

I was on the telephone with his wife Maha who was telling me in panic about what happened to them during the land tripe to Syria “ I can’t believe myself that I still have my daughter with me.” She said.


When we were close to the Syrian borders, a complete desert, all of a sudden, we were stopped by a group of gunmen, something like a checkpoint, two of them jumped to the car looking in our faces and asking as questions about our identity, then one of them look at my daughter and shouted in her face, “ Why do not you wear a hair scarf?”

I told him, “ she is a kid.”

He said “ She is a kid, you do not look at her she is a woman, and she must wear a scarf.”

He began to pull her down of the car while she was crying and shouting for help, I myself cried and begged him to leave her and made oath to him that she will wear scarf now but all these attempts were useless. He insisted to take her.

Then my brother interfered and went to the other men who were waiting aside and hardly could convince them to leave the girl and that the family is under threat in a way they forgot about the issue of the hair scarf because their main concern was to leave.

A shepherd in Amiriyia district brought his sheep and goats to sell them there, two men came to buy but they surprised him with this question, “ Why your goats bottom is not covered?”

The man did not know what to say but the men began to beat him for his carelessness and warned him to come here with his naked goats here, before he answered them, he received a shot in his leg.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Singer Or Killer

Today our neighbor found a piece of paper at the front door of his house ordering him to leave or he will regret it, he is Sunni from Samara town but he’s been living in our neighborhood for forty now.

All the neighbors in the street gathered at the house of the threatened neighbor to figure out how to help him, one of the neighbor said “ I do not know what is the role of the government in such threats, how can a person threaten others, order them to leave while the government does not do anything to stop that.”

I was at a woman society meeting few days ago, the chairman of the society was talking about the hardship of the Iraqi woman under the US occupation, she talked about an Iraqi woman who was detained by the US forces under the accusation of hosting three Arab “foreign” fighters.

The chairman said I’d like to ask the Americans “ Why it is a crime to host three foreign fighters in her house while it is ok to host more than 180,000 foreign soldier in Iraq?!!!!!!”

Pentagon admitted mistreatment in Abu Ghraib prison but refused to describe it as abuses, may God helps the Iraqis, where shall they go? If they are lucky and escape US forces prisons and abuses, they will fall in the ministry of Interior or Defense prisons who even does not accept to discuss the idea of abuses and torture in its prisons just because they are perfect and run by Moslems who have the fear of God.

Most of the people now prefer to be detained by the US forces but not by the Iraqi forces, “ Iam glad my son is taken by the Americans not by the ministry of Interior, at least I know, one day, he will come to me.” A man told me in an interview with him.

After Haditha, Ishaqi and Hashimiyiat massacres, yesterday a family of eight persons in Falluja entered the record of the US massacres in Iraq, a small female kid covered with a blanket was laying on the ground waiting for her turn to be buried with her other seven relatives, all of them killed in their house by US air strike for reasons even the US commander in the Gulf told Al-Jazera satellite that he did not know about why that family was killed?

Civilians in Yousifiyia town, south of Baghdad do not know what will happen to them after the kidnapping of two US soldiers in their town.

“ Yousifiyia is sealed off, US snipers are at the roofs of the houses, they are checking the town house by house, detaining any man they find, two houses near the site of the incident leveled yesterday.” One of the residents in Yousifiyia told me.

I told you before about release and detain style used here and how people are skeptical about the release of some of the detainees from the US prisons, I saw an Iraqi woman on TV shouting and crying “ Allahu Akber, Allahu Akber, the Americans are releasing the detainees while the ministry of Interior does not free any of its detainees.” Her son is detained by the commandos of the ministry of Interior.

One of the detainees was on TV to express his feeling about being released after long imprisonment said “ Im happy to be released but Iam not happy to go home because I know I will be either killed on my ID or by a car bomb or an IED, Iam thinking of my other relatives and friends who are still in the prison and do not know when they will be released.”

A police source in Ba’quba said that 256 detainee were released from the US prisons since the killing of Zerqawi till now, 450 person had been detained in the town, so it is true when one of the politicians told me “ I hope the government would be honest in its initiative, not to release 500 and than detain 1000.”

I have the chance to sit with an Iraqi singer who also plays on Lute and asked him how could he sing and play on these crazy days, the artist said “ I live in Sader city, I can’t walk in the street carrying my Lute with me, Iam hiding it here and there in fear some gunmen would see me and kill me, I have received many threats ordering me to give up singing because it is Haram or I would be killed but I love art it is in my blood, which is better to be a singer or a killer?”

Saturday, June 17, 2006

It Is A Hell

I have written this page five times and erased it, each time I start with a new story but then I feel that I should begin with another, I was writing and erasing all the time.

I found it really difficult to choose a piece of news and start with because they are so many, I do not know if I start with this piece of news I got at 9,30 am from Ba’quba by telephone.

A mother with her four kids killed at 8 am Friday in Al-Tahrier district in Ba’quba when a mortar fell on her house and wounded the father with other three kids.

The simplest interpretation for this piece of news that in Iraq even the common belief, home means safety to the human being does not exist in Iraq, you could be killed even if you are at home.

At 2 am yesterday I received a phone call from a journalist telling me a breaking news of two US soldiers taken as prisoners south west of Yousifiyia, I was really sleepy but I had to contact Yousifiyia to see what has happened.

The town was quiet because the incident took place at the desert road that links Yousifiyia with Ameriyat Al-Falluja, Musaib, Karbala and borders with Saudi Arabia.

I had told you about that road how people in Yousifiyia avoid it for being very risky, they take it only if the US forces blocked the high way.

The story of the three Janabi killed in the minibus I wrote before happened in this road, people there, say, that all of a sudden a group of guys with black suits will form a check points and begin to select and kill people.

I do not know what will happen after the kidnapping of these two US soldiers, it is a new development in the conflict here but only God knows what will happen.

After all of that I went back to sleep again, the breeze was so nice but soon gun fires broke out, the shooting was over the roof between the national guards who were at the main roads and some guys were shooting against them but could not figure from which side, the gunfire lasted for quarter of an hour, it was really hot engagement but I insisted to stay on the roof and go back again to sleep.

I wanted to write about Iraqi police prisons scandal discovered in Ba’quba, “ Ubaid” tribal leader was on TV reading a statement on behalf of his tribe which is one of the biggest Sunni tribe in Iraq, in which he confirmed that seven women have been raped by the police inside the prison after being kidnapped by the police itself as well as a number of men from the same tribe, the leader was warning if the government won’t take any position toward this shameful act, the tribe will adopt its own producers.

The scandal unveiled when MP Muhammed Al-Daini, representative of Diyla province to the National Assembly visited Ba’quba prison with a human rights committee and found all kinds of atrocities committed there even pictures were shown on TV for the torture of the prisoners.

Few hours after the exposure of this shameful scandal committed by the new Iraqi police, a breaking news appeared on TV saying that ten men were killed in Ba’quba by unknown gunmen, I contacted Ba’quba to verify the news, the ten men were relatives to the MP Muhammed, all of them are Sunni and they were killed because their cousin disclosed this scandal.

I wanted to write about Dr.Yousif Al-Hassan, 35, a professor in the Arabic language who was shot dead yesterday while he was heading to the mosque in Basra province, again his accusation is that he is Sunni, I have met this man so many times, he is great and his death is a big loss to be added to the endless losses of Iraq.

More than 300 Iraqi professors in different kinds of specialization killed in Iraq just because of Bush war against terror, the entire Iraqi people should die for the sake of this filthy war, why Iraq is chosen to be the battlefield for the war against terror? And why the Iraqis have to pay the price of New York attacks though none of the defendants was Iraqi?!!!!!!!!

Basra itself is a big story, the ethnic cleansing there against Sunni is beyond any imagination, Shiite militias supported by Iranian Mukhabart are turning the city to a hell, while the Iraqi police and British troops only watching. Why we have British troops in Basra while all kinds of crimes are committed there, I do not know.

I wanted to write about lawyer Khalid Zuba’ who was shot dead in Shua’la the day before yesterday just because he is from this Sunni tribe, one of the sheikhs of Zuba’tribe was standing near Khalid grave vowing him that his blood won’t go in vain and the tribe will not rest only after taken its reprisal of his killers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It Is Our Body

After the catastrophe of “ Al-Aima” bridge last August, more than 600 person died on the bridge which links Adhamiyia and Kadhimiyia districts, most of them were Shiite, the government declared that it will compensate families of the victims.

At the forensic department, a big quarrel broke out when a family of one of the victim found that the body of their mother who fell in the river from the bridge was nearly to be taken by another guys who claimed that the body belong to them, they were putting her coffin on the car to runaway with it, but the real family arrived and presented documents proved that the woman belongs to them and the other guys were looters.

I read recently that the government would grant families of the bridge $19,000 for each body and a piece of land after granting them three million ID before, but the piece of the news added that according to Forensic department there are 25 body still missing but for the surprise of the department, it received applications of 400 family who claim that they have missing just for the sake of compensations!!!!!!

It would be a better step if the government compensates all kinds of victims’ families in Iraq not only “ Aima” bridge, victims of death squads, unknown bodies found everyday in Baghdad and victims of car bombs and IEDS, because all of them are Iraqis and have families.

Yesterday, clashes erupted in Adhamiyia neighborhood with the first day Baghdad security plan implemented, Fuad Salim, 44, and his two young nephews with their mother, decided to return to their home in Tarmiyia town, west of Baghdad though they left it for the bad security situation there. They were worried that the situation might escalate and the neighborhood would be besieged and their relatives can not reach them.

In the way to Tarmiyia town, by mistake the uncle passed by a Shiite tribe near Taji called “Timiama”, some tribes men showed up and began to checked the three men IDs and found they are from Tarmiyia which means they are Sunnis, they told the mother she can go and they took the three men.

The mother went shouting and looking everywhere for police to help her sons and their uncle, when the police came there, they were confronted by that tripe and armed clashes broke out between the police and the tribe men, after a short engagement the police was able to control the situation and demanded the submission of three Sunni men.

The tribe yielded to the orders and brought the three men but after granted each one of them a bullet in his head.

Forensic Department

Sheikh Ali Muhammed, 44, father of six kids, returned from a tripe to Syria two weeks ago, after waiting for long time at the borders he reached Baghdad at 11,30 pm, the driver told him that he would drop him in Ghazaliyia neighborhood, the last point he can reach to go to his house at night.

Sheikh Ali decided to take a taxi and go to his relative house in Haifa street, after ten minutes, the driver who was driving in front of the sheikh car, saw a police patrol stopping the sheikh, the driver went to check, the police told him he can go but the sheikh will stay with them.

For two weeks now and after looking and checking everywhere, sheikh family can’t find him and like most of the Iraqis do nowadays if they have someone missing, they will go to the forensic department in Baghdad.

A relative to the sheikh contacted me to say that he can not go to the forensic department as well as other men in his tripe because they are worried they will be kidnapped and killed because they are Sunnis.

I contacted the forensic department to check about the sheikh, the department said the relative should come and see the pictures they have for the tens of unknown bodies they receive every day because they are without IDS.

The relative said that he would wait to go next Sunday, Sunni Endowment arranged for an armed patrol to go next Sunday to the forensic department with tens of Sunni families who can’t go there to get their sons bodies because of the Shiite militias waiting there to sntach any relatives come to ask about them.

I was in an internet café two days ago, three men wearing white disdash came to the owner of the café who is Shiite, he asked them if they found “ Wasiem” body at the forensic department? They told him, they were there all the day but they could not find Wasiem’s body but they were shocked of the situation there, the number of the unknown bodies and how discusting smell because most of the bodies found after few days and morgue can not contain all of them.

One of the men said “ I have seen all absurdities in this country but I cant believe that we have reached such a level of hatred and meanness among us.”

The owner asked him “ What did you find?”

The man said “ There was a body without head which is a normal situation now at the forensic department but the big shock is that the villains had sewed a head of dog instead.”

Monday, June 12, 2006

Life After Zerqawi

People in Hibhib village, Ba’quba town are fleeing their homes in fear of retaliation after the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Al-Zerqawi last Thursday.

US forces are searching the village house by house looking for Zerqawi followers, detention is underway in the neighboring villages as well as Latifiyia and Yousifiyia.

Loyalists of Zerqawi might soon resume a campaign of revenge for the killing of their leader, so the people there do not know what to do but only to leave.

Since the killing of Zerqawi till today, a medical source at the forensic department in Ba’quba said “28 person have been killed, 20 of them are Shiite and the other eight are Sunni.”

Among the 28, a Shiite tea man shot dead because he distributed free tea among people in Ba’quba out of his happiness for the killing of Zerqawi, a Sunni barber killed for offering to give people free haircut for the same reason, another Sunni grocer sold his vegetable and fruit freely to his costumers received a bullet in his head, in addition to another Sunni who used to sell yogurt in Ba’quba local market.

Three Shiite brothers, a butcher, grocer and third has a shop for female accessories and perfumes were killed in Hay Al-Mafreq in Baquba again for their happiness of Zerqawi killing.

Before Zerqawi killing, Shiite in some places in Ba’quba were receiving threats to leave the town, now, according to Ahmed Sami Al-Tai, a student at the college of Sport in Ba’quba, these threats are in public and for all Shiite in Diyala, he told me that while he was reading a piece of paper he found at the front door of his house today addressing Shiite as being traitors, stooges to the Americas and helped in the killing of Zerqawi.

Two young men asked a blacksmith in Ba’quba to fix their electrical saw, when the blacksmith opened its parts, he found small pieces of bones inside, the man did not wait long to contact the police and tell them about his suspensions.

The next day when the two men supposed to come and collect their saw, policemen in civil uniform were waiting for them.

After few hours of investigation, the two men confessed that they are part of a gang funded by an ex Shiite governor for Diyala whom his brother killed by gunmen few months ago and a car bomb ripped his funeral the second day to kill more friends and relatives.

Ten heads for Sunni men found in Ba’quba lately, a police source said they believe that this gang is behind their killing in revenge for the Shiite victims.

In Shahraban, another town in Diyala, Commandos of the Ministry of Interior raided the town yesterday at 9 pm, they were in three police cars, all were Shiite and soon indulged in houses checking and provocative language against Sunnis in the town.

Clashes broke out, eight commandos killed and their three cars kidnapped, I heard another policeman conveying this piece of news by telephone to the policeman I was talking with him today.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

On The Roof

To escape heat at night backed by absence of power, I find myself obliged to sleep on the roof in hope the weather would be cooler and have some peaceful sleeping.

It is very foolish to sleep on the roof without bringing a net with you to stand in the face of waves of mosquitoes who storm the place without any mercy and insist to say hello to you and won’t leave without taking a sample of your free Iraqi blood.

Mosquitoes know how to find a passage through the net and keep biting all the time to wake you up every five minutes, in a way I decided to go down again, the bites were unbearable, but as soon as I put my head inside the house the heat pushed me out to the roof again.

I put a second net to stop mosquitoes infiltration and laid in bed, after half an hour, US helicopters turn started, they were so busy coming and going all the night in such a scary altitude and noisy sound, in a way sleeping was impossible.

The round lasted for an hour and a half, black and green helicopters, but all of a sudden the roof enlightened, thanks God the power came, so let me go inside, heading down I raised my head to look at the helicopters, I saw that they themselves were throwing flares cause light, it was not that damned power, so it is better to go back to bed and listen to the music of the US helicopters.

Since the killing of Zerqawi till now, the US forces are indulged in such a feverish campaign of raids against different areas in Iraq, killing, detaining and burning.

And it is really true as one of the men commented on the declaration of the Iraqi premier of releasing 2000 detainee that soon 4000 will be detain.

Al-Ghalibiyia, a village 15 minutes far of Hibhib village where Zerqawi killed, found itself a victim for a US show at 4 am at night, the US forces did not leave the village only after killing Abdul Hadi Hamza, 70, his son Hassan, 45, and his grand son Muhammed 17 after throwing grenades on their house.

Another house in the same village was stormed too and the father and the son killed for reasons they family till now do not know, but they know they lost them.

Dr. Ahmed Rifa’t Al-Mashhadani works at Ba’quba hospital and lives in the village with his family, his house is burned completely after being shot by the US tanks, Dr. Ahmed said “ Iam a doctor, I do not have a bullet in my house, the US forces did not even bother themselves to ask me, they attacked the house and cuffed our hands and laid us in bed, I, my wife and my two kids.”

Ahmed hardly could convince the US soldiers to let him speak as he speaks in English and freed himself.

The US forces were looking for Zerqawi followers, which means more troubles are waiting the Iraqis.

Salim Muhammed, one of the dweller in the village told me “ after an hour, another US force came to apologize for the rude behavior of its previous colleague, they feel sorry for the killing of these persons, offering compensations and repairing of the damage.”

40 person detained from two villages surrounded Hibhib, “ Shakhat Al-Imam and Shakhat Alsayed” under the same campaign of chasing Zerqawi followers.

In Latifiyia, which is a town part of Hilla province, US forces launched an airborne on a village there called “ Al-Thaltha”, from 12 to 4 am, soldiers deployed even on the roofs of the houses there according to Mua’taz Abdul Baqi who lives there, “ The soldiers were dropped from the helicopters by robes and were checking house by house looking for men to detain but they found only women and kids.”

When the US soldiers did not find any man, they went to a house of a person they were looking for and ordered the women and kids to get out to burn it completely and leave them under the sky.

I was thinking all the time of these reports while I was on the roof till the Husseini“ Shitte” mosque called for dawn prayers which means the end of the night, by the way, six Sunni mosques were burned and damaged, their Imams killed by Shiite militias after Samara events in Feb 22, only Shiite Husseinis standing now in the neighborhood in a show of new Iraq plurality system.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Animals Programs

Before 2003, animals programs were most favorible for Iraqis, they were so amazed of the western cameramen' skill in chasing and shooting different kinds of animals, something Iraqi cameramen never do. The question that was looming all the time was, why can’t we produce such kinds of interesting programs like westerners especially clips of lions or tigers jumping on their prey always deer or zebra and cut it in ten pieces.

I have never thought I would see such kinds of program in reality here in Iraq only when the US war against Iraq started, I felt the team of the animals programs moved to Iraq to produce all kinds of animals fight and hostile activities though we do not have same American or African environment but the team knew that soon Iraq would be the best environment for such kinds of programs and the most vulnerable prey for the lions , tigers and even dogs.

While the Iraqi elected government busy fighting on the security posts to provide Iraqis with peace and safety they luck for three years now, the Iraqi government forgot to buy a good generator for Diyala hospital and helped in killing 15 pre mature babies in their incubators due to the continuous cut in power.

The miserable situation reached by the ministry of Health in Iraq is beyond any imagination in a way people who have bodies at the forensic department they can’t go to collect them as they will be either kidnapped or killed being relatives to one of these tens scattered bodies found in Baghdad every day.

This is not only in Baghdad but in Basra too, ten persons ended in the hospital after being shot before the forensic department and their crime was they went to get bodies for their relatives!!!!!!!!!

Near Canal street in Baghdad, 15 person out of 50 kidnapped by the commandos of the ministry of Interior at 10 am in Salihiyia neighborhood in Baghdad nears the ministry of Justice were found roaming in the street after being tortured and beaten severely for reasons till now they do not know about while the ministry of Interior is fighting with the ministry of Defense who accusing the first of being ruled by Bader and Sader militias and directed by the Iranian intelligence.

US forces opened fire on a family of ten members in “ Al-Sada” district in Ba’quba to kill the father, mother, son whose 18 and two year baby and wound other six after leveling their house at 5 am in the morning.

The family were sleeping on the roof and the reason is very oblivious, no power, at 4 am the US patrols began in the neighborhood, the father raised his head to see what is going on, the US sniper did not give him the chance to do that and shot him in his front head.

When the son came to see what is going on he himself shot too, the family did not need to wait so long to understand what was going on as their house was devastated by the US forces on their heads.

A professor at Basra university received a threat to leave the town within three hours or he would be killed because he is Sunni, he told me “ On these days I vent all my wrath on ants we call them Persian “ Iranian” in Iraq, I smash them with my shoes because I know all the troubles we have in Basra is because of the Iranians and their followers and simply because I can’t kill a human being.”

Zerqawi Is Killed

It seems that the Iraqis learned from the previous events passed by Iraq after 2003 war, not to react directly after hearing any big news even if it is the killing of Zerqawi.

People are more aware now than before that the killing of one person does not mean the end of their countless problems, does not mean, they can go to their work safely, their kids can go to school without the fear of kidnapping, their young sons won’t be detained and tortured just because they are Sunni, their sons and daughters won’t be shot dead just because they are Sunni or Shiite.

The endless list of problems won’t be nullified with the departure of Zerqawi, he was one partner in a big game, and in fact the US administration did not give the Iraqis the chance to breathe, after few hours, it declared that Abu Al-Masri will succeed Zerqawi and warned of more drastic attacks.

I asked an Iraqi journalist who lives in Ramadi province about the echo of this news among people there, he said “ I won’t comment but will tell you about the situation here.”

How? I asked him

“ People in Al-Qaim which is a border town, most of them are shepherds and have tens of sheep and goats, lately, they received an order that they should make their goats wear pants or they would be punished because of the indecent shape for the bottom of the goat. People there were in dilemma about what to do with their goats because the idea of making them wearing pants is unpractical and to get rid of them is unpractical too as they get milk out of them.”

So what did they do?

“ The shepherds there were left with two options either they slaughter their goats and have them at their meals or not to buy or possess any more in fear of punishment.” He added.

Female students in Al-Anbar university were ordered to cover their faces completely and if they have a driver for their transportation, he should wear dishdash “ an Arab uniform” not shirt and trouser, otherwise they will be punished according to Sharia’t law.

Even common Shiite in Iraq whom Zerqawi launched feverish attacks against them received the news of his killing tepidly stemming from the same belief things won’t change and if Zerqawi gone, tens like him will come.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Release And Detain

You might feel lucky if you could escape the hammer of the masters of killing but still you should be cautious in your feeling because US forces’ hammer might be waiting for you.

With the shrinking movement of the journalists in Baghdad due to the frantic security situation, media coverage find itself focusing on Baghdad more than any other towns in Iraq but still with the help of mobiles and cameras news of other remote areas could be heard and get their share of reporters interest.

I can say within the last three years of the US invasion to Iraq and the arrival of the Arab and foreign journalists here, now Iraqis began to recognize the importance of media, in a way they themselves started to shoot events take place in their towns and contact to report about it.

Latifiyia is a town part of Hilla province, south of Baghdad, yesterday was a theater for a US show, early in the morning people woke up on sounds of aircrafts and US patrol.

They know that means that there will be a raid but they did not know that US plans would shoot randomly their houses and burned their farms, “ Isra Abdulla Attiyia” a female killed due to the air strike, “ Hiyam Muhammed Attiyia” another female who was wounded and detained and then to be released, in addition to the wound of two babies who were only two months old, an eye witness brought even a video tape for this crime.

The story reoccurred in Yousifiyia town which is close to Latifiyia, but this time by US soldiers not by planes.

Again the town was incurred by tens of the US soldiers who came to check the houses in
“ Sayed Abdullah” village and detain tens of its men, always such kinds of raids rarely passes peacefully without bloodletting.

The US soldiers stormed the houses there by kicking the doors with their shoes and shooting in random to spread panic among women and kids.

In one of the houses, a 27 year woman ran to open the door for the US soldier but she immediately received a bullet in her head and her brother in law who is 44 received another but in his chest.

Most of the men in “ Sayed Abdulla” village were detained in the wake of the Iraqi premier Al-Malki ‘s decision yesterday of releasing 2500 detainee in US and Iraqi prisons.

“It is really amazing this empty circle we are moving in, the government declares that it would release 500 detainee, the second day 1000 person will be detained, so what is the meaning of that?” a man commented on the news of freeing 2500 detainee.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Iraqi National Products

I told you before that we have reached a new stage in our sectarian war, the stage of decapitation, there is no doubt that soon we will jump to another advanced stage in which heads and body’s organs displayed in Baghdad’s shops as Iraqi national products.

I was talking with my friend yesterday, she told me “ Before I was so scared that I or my kids would be killed by a car bomb or an IED but now, I think these two styles of killing are more merciful than decapitating.”

Ten heads and decapitated body found yesterday in Dura district, southern Baghdad near “ Bilat Al-Shuha’da” primary school, I contacted a security official there to inquire, he said “ I can assure you, Dura is an independent state, there is no government there.” I asked him, “ How?”

” We were informed that ten heads with a decapitated body were found near that school but the medical teams were hesitant to come close in fear that they were trapped and might blew up on them, we asked the help of the US forces to check the situation.”

It was a great shock for the medical teams, he said when they came close to the decapitated body to check the belly which was full of stitches, when they found a head of a nine year kid inside, later on we found it is for the son of the Shiite victim.

A defense lawyer works at one of the criminal courts in Baghdad told me that within only a week they received 95 case of killing all of them were recorded under unknown murder.

Again in Dura, a bus with ten students whom their bad fate took them to a neighborhood there called “ Al-Mahdiyia”, a man suddenly jumped to the bus and after few minutes he descended to leave in a car waiting for him.

People who were around were surprised that the bus did not move and came to see what is the matter? All the students and the driver were shot dead but with a silencer gun that none of the people out could hear anything.

The security official said “ Now they are using silencers which mean, a person can come close to you kill you and runaway and no one recognize anything.”

“Tell me where to direct my attention, here or there, every five minutes I get a phone call for a new crime, and the biggest problem we have now is that our forces are powerless in front of these criminals who fight to die while our forces are fighting to live.” The man added.

In a coffee shop well known in Ba’ya district in Baghdad called “ Janabi”, four guys jumped out of a car and went inside the coffee shop to spray the people inside with fire, they killed one and wounded other three severely, all the victims were Sunni.

The security man was so upset that his forces were watching there but they did nothing to stop that crime as they were scared that they will have their share of killing too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Hijab Is Not Enough

Female students in Al-Mustansiriyia university in Baghdad are in state of panic and fear after they heard the new order by Mahdi army which obliges them to wear Abayia ( black sheet covers the entire body) even if they wear hijab.

The order would be acceptable if it ends with that order but it is associated with a sever punishment for any female does not comply to, her face will be burned with acid and she is no more allowed to enter the university.

One of the professor in Economy at the university told me that yesterday voicing his resentment and faded patience to the terrible situation the universities in Iraq are sliding to due to the luck of decisive government.

In Kerbala, a Shiite province south west of Baghdad, an owner of female cloths displays his products on few dolls he puts at the front of his shop, like any shop of cloths all over the world.

But the situation in Iraq is different, the poor owner visited by Mahdi army representatives who ordered him to put hijab on the dolls in front of his shop, the man was so surprised because they are dolls not human beings.

“ even though, you should make them wear hijab, or you will regret it.” The representatives told him.

The next day, the owner got a second visit by the same guys, but at this time, they did not speak with him, they took all the dolls he has out of his shop and put fire in them and shut down his shop.

This is what a human rights activist in Kerbala told me, adding that walking on the streets there with a camera mobile is so risky there on these days because you might be stopped all of a sudden by some armed guys who will grab your mobile and begin to check if you have any picture for a female inside.

If by chance you have one, you will be referred to the Shri’at court and only God knows what will happen you.

I asked my friend who is a legal inspector if there are still leaflets warning women who do not wear hijab or drive cars and men wear short pants, he said “ No, we can not find any of them now and we did not record any fresh victim.”

Iasked him “ Why?”

He said “ because everybody committed to the order.”

Dear Friends

You will be very mistaken if you think that the writer of Iraqi Screen is inspired by a model or regime or reflects the point of view of any party or group.

It is absolutely an independent Blog telling you the events as they are happening and had happened before. Iam conveying the reality to you as it is without imposing my opinion on them to give the chance for those who do not live here to have an idea about what is going on in Iraq if they are interested.

I feel sorry for the US soldier who is killed in Iraq the same way I feel for the Iraqis simply because we are all human beings and the US soldier has a family too and if we feel sad about our dead they do too in the same way.

I highly encourage any opportunity that helps in abridging the gap between the Arab and western world because we need each other and we complete each other.

I can assure you there are so many good US soldiers in the US army who do not accept any bad practices conducted by some of the US soldiers and they even quitted their work.

I want to say that only stupid and narrow minded people take the decision of war whether they are Arabs or Americans and Iam very certain the most complicated issues can be solved by diplomatic ways not by wars.

To be honest with you, my best friend is American and I have very nice friendship with so many Americans built on mutual respect.

So for any reader who felt that he is offended by my latest writings should reconsider his position because I did not mean that but this is the reality in Iraq that you can ask other Iraqis about it and see if they will tell you something different, but my writing is shocking to you because I had and have seen things only few people have the chance to be close to.

The simple reality you miss in my writing is that I love my country, IRAQ, which can’t be summarized in a president or a party. It is bigger than all these things and deserves to have some peace after three terrible wars.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Saddam I Lost My Three Sons

In April 7, 2003, I went with two foreign journalists to Al-Kindi hospital in Baghdad to cover one of the faces of the US led war against Iraq for reasons till now the US administration could not prove their reliability.

The weather was cloudy and gloomy, the whole atmosphere in the hospital was grim, covered with fear and sorrow, bombs and mortars were falling here and there convulsing the hospital momentarily.

We went inside the emergency room, it was like a butcher shop overwhelmed with the smell of blood, bleeding bodies were everywhere, on beds, stretches and the ground.

Relatives of the causalities were busy between the wounded and the dead, crying, moaning and beating themselves.

We found ourselves out as there was no space for us among that bloody hell, we stood at the main gate of the hospital though it was risky as shooting was over our heads but I lost any sense of fear at that moment as I was watching crazy things were going on inside the hospital.

Ambulances and private cars were loaded with different kinds of people, men, women, young and old, the bodies were oozing blood and laid on each other as there was neither time nor space to think about their right positions.

A young lady was sitting beside the wall of the emergency room crying her young brother “ Hayder” whom her mother sent to bring her from her house with her kids to come and stay with them as the war was getting tougher and they need to be together but he was shot dead while he was heading to her house by the US army who was creeping on the capital and spraying fires on people.

“ Hayder, my dear brother, I wish it was me who killed not you.” She was moaning with that sentence all the time.

Then, an ambulance came very fast, the driver jumped quickly out of it shouting for help. He opened the door for a woman who was beating herself inside and calling upon her three kids who were inside.

I went close to the ambulance to see what is inside, I saw three boys in white dishdash sleeping in the ambulance like doves but all of them were bleeding from their mouths and their cloths were full of blood, they were 8, 6, 4 year, all were brothers.

The mother jumped out of the car shouting “ Saddam, I lost my three sons.” While she was tearing her hair.

We could hardly speak with her but she said “ They were playing at the front door of the house when the US tanks were sweeping in Dura neighborhood in Baghdad and shot the three of them.”

I recalled this crime which I can not forget among tens of crimes I had seen during my coverage to the war of 2003 till now committed by the US army, I recalled it as the US congress is investigating Haditha massacre, a good step to shed light on the atrocities perpetuated by the US soldiers in Iraq.

But it would be better, if the congress begins an investigation for the US army crimes committed against the Iraqis since 1991 till now.

And, if the congress really wants to be fair with the Iraqi people, it should open an investigation for the sectarian war ignited by US in Iraq due to its deadly committed mistakes in Iraq because sectarian war crimes are exceeding all kinds of massacres now, they reached yesterday the level of decapitating not only killing with drills.

Heads for eight persons were in their way to donate blood for their Sunni cousin wounded in a car bomb few days ago found in trash with pieces of papers their names written on. Can the US congress help in stopping these massacres which will maintain all the Iraqis while the entire world is watching silently?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Liberation Or Occupation

The first morning after the fall of Baghdad, US soldiers began to strangle Baghdad hotels, buildings and streets with barbed wires, these wires I have never seen before but the moment my eyes fell on them I knew that Iraq is gong to be a second Palestine and Baghdad another Al-Quds.

I have seen Palestinians standing behind barbed wires on TV, but Palestine is occupied by the Israelis and we are liberated by the US invasion as the US administration claims, soon the answer came but it was behind a long concrete wall whispering, you have to guess whether it is a liberation or an occupation.

I went down to the streets and saw people busy looting whatever their hands can reach, I stopped near a crowd who was trying to break an iron gate for a bank in Sa’doun street in Baghdad, but it was so solid, in a way all their efforts were unsuccessful, few US soldiers were watching and soon one of the US soldier who was driving a lorry, offered to help.

He turned his lorry and began to beat the iron gate of the bank with the back of his lorry till he broke it, people greeted him with shouts and applauses, and went running inside the bank, men and women.

After few minutes screams and gun fires heard and people came running out, what is the matter? The first person who reached the safe raised his gun and promised to kill any person come close because it is his safe, he was the first to touch it and the only to get it.

A medical team works with the US army arrived to Palestine hotel, the doctor who was an officer in the US army asked me to work with them as a translator with huge salary, I looked at him and said “ Thanks a lot for your confidence in me but Iam sorry, I can’t work with you.”

Why? He inquired, I told him,” you want the truth, whenever I look at you I remember all the Iraqis the US army killed along its way to Baghdad and feel so sorry for them.”

I had the chance to go to the palace in Karada with three foreign journalist, it was empty and scary, few US soldiers were there, one of them brought the so called “ Humvee” to take us inside.

Then when we reached the gate, a US officer introduced himself to us that he would be our guide to the palace, I really felt so sad, “this US officer will show me the palace, I am the Iraqi, it is my palace not his.” But I had to complete the tour.

We went inside where we saw a huge hall full of beautiful chairs and tables, Saddam used to receive his visitors in. The US officer turned to me and said “ You see how was he( Saddam) living and how you were suffering? I did not answer him.

We went to the bed rooms, the furniture were white and ornamented with red flowers , even some dresses were still inside the cupboard, very beautiful bed rooms, the US officer turned to me and said “ see how beautiful they are, see where he used to sleep while you were suffering because of the embargo? I did not answer him.

There was a reception with red sofas and golden wood, very luxurious, the three journalists sat on them and asked me to do the same I refused, I preferred to stand, the reception overlooked a big garden full of different types of trees, the US officer again turned to me and said “ you see were he sits while you do not have money to eat?” I did not answer him.

He opened the door to a big balcony to show us the garden, he turned to me and said” you see what he eats and how he lives while you can not find an infant formula for your babies?” I did not answer.

The US officer began to feel upset and fed up of my mute reaction and said to me in anger “ For God sake can you speak a word, can you tell me anything, can you say to me that Iam(he) an idiot, Iam son of bitch.” I did not answer him.

At that moment, he felt shy of himself and looked at me” Iam sorry, I know I have offended you but I do not mean it.” I did not answer him.

One of the US journalist who was with me, she told the US officer“ This is an occupation, this is not a liberation.”

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bloody Flowers

Today, we have the first flower in our small garden, God, I have not seen flowers for long time, I really miss them even the flowers shop where I used to buy natural flowers to exchange with my friends or go to have a look is closed.

I went many times to buy few flowers but it was always closed, at the last visit, I saw the owner of the shop who told me that he has received threats for selling flowers and being located in the center of the city, windows of the shop need to be replaced occasionally after every explosion and luck of power kills the flowers before he can sell them.

The man told me that Iraqis no more exchange flowers but they exchange letters with bullet inside as a sign of love of killing.

“ People who used to buy flowers left Iraq as they can’t live with such crazy bloody situation.” the owner told me.

Hana Abdul Qader, headmaster of Secondary school for girls in Baghdad woke up in the morning to go to her school, she found a letter in her car with bullet inside, threatening her because some of the students did not pass the exams in the school and that soon she will be killed because she is sectarian, though some of the failed students share the same sect of the headmaster.

In a beautiful house in Karada, businessman Ali Al-Ruba’ai lives with his family, one of the most amazing parts of the house is its garden which Ali is so keen to put the best quality of trees and flowers in, simply, it is a small paradise.

Just before yesterday, Ali woke up in the morning at a sound of big explosion that have damaged the windows, air conditioners and his car due to an IED planted beside the wall of his garden targeting a group of policemen used to stand there.

Two policemen killed because of the explosion and Ali’s garden turned upside down and out of fear Ali advised to cut all the trees in his dear garden because there might be more IEDS in the future.

The latest threats Sunni and Shiite are exchanging now in Iraq is that Shiite in the south is threatening of cutting oil supplements and Sunni in the west is threatening of cutting the Euphrates while masters of killing are cutting lives of the Iraqis.

Iam happy that birds and sparrows are still honest in their commitment towards our garden and roof, despite all the fear, anxiety and talks of death and killing, they still come in the morning to chant few songs for us though sometimes in haste but still their singing repair our broken ears who have been listening only to the sound of explosions and gun fires since the coming of the Americans in 2003.

Last December an explosion took place in Baghdad Al-Jadida in birds market, I went there for coverage, tens of white, gray and brown birds were killed inside their broken cages and their feathers were full of blood, it was real birds massacre.

Even Iraqi original songs can hardly be found on these days and in fact there is no time to listen to them though I feel Iam yearning to them and their peaceful time but among all this upheaval where and when you can have this chance.

Morning starts with either an IED or an explosion or both and work day finishes with press conferences, Saddam trial, bodies found in trash, missing people still their fate unknown though always they found killed, mortars, assassinations, clashes between resistance and the Americans or the police.

So when can I have the chance to listen to an Iraqi original song like “ Fouk Al-nakhal Fouk” literary means “ up the palm trees” or “ Yum Al-Youn Alsoud, Majusan ana” which means “ You, with black eyes, I will not give up.”

Most of the green belt that supposed to surround Baghdad to protect it of sandstorms and desert creeping was uprooted to be fuel for cooking Maskouf “ Iraqi special style cooking of fish” or chickens or to make bread, in addition to the trees uprooted by the US forces for security reasons.

I was so happy when Karada municipality decided to plant the long way that sprawling from the Germany embassy to “ Al-Hurriya” square with trees as it is bare of any green color.

After few months I passed by the same way could not find any tree only dust and when I asked about them the driver told me that police took them off because most of the IEDS are planted under them at night and they blew up in the morning.
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